Banana Streusel Muffins

I took 238 pictures from Friday night until last night.  I may have a bit of a problem. 😀  It was a good long weekend.  I didn’t really have any plans except with my Mom yesterday.  It was a nice balance of productivity, cooking and lazy.  I will admit that we ordered pizza on Saturday night and I may have eaten half of a small pizza and three glasses of wine.   I tracked it, but I had wine Friday, Saturday and Sunday and yesterday decided to ditch the wine.  It’s just empty calories and I have a goal to lose 6.6 pounds this month.  

One of the things I made this weekend were these 4 smart point banana streusel muffins.  I am a sucker for the bananas on the discount rack, and bought 17 bananas for $1.79.  

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I used the Premier Protein bananas and cream shake in place of milk in this recipe.  I absolutely love how the crust came out on these – slightly crunchy but tender on the inside. 

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Banana Streusel Muffins

These won't break the smart points bank - only 4 smart points each.  Pair with some fruit and a hard boiled egg - breakfast is served!

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12
Author Biz

Ingredients

  • 2 1/8 cup flour divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened divided
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • .5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1/2 cup Premier Protein bananas and cream shake
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5.3 ounce greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1/2 cup Splenda (zero calorie) sweetenedr
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar

Instructions

  1. MIx 1/8 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/8 cup sugar together and set aside - that is the streusel topping.

    In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, Splenda and salt.  Add the butter, bananas, Premier Protein, eggs and greek yogurt.  Using a fork, mix just until combined.  It will be quite thick.

    Divide the batter between 12 muffins.  Divide the streusel topping over the top, pressing down a bit to get it to stick, and sprinkle the tablespoon of cinnamon sugar divided over the top of each muffin.  Bake at 425 for the first 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 375 and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

I spent yesterday morning sipping coffee, hanging outside with the dogs.  The weather was perfect.  I took a shower and got ready to meet my Mom for lunch at Big Bowl and a movie.  I went as Sporty Spice – I wore sweat pants and a comfy t-shirt.  #klassy

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Only one tiny problem with that – because it was Labor Day, Big Bowl didn’t open until noon and our movie was at 12:45.  So on to Plan B – Uncle Julio’s.  I am not sure how long this chain has been in Illinois, but this was our first time there.  Such a cute bar area!

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We sat outside and tried to contain ourselves over the super thin tortilla chips and salsa.  

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We both were in awe at how thin these chips were.  The salsa wasn’t too spicy, and I was going to ask if they had a spicier one, but then that would mean I would eat more chips, so I decided not to.

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We both got the shrimp tacos.  So good.  Mine came with a habanero mango sauce which was so good.  I didn’t care for the rice too much – lots of onions but for some reason it had no flavor to me.  The beans were amazing though.  We both said next time though we would order the tableside guacamole 😀

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It’s been a while since I saw a movie, and was a bit shocked at the $11.87 cost for a matinee!  But then I was reminded that the seats are super comfy, so that in itself is worth the ticket price.  This theater also has beer and wine that you can bring into the theater too.  I think they are trying to compete with iPic.

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My Momma told me I was a great date, which without her actually coming out and saying it, she basically said “Biz, you are my favorite child.”   And spending time with my Mom?  #priceless

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I meal planned using my freezer and defrosted a sirloin tip roast.  My Mom bought me a new remote thermometer for Christmas and I love it.  It has two parts – one that clips on the grill below and a second transmitter that can be 100 feet away from the grill and I can still monitor the temperature.  That way I can do stuff in the kitchen and keep an eye on the temperature.

You have to take into consideration the residual cooking that the beef does after you take it off the grill.  Also, don’t wrap a roast in foil after it comes off the grill to rest, because you are basically continuing to steam the meat wrapped up.  I just put it on a plate and stick it in my microwave to rest.

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I had a 3 pound roast and it took about 50 minutes to cook on indirect heat.  My goal internal temp after resting is 125 and it was absolutely perfect.  The best part is that I have lots of leftovers.  Today I have leftover beef fried rice for lunch.  I had 4 ounces of lean beef (4) 3/4 cup homemade mashed potatoes (4) and I made a bone broth mushroom jus for 2 points with grilled zucchini.  Sunday dinner at its finest.  Even if I ate it alone because Hannah and Jacob were watching a movie and ate in their room.

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I am hoping my sister is able to walk today, I think we only walked once together last week.  

There’s still time to enter my blog anniversary giveaway – you can check it out here.

Show of hands how many will forget today is Tuesday and not Monday?!  Make it a great day!

 

Vegan Pita Bread and $1200 later

About a month or more ago, you may remember that a branch from my tree hit my neighbors roof and put a dent in their gutter.  Because there was no damage to my property, my insurance wouldn’t cover it.  They claimed that the damage was $5,000, they had to file a claim with their insurance company and will have to have their fireplace rebuilt – which is on the opposite side of the house, by the way.  Fast forward two weeks after that, and they had AN ENTIRE TREE fall onto my driveway.  Because the bulk of the tree was on my neighbors property, I only chipped in $200 to have it removed.  You know, being neighborly and all.

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It’s been stormy, but it’s the fricken summer for crying out loud.  The day before yesterday Jacob texts me – you got a certified letter from the neighbors.  Awesome.  See those two deadish trees?  I say deadish because it does have fresh greenery coming from the bottom of the tree, but nevertheless, they have been lacking leaves for the better part of 10 years.  

Apparently my neighbor is “deathly afraid” any time there is a storm because she fears for her life thinking that one of those trees is going to snap into her house, killing her, her husband, daughter (who doesn’t life there) and cat.  I wish I was exaggerating.

She basically called me “negligent” because “I have knowledge and have admitted” that the trees are in fact dead. Which they are.  But they are also strong, and I had no fear of storms (as I haven’t had any fear for the last 10 years).  She basically demanded that I have them removed “QUICKLY.”  She works from home and those trees being present within her eyesight is causing her anxiety, so much so that it’s affecting her livelihood.  Again, wish I was exaggerating.

So I had my tree guys out – and asked that they just cut them down far enough so that she won’t have a heart attack (and less money since they are not grinding out the stump).  

Hannah and I were both working, so Jacob was in charge.  He texts me and says that my neighbor is DIRECTING the tree guys on what trees to cut, how far down, what shrubs to trim ALL WHILE LEAVING HER WITH PRIVACY.  How do you demand I cut down two fucking trees AND leave you with the privacy they provided?!  Luckily, Cory and Brian (my tree guys!) ignored her as best they could – because, um, pretty sure she didn’t hire them so how the hell she though she could direct them is beyond my comprehension.

In between phone calls I was able to eat this delicious breakfast though!  Um, this breakfast is pretty much perfection.  Egg white, spinach mushroom omelet, leftover steak and the most delicious mango and blueberries.  6 smart points of deliciousness. 

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Did you guys know it’s national ice cream week?  The lobby of my building hosted an ice cream social – basically 10 different kinds of ice cream, with 20 toppings – all free.  I walked on by to meet my sister to get our walk in.  Only to get a couple blocks back to my office and Haagendazs ice cream was being handed out on the street corner – for free.  

I walked away from both, and fixed my 8 point lunch.  Rotisserie chicken pita with Bolthouse Farms salsa verde avocado dressing – you guys need to find this dressing, it’s so good and only 1 smart point per tablespoon.  

On the side I had veggies staws, and fruit for dessert.

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Can we talk about this pita bread?  I normally make mine with yogurt, but when Hannah and Jacob were vegan for a few days (it didn’t last long!) I made a batch of vegan pita bread, and they are delicious!  Light, fluffy and tender on the inside – the dough felt amazing.  Best part?!  Each one is only 2 smart points!

Serves 1 pita

Vegan Pita Bread

So many possibilities with this pita bread - sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, pita pizzas!

15 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup hot (not boiling) tap water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly.

Instructions

  1. Add water and yeast together in a stand mixer and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and knead for 8 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp cloth (I proof my bread in my microwave all year round) and proof the bread for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  2. I made 16 pitas out of this recipe (each dough ball is 1.3 ounces), alternatively, you could make fluffier and thicker ones and make 8 pitas, but then each is 5 smart points.
  3. Roll out the dough, and using a cast iron or non-stick skillet, cook each pita for about 2-3 minutes per side. These freeze great too!

Notes

The prep time includes the kneading of the dough in the stand mixer.

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http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/2017/07/26/vegan-pita-bread-1200-later/

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So I came home last night after work, and this is how the trees look.  By the way, a 200 pound man was able to scale the tree, without it swaying at all.  Apparently my neighbor wasn’t happy with the height of the tree stumps because she feels that it will hurt the resale value of her house.  Which kind of wants me to leave them like that forever.  Becuase I don’t care.  I live in the sticks, with only 6 houses on my block and maybe a car an hour goes down my street.

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Pretty sure that doesn’t look like a diseased tree to me.  Like at all.  Good news is that I’ll have plenty of firewood for my woodburning stove this winter!  It only cost me $1200 to get it! 😛

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If anyone wants to come over for a giant bonfire, you are more than welcome!  I’ll light up the grill 😀

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So I had every excuse to skip my workout, but I powered through and did 40 minutes of Day 2 of Insanity – this was 15 minutes after I was done, so not as sweaty as when I finished, but I was sweaty, even in our air conditioned house. 

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After my workout, I made a delicious taco salad.  This salad is 7 points, and because I still had some to spend, I used a serving of tortillas for dipping – with copious amounts of hot sauce. 

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So after my flooded basement this past weekend, and this unplanned expense, I am a bit pissed off. But then I have to remind myself, there are worse world problems.  I still have a roof over my house, central air, food in my pantry and fridge, so it’s all good in the hood.

But I am going to do what Tony did whenever he got mad at people.   My neighbors are now dead to me.  I can’t even imagine how Tony would have reacted to the situation.  I never responded to the letter, just chopped the trees down, and plan to never acknowledge their existence.   I’ll be hanging out with my fun neighbors on the other side of me Open-mouthed smile

Weekly WI and Butternut Squash Fries

I don’t know what made me think to walk to the train station from my house.  To tell you the truth, I didn’t really know exactly how far it was from my house to the train station.  I am kind of glad that I didn’t look it up because it was 2.6 miles one way, and I may have had second thoughts had I known that!  It was cool (okay 70) and a overcast.  Not knowing how long it was going to take me I made sure to leave in time so that if I missed the earlier train, I’d still make the next train (which is my normal 7:13 train) and not have to wait another 35 minutes for the next one if I missed that one.

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I love this backpack Hannah got me for my birthday.   The straps are so comfy – I was able to fit my laptop, and all my clothes to change into work in there.

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Not too bad!  It took me 41 minutes to walk there and I had 7 minutes to spare before the train came. 

While I knew I had my 61 point day last Friday, I tracked everything all week and closed my week only 9 points in the negative – without using any activity points.  So I was a bit shocked at the 2.6 gain on the scale.  However, I drank a ton of water on my walk to the train and while on the train.  Either way, not going to let that number derail me – because I feel . . . smaller, if you know what I mean.  I did have wine last weekend, and even though it accounted in my daily points, I am ditching alcohol this week.  We’ll see if that makes a difference on the scale next week.  It’s all good!

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I made a breakfast burrito – lavash wrap, eggs and egg white scramble, 1 piece of bacon, diced jalapeno and tomato with cherries on the side.

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I had a great meeting at Weight Watchers.  Cheryl our leader is so funny and engaging.  I had a talk with her after the meeting about the Focus Group and how I didn’t like it, and she said that she’s yet to attend, but was also thinking it wasn’t for her because she wasn’t into meditating, and it was my thoughts exactly.  I am sure it’s helpful for others so I am not discounting it, but life is too short not to do what you want to do.

I hit up the farmers market at Daley Center on my way back to the office.  I picked up Rock n Roll Thai red curry chicken and decided to take a picture from my bosses office since he was out of the office.  Not a bad view at all!

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While I was walking to the train station I was stopped at a light and just happened to look up and saw this giant cloud above the building – I am so lucky to be able to work in the great city of Chicago!

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Hannah had told me that she would pick me up from the train last night, but it was so nice out, I texted her and told her I’d walk home.

From one extreme to another!  Tall buildings in Chicago to farmland at home.

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Do you guys remember the book Country Mouse and City Mouse?  It used to be one of Hannah’s favorites.  I love being a country mouse at home and a city mouse during the day. 😀

So not surprising, after all that walking I was hangry when I got home at 7:15.  Thankfully thanks to Jennie-O, I have frozen turkey burgers at the ready – they cook in about 10 minutes.  Just enough time to heat up my deep fryer for these butternut squash fries.

For some reason I thought butternut squash would be high in points like sweet potatoes, so I was thrilled when I put them in my WW app and saw they were zero points.  Yes, I deep fried these, but I will always advocate that a good deep fryer holds the temperature so that hardly any oil gets absorbed into the food.  However, I did add 1 smart point for the oil.  And, let’s just say sprinkling with everything but the bagel seasoning when they came out of the fryer?  Best idea evah!

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AMAZING!   I will probably have butternut squash once a week from now on.  So good.  That cheese?  That’s the lite mozzarella from Trader Joe’s that is only 1 smart point for a whole ounce – it is so melty good.  The bun is Healthy Life brand is only 2 points.

Check out my steps!   I had planned on walking to the train this morning because it was only going to be in the upper 60s, but it was raining.  And truth be told, I am a bit sore from all that walking – my neighborhood is pretty hilly and you don’t notice it as much when you are driving.  So I am making today a rest day, or “light” walk day, because I know I’ll be exercising over the weekend.

If you haven’t already (and if you did – thank you!) can you send me some comment love over at The Chopping Block?!  You’ll finally get the recipe for my Everything Bagel Quiche I’ve been taunting you with on Instagram.  

I discovered this week that I have one of the top 10 blog posts of all time – coming in at number 4 with my Copycat Starbuck’s Muesli bread – and the only blogger to be in the top 10 for 2017 posts.  So thank you for your support over there, it means a lot to me!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  I have a low key weekend planned, which is alright by me.  I am still decluttering my closet and getting rid of the size 14 and 16 clothes that I’ve been holding on to.  I may need Hannah’s closet organizational skills to help me 😀

Make it a great day!!

Strawberry Shortcake Buttermilk Waffles

Friday night I had Tony’s nephews and their families over for a BBQ.  It’s been way too long since we’ve been together, and I realize I have to make these get togethers happen, otherwise, the next thing you know we’ll look up and it’s Christmas!

These two little cutes were so fun.  Hazel (love her name!) was just an infant the last time I saw her.  Maddux?  Um, I think he was a bit sick of me saying “smile!” 

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The only time I could get a picture of him not in motion was when he was eating – look at that blonde hair!

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It was a fun night, and I hope to get together at least once a month this summer – it’s hard with everyone’s schedules, but family first, right?

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

Not shocking, I thrifting on Saturday.  I am taking inspiration from one of the women at Weight Watchers, who purposely buys clothes in smaller sizes to keep her focused.  I found another size 10 pants, that also zipped but are still a bit tight – another 5 pounds and they should fit nicely.  Um, every piece was $1!

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This is my inspiration dress.  It’s Esley brand and when I looked that brand up, their dresses run around $60-80 – and since this had a blue tag, it was also $1.

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Excuse my closet mess, but I was organizing.  I love the bottom of the dress – it’s a size SMALL!  Hey, you never know, maybe one day I’ll fit into it!

***********

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that I had 61 points on Friday – 20 of which was eating candy to get my blood sugar up on Friday afternoon (damn diabetes!) so after Friday night, I stuck with my new favorite water – lime and grape – so refreshing!

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Sunday morning I got up early and hit up my towns farmers market.  I was so happy to run into my friend Emily from the Cheese People.  I had a tent next to her last summer in Grayslake.  I would make her a veggie burger wrap for dinner and she would give me string cheese.  #winwin

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Your basic food groups, veggies, bacon, brats and granola!  OMG, this granola – this tent was also next to me last year and they make these butterscotch granola bites – I’ll have to take a picture of them and post it because they are amazing.  I plan to use it on parfaits later this week.

When I got back home, decided to make waffles – using strawberries and cream Premier Protein.  I know if I’ve been out of buttermilk, a simple trick is to just add vinegar to milk and let it sit and it will curdle up and get thick like buttermilk.  I wondered if that would work by adding vinegar to the protein shake?  

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The answer – it worked!  Look at how thick the shake got after letting the vinegar sit for just 10 minutes.

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Strawberry Shortcake Protein Waffles
Serves 5
Adding vinegar to your protein shake will make it thick like buttermilk - so good!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
362 calories
34 g
144 g
22 g
9 g
13 g
215 g
561 g
5 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
215g
Servings
5
Amount Per Serving
Calories 362
Calories from Fat 191
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g
33%
Saturated Fat 13g
64%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 144mg
48%
Sodium 561mg
23%
Total Carbohydrates 34g
11%
Dietary Fiber 2g
10%
Sugars 5g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A
15%
Vitamin C
78%
Calcium
16%
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. 1.25 cups flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 teaspoon McCormick sugar cinnamon
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
  8. 11 ounce prepared Premier Protein strawberries and cream shake
  9. 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  10. 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
Instructions
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt together. In a 4 cup measuring cup, add the shake and vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes until thick. Add the egg and egg whites to flour mixture, pour in the shake/vinegar mixture and whisk, just until combined. Stir in the strawberries.
  2. I used 3/4 cup of batter per waffle, and got 5 waffles out of this batter. Cook according to your waffle maker instructions - mine took about 4 minutes to cook.
Notes
  1. I entered the recipe information into the Weight Watchers recipe builder and each waffle came out to 4 smart points.
beta
calories
362
fat
22g
protein
9g
carbs
34g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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These are so light and delicious.  I had mine with 1/4 cup of sugar free Smuckers pancake syrup and two pieces of peppered turkey bacon from Trader Joe’s.  And since it was strawberry shortcake, it’s only natural to add a bit of whipped cream on top, no?!

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I have these for breakfast this morning, but I am making them into an egg white sandwich to add in a bit more protein.

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And we are back to Monday.  It’s going to be hot in Chicago this week (90s) so I may be hitting up the gym after dinner if it’s still too hot to walk outside.  I also need to buy another bathing suit, I only had one, and cannot find it even after organizing all my closet yesterday.  Jenn, I’ve got lots of clothes for you!  Are you able to walk today??

Hope you had a great weekend – make it a great day!

Premier Protein–Your New BFF for Weight Loss

I get a lot of requests each week to partner with certain products, links to articles, advertising – most of which I just immediately delete after receiving them because I am not going to promote anything that I don’t already use, or think that other people will find value with.

I am happy to say that I am a Premier Protein Ambassador!  I tried to jump on the protein bar/protein shake bandwagon several times.  Only one teeny tiny problem.  Turns out most of those have some sort of ingredient in them that makes me need to find a bathroom within five minutes after eating/drinking such products.  Not going to name and any names (ahem, Pure Protein, EAS, Atkins, – just to name a few).

So I tried Premier Protein after Instagram Weight Watcher peeps were buying these 2 smart point shakes and adding them to a two shot espresso from Starbucks.  A great, quick on the go mini breakfast as I like to call it – for only 160 calories and a whopping 30 grams of protein.  I recently bought an espresso machine at Goodwill, so now can make my drink to go at home, saving me $2.17 a day. Open-mouthed smile

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I recently made vanilla coffee protein pancakes using the powdered protein mix:

coffee protein pancakes

But yesterday?  Holy balls, I made the best fluffy protein pancakes out there. 

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I am calling these Elvis Banana Pancakes because they have banana, peanut butter AND bacon.  And each fluffy pancake is only 4 smart points.  I use the Weight Watchers recipe builder to figure out  the points using my exact ingredients, so please don’t go by the nutrition label that is auto generated on generic ingredients.  My guess is that each pancakes is about 170 calories.

 

Elvis Protein Pancakes
Serves 8
A great, protein packed breakfast using Premier Protein.
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
326 calories
37 g
71 g
17 g
8 g
9 g
131 g
67 g
12 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
131g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 326
Calories from Fat 147
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
26%
Saturated Fat 9g
44%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 71mg
24%
Sodium 67mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 37g
12%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 12g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A
14%
Vitamin C
10%
Calcium
11%
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. • 1.5 cups flour
  2. • 3 teaspoon baking poweder
  3. • 1/2 teaspon salt
  4. • 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter (I used PB2)
  5. • 1/4 cup sugar
  6. • 1 large egg
  7. • 1/4 cup Premier Protein vanilla milkshake protein powder
  8. • one 11 ounce container of Premier Protein prepared bananas and cream shake
Instructions
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, peanut butter powder and protein powder and mix with a whisk, just until combined. Add in the egg and bananas and cream shake, and using a fork, mix just until combined. It’s okay if it’s a bit lumpy. Now here is the secret to fluffy pancakes. Let your batter sit a minimum of 15 minutes to let the baking powder do its magic. I used a 1/3 measuring cup to get 8 fluffy pancakes. Just cook with a lid on your pan between flips – because these are so fluffy, the lid helps steam the pancakes so they cook in the middle too.
beta
calories
326
fat
17g
protein
8g
carbs
37g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
For my breakfast yesterday I took the top pancake (4 points) used my sugar free syrup (1), ate all the banana and blackberries, the tablespoon of real bacon bits (1) and the two slices of peppered bacon for a very filling and protein packed 6 point breakfast.

I have also tried their protein bars:

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They are 8 smart points.  I’ve eaten half for breakfast on the train before work if I am extra hungry, and saved the second half for the train ride home so I don’t feel like I have to eat the second I walk in the door.

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I also like to chop up half a bar and top it on my parfaits for a bit of texture.  I think the chocolate one tastes just like a snickers bar.

I now have found these products at Walgreen’s, CVS, Walmart and Sam’s Club.  Sam’s Club by me (Chicago area) is the cheapest – a 12 pack for only $16.68. 

Have you tried Premier Protein yet?  If other protein products bothered you in the past, I’d recommend trying these.  I am down 15 pounds this year, and I think in part because I’ve been able to drink a 2 point shake on my train ride home and have time to make a sensible dinner instead of coming home starving and driving through the Burger King drive through.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Note: This is a sponsored recipe post.  However, I will only endorse products I use and recommend.

One Pot Cauliflower Mac N Cheese

I spent ten minutes yesterday on the train planning my day – journaling always keeps me focused, and if I steer away from it, my healthy vision starts to get blurry.

I had another picky plate for breakfast.  Hard boiled egg (2), deli ham (2) and 3/4 ounce Cabot cheese (3) and fruit.

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My sister is out of the office the rest of this week, so I was on my own.  It looked like it might rain, but I made it back to my office just in time.  I decided to walk north on Clark because I knew I’d pass by Xoco to accessorize my breakfast. 

My new office is close to the Merchandise Mart – I need to go there for Taco Tuesdays!  A chef makes tacos for lunch, giving cooking tips and you get to eat – all for $20.  Here are some upcoming dates:  Um, pretty sure I should go to the buffalo chicken taco one!

Carne Asada Tacos with Pico de Gallo Tuesday, May 16 12pm-12:45pm

Buffalo Chicken Tacos Tuesday, May 30 12pm-12:45pm

Chicken Tinga Tacos Tuesday, June 6 12pm-12:45pm

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While I am walking for exercise, it it wrong that I am scoping out places for me and my sister to eat on Fridays?  I am going to suggest this one to Jenn – the menu looks interesting!   They also have Art Smith’s “unfried” chicken there – yum!

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If I feel like getting fancy, I want to try this place out – Bottlefork.  It’s only open for dinner, but it might be worth it to head there after work one day and get a glass of wine and salad.  Or the grilled octopus with homemade spam.  That one sounds interesting!

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But Xoco was my true destination.  It’s the fast casual restaurant around the corner from Rick Bayless’ other restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo.  While I was tempted to order my whole lunch there, I knew I was only accessorizing my leftover taco fixings from the night before, I only spent $3 on chips and salsa.

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As I was walking back to my office with chips in hand, I had to laugh at this license plate on this motorcycle.  Um, why haven’t I thought of this vanity plate before?!

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Here is how my lunch turned out.  12 chips (4) topped with three ounces leftover ground beef taco meat (4), red cabbage, carrots and 1/2 an ounce of cheddar cheese (2).  10 delicious points – I am kicking myself for not asking if they sold this salsa in bigger containers.  They are both slightly spicy, but SO flavorful – the red one has a depth of smokiness – I could have just done shots of those salsas for lunch all by themselves they are so good.

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Non-scale victory right here peeps – I put the rest of my chips in the lunch room for someone else to eat – I knew if they were still on my desk I would have eaten them all.  They almost taste like they have a lime salt on them?  I need to see if I can make lime salt.

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By the time I left the office after being night secretary, it was a bit cold, rainy and just gross.  I remembered I bought a bag of cauliflower rice at Trader Joe’s last weekend, and the idea of making a one pot mac n cheese sparked my dinner.

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The secret to this mac n cheese is the Laughing Cow cheese, using pasta water instead of butter to make the roux.  I know, I wasn’t sure it would work either, but the water is already starchy so I thought it would bind together nicely, and it was so creamy, you wouldn’t even know there is no butter in the dish.

I used this spiral pasta from Trader Joe’s as well – love the colors!

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  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta (3)
  • 1.25 cups cauliflower rice (0)
  • 2 tablespoons pasta water (0)
  • 1 tablespoon flour (1)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (0)
  • 1/8 cup cheddar cheese (2)
  • 1 laughing cow cheese (1)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced (0)
  • one chicken sausauge (I used Kirkwood brand tomato basil) (5)

Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.  I used just 2 tablespoons, but you may need to use more depending on your pasta used.   Drain pasta, and in the same pot, cook the sliced chicken sausage for about 6-7 minutes, add to drained pasta.  Spray the pan with Pam, and add the cauliflower and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes.  Add in the 2 tablespoons of pasta water and flour and cook for one minute.  Slowly stir in the almond milk and continue to stir until the milk thickens and gets incorporated.  Remove from the heat, add in the laughing cow cheese, the cheddar cheese, cooked pasta and sausage and stir for a minute until the cheese melts.  This could have easily been two servings, but I was hungry and it was delicious – so I ate it all!  Pure healthy comfort food on a dreary night.  The cauliflower really bulked up this dish – so cheesy good!

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I am on my own for WW today since Jenn is off work.  I am on my way to WI, but I am having lunch with my friend Jacky.  I’ve already planned on going to my old meeting on Saturday, so it’s all good!  

Jacky and I are going to the Daley Center farmers market, which is now just across the street from my office – hopefully the rain will stay away.  

With my two cups of coffee with a bit of creamer, I had exactly 30 points yesterday.  I was focused and while there were temptations, I thought consciously about my food decisions for the day and am happy that it feels like I am back in control.

Now I will just have to give the Amish bakers in the train station this morning the stink eye when I walk past them this morning – they have cinnamon rolls, granola, pies – it smells like the most amazing bakery when you walk by.  Be strong Biz – be strong! 😀

Make it a great day!

Spinach Waffles

I think I am going to have to start eating my breakfast on the way to work.  I normally am not hungry right when I get up, and my coffee is fine for the hour train ride to work.  But lately I’ve hit the ground running and yesterday didn’t even heat up my breakfast until nearly 10.

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Serves 1 waffle

Spinach Waffles

A great way to sneak in veggies to your breakfast!

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.75 cups unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a blender, add the spinach, eggs, cashew milk, yogurt and vanilla together and blend well. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the blender mixture into the flour mixture and whisk just until combined. It's okay if its a bit lumpy.
  2. Heat your waffle maker according to manufacturer instructions. This made 8 waffles - I used 2/3 cup batter per waffle, and according to the WW recipe app, each waffle comes in at 4 smart points.
Recipe Type: breakfast

Notes

These freeze really well. Simply go straight from the freezer to your toaster!

7.3
http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/2017/02/28/spinach-waffles/

These spinach waffles are so good.  I was worried that the fresh baby spinach would “water” down the batter, but it was just fine.  The secret was putting all the wet ingredients into the blender, all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and while I contemplated throwing the flour mixture into the blender as well, I was glad I didn’t.  I just poured the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and just mix until combined.  It’s okay if the batter is a bit lumpy.  I love how the edges of the waffle stay bright green!  I had lunch plans, and since I ate a late breakfast, only ate one waffle sammie (2 for the waffle, 2 for the egg, 1 for the bacon, 1 for the syrup) with fresh fruit on the side for six smart points.

I am so lucky to have Boston Blackie’s in the lobby of my building.  It’s nice having a restaurant that has good food so close, so we don’t waste time walking somewhere and can spend that time talking at the table.  I had lunch with two of my co-workers, and it was nice getting to know them a bit better.   I’ve said it before, but Tony’s word of advice when going to a restaurant is don’t order lasagna in an Irish Pub.  Get what they are known for, and this place is known for its burgers.  I had this lunch built into my weekly meal plan. 

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Look at that deliciousness!  I used my trusty WW app to guesstimate how much this burger was, and based on other restaurant chains, my guess was 20 points for the whole burger.  My plan, which I stuck to, was to just eat half the burger, and order the side salad instead of fries (or sweet potato fries or mashed potatoes!).   I also asked for the Italian dressing on the side and dipped my fork in there, picked the croutons off and called lunch 12 smart points.  It was delicious, I didn’t feel guilty, I no longer have the mindset that food is “good” or “bad.”  It’s just food!  I plan for deliciousness like this, and move on. 

Work has been so busy that I literally look up and a couple hours goes by.  Before I knew it, it was time to head home.  And guess what I made for dinner – Lasagna Soup!  Batch probably 2,872?!   I halved the amount of Italian sausage I normally used, and added six cheese tortellini, so this giant bowl of soup came in at 9 smart points – leaving me with 3 points for an after dinner snack.

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

I got a few books from the library over the weekend.  One of them was this book called Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss.   I know to truly continue on my weight loss journey, that this has to be a lifelong journey, not just until I hit goal weight.  And I know that through Weight Watchers, which is one of the reasons I love the plan because I can still eat pizza, burgers and the like while continuing to lose weight, but I approach food in a whole different way now.

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Check out my tracker from August through November.  I only tracked NINE full days in four months!  No wonder the scale wasn’t moving! That, and well, maybe all the wine I hardly counted either. Open-mouthed smile

What I like about this book though is that it teaches you core eating behaviors that you build on.  You don’t go onto the next one until you’ve mastered the one you are on, and then take that first behavior, continue it and add the next behavior.

The first behavior?  Only eat 3 meals a day.  Unless you eat a very early breakfast, you can add a 4th meal.  The key to all of this?  Tracking!  Saying “I’ll just do it in my head” or “I’ll just try and cut back” rarely works.  Testament to those four months above, where I “thought” I was tracking everything, but without seeing it in black and white, you easily forget that granola bar you ate when you blood sugar was low in the car, or the cookie you grabbed at work.  “Trying to change your habits doesn’t take the weight off.  You have to actually practice your habits, so make sure you write them down somewhere to keep track.”

I think getting my cough in the middle of January was a blessing in disguise.  I was still high on the “New Year New Me!” mantra, and didn’t want to throw in the towel because I couldn’t work out.  Like most people when they want to make a change, they want to make ALL the changes at once:

  • meal prep
  • exercise
  • track food
  • get to bed by 10:30 at night
  • limit t.v.
  • no alcohol during the week
  • no fast food

The ALL or NOTHING approach.  But what happens to me every.single.time is that I’ll start out great, and by maybe day five or six, after maybe a particularly long day at work, I would come home and have three glasses of wine on a Thursday night.  Well, fudge crackers, that was one of my “rules” wasn’t it?  Not to drink during the week?!  Gah.  Well, if I can’t do that, then I may as well hit up McDonald’s at the train station for breakfast!  Thus continuing my life on the hamster wheel as I am calling it where I repeat the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

With exercise out of the picture for nearly a month, I really had to concentrate on WHAT I was eating, and WHY and WHEN.  This book advocates having three meals a day with nothing in between.  I really like that idea because since I take a shot of insulin every time I eat something, having two less shots a day is just fine in my book.   It’s also okay to feel a bit of hunger between meals.  “Having three or four satisfying meals also can help “reset” your hunger and fullness cues.”  It also suggests that without snacking, it leads to a “metabolic shift” toward burning more fat and relying less on carbohydrates.

So this first “habit” is to last two weeks before introducing the next one.  I have to tell you, that even though I was busy at work, there were times when I contemplated checking out what was in my “snack drawer” when I wasn’t even hungry.  Much like checking off something on a to do list, I wanted a check mark on my first day of eating three meals, and I did it.   Even though I had three points to “spend” after dinner, I wasn’t hungry, so I just didn’t eat. 

I like being cognizant of my food choices, not only to get down to a healthy weight, but hopefully that these “lean” habits will become instinctive that I won’t even have to think twice about them.  So here’s to the next couple weeks of my continued journey. 

Curious how many of you eat snacks throughout the day.  I have to be honest, if I did snack, it was on fruit in between meals because they are “free” but not really for me, because fruit is high in natural sugar which would require more insulin.  I’ve probably eaten more fruit in the last two months than I have in the last two years, but it’s so good!  I’ll just have to incorporate my fruit into my three meals.

I guess being aware is working for me, no?!

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Make it a great day!