Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bird's Egg Nests


Today was a big day for me. I finished my first 10k. I ran in the 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run today in Charleston, SC. It's a 6.2 mile race. I was a little nervous, because I had never run this far before. I had walked in the bridge run before with a couple of bursts of running, but I had never started it with the intention of running the whole thing. I am so excited to report that I ran the entire race and finished in 1 hour, 1 minute and 50 seconds. That comes out to be a 9:58 pace. My ultimate goal was to run the whole thing. My next goal was to run it in at least 1 hr 2 minutes. I wanted to have at least a 10 minute mile pace. Then my final goal was to finish in less than an hour. I achieved all by the last goal. I still have to give myself credit though. There were a ton of people that I had to weave through the whole time and the bridge does have a pretty steep incline. So maybe if I hadn't been up against those factors, I might have had a better time. But the fact remains that I not only finished the race, but I also ran the whole thing. And now, I am extremely tired, too!

I wanted to make something to share with you all. This is a recipe that I've seen a few times this week. It calls for chow mein noodles, but since I didn't have any of those, I used the Fiber One cereal instead. I only had about 3 cups of Fiber One, so I used Rice Krispies, too. These are so cute and are really good, too. Since they have the Fiber One in them, you don't have to feel too guilty eating them! Here's the recipe:

BIRD'S EGGS NESTS


4 c. Fiber One Cereal
1/4 c. butter
2 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows
36 - 48 miniature Robin Eggs

Melt butter over medium heat in large pan. Once butter is melted, add marshmallows and stir until marshmallows are melted. Turn off heat. Add cereal and stir until cereal is coated.

Distribute mixture evenly among 12 cup muffin tin, making indentation in middle. Once cool, place 3 - 4 Robin Eggs in middle of each nest.


EXERCISE
So in addition to the 6.2 mile run that I had today, I also got in some yoga. I wanted to stretch my muscles a little more before I went to bed so that they wouldn't get too stiff during the night. I don't know what kind of exercise I will do tomorrow. At this point, I'm just hoping to be able to get out of bed!

So long for today...


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lighter General Tso's Chicken


Quick post tonight since it is almost bedtime and I just finished my workout. I kept seeing this recipe popping up on blogs and Pinterest, so I decided to finally give it a try. I'm so glad I did because I loved it! This dish is absolutely delicious! There are a few steps involved, but the extra time is totally worth it. I'm telling you, try this recipe, you won't regret it! Here's the recipe:

LIGHTER GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN
adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures
Servings: 4
Points+: 7


1/4 c. cornstarch, divided
1/2 c. cold water
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. ground ginger
3 T. packed light brown sugar
2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 lb snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
2 large egg whites
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 t. canola oil oil

In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch and the cold water together until smooth. Add the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes, if using and whisk to combine. Stir in the peas and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add the chicken pieces, and toss to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil, and once shimmering, add half of the chicken from the egg white mixture (be sure to shake the excess off). Cook the chicken until golden on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Add the remaining oil to the pan and repeat with the other half of the chicken.

Reduce the heat under the pan then add the snow pea mixture to the now empty skillet. Cover the pan and cook until the peas are tender and the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken (and any juices on the plate) back to the skillet. Toss to coat with the sauce and, if necessary, finish cooking the chicken through. Serve the chicken on a bed of rice, if desired.


EXERCISE
I got my morning Zen trail walk in this morning. We had another beautiful day and I really enjoyed my walk. Tonight, I did the third workout on JM Kickbox Fastfix dvd. It was another one that was only 20 minutes long from warmup to cool down, so I did 5 minutes extra at the end to get some additional activity points.

Ok, sorry, I said it was going to be quick. I have a busy day tomorrow. It's going to be a fun one though. I get to fly in the helicopter tomorrow over our lake system. I absolutely love my job on days like this!

So long for today...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lasagna Rollups


Today at work was one of those days that just couldn't end fast enough. It may have been that Addison told me this morning that she didn't want me to go to work. She broke my heart. I told her that I would much rather stay at home with her, but that I had to go to work to make some monies. She seemed to accept that and our days progressed.

I had my weigh-in this morning. I am down another 1.2 lbs from last week. I hope I can get the last 1.2 lbs off this week to reach my goal next week. I don't know after today though...I ate 12 of my weekly points today. I am a huge stress eater and today was an extremely stressful day, so I ate. I didn't do too bad considering, but it was still bad. I will try my best to stay busy for the next few days in order to make up for today and keep from getting bored and wanting to eat.

Dinner tonight was lasagna rollups. This is a recipe that I developed on my own. Next time I make them, I will lay them flat instead of on their sides like tonight's. They're cute this way, but they would be easier and saucier if they were flat. Oh well, you live and learn. Here's the recipe:

LASAGNA ROLLUPS
Servings: 4
Points+: 4


8 lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried parsley
2 c. spaghetti sauce, divided
1 c. 1% cottage cheese
4 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

While lasagna noodles cook, brown ground beef in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, garlic, oregano and parsley and cook until vegetables are tender. Add 1 c. sauce and stir until combined with meat and vegetables. Once meat sauce is made and noodles are cooked, you can assemble the rollups. Spread 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce on bottom of 2 qt. baking dish.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay noodles out on flat surface. Evenly distribute cottage cheese among noodles, leaving about 2 inches on one end without filling. Top cottage cheese with 1/2 of mozzarella cheese, evenly divided among noodles. Then top the mozzarella cheese with meat mixture. Starting with end with filling on it, roll up the noodle. Place rollup on it's side in the baking dish. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce and top that with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, covered. Take cover off and bake for additional 10 - 15 minutes.


EXERCISE
I did JM Extreme Shed and Shred tonight. My knee is bothering me again, so I don't want to push it too much before the race on Saturday. I didn't finish the whole workout though. She said it was 30 minutes, but it's definitely longer than that. Next time, I will do the entire workout, just not tonight.

I'm hoping to get a walk in tomorrow morning on the Zen trail for a little bit of fresh air and exercise in one. I'm not sure about my workouts for the rest of the week. I will have to look through them and figure that out.

So long for today...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Broccoli Casserole


I finally got a day at home. I said I wanted to relax, but I did anything but that. I went for my run, worked on some laundry and I swapped out my winter sweaters and cords for my summer shirts and shorts. I'm glad I got this all done. We've been so busy the last couple of weekends, it was nice to have a day at home. We enjoy spending time with friends and family and getting out and about, but sometimes, you just want a day at home. That's what today was and it felt so good! I also got a chance to work on my menu plan for the week. Tonight, we had grilled burgers with fresh cut baked fries and broccoli casserole. I love this casserole. It's so easy, I don't know why I don't make it more often. Here's the recipe:

BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
Servings: 6
Points+: 4


1 lb. broccoli
2/3 c. FF sour cream
1 can 98% FF cream of mushroom soup
4 oz. 2% milk cheddar cheese
8 reduced fat Ritz crackers, crushed

Combine all ingreients and stir until well combined. Pour into 1 1/2 qt. baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle crushed crackers over top. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.


EXERCISE
Ha! I beat Mother Nature today. I got in a 4.25 mile run before the skies opened up. It felt really good! I did it in 48 minutes, too which made it a 8:56 mile pace. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have that kind of pace for the bridge run! I would be able to finish in less that 60 minutes. We'll have to see.

Since it was Sunday, I'm also planning to get in some yoga. I going to do Level 2 of JM Yoga Meltdown. I love her yoga workouts! They're not your traditional yoga. She adds in some cardio which helps to keep it from being boring. She needs to do another yoga workout video!

It's back to work tomorrow, but it's another short week since this will be my normal Friday off. Then we have Good Friday off and then the next week will be my normal Friday off again! Nice to know I won't have to work a Friday for almost a month!

So long for today...




Saturday, March 24, 2012

Exploding Chicken Taquitos


Today was another busy day! Addison and I had a girls day and went shopping with my mom, sister and her daughter and a friend that is visiting from Pennsylvania. I was able to find a lot of pretty good deals today, especially for Addison. I think I'm pretty much done with buying things for the cruise. Maybe a couple of little things left, but for the most part, I think I'm done. That's a good thing because even though we're leaving in a little over a month, the next few weekends will be pretty busy and I'm not sure I'm going to have a lot of time to do any amount of shopping.

Dinner tonight was a recipe that I've wanted to try for a while. I bought the canned chicken for this a while back and kept seeing it in the pantry whenever I would get in there. I finally got to use it for this recipe. The next time I make this, I'm not going to used canned chicken. I will cook and shred my own. The canned chicken is just a little weird in my opinion. Overall though, these were pretty good. I dipped mine in some FF sour cream. Here's the recipe:

EXPLODING CHICKEN TAQUITOS
adapted from Hungry Girl
Servings: 4
Points+: 7


1 10-oz. can chicken
1/2 c. salsa
1/2 c. reduced fat mexican blend cheese
1/4 t. taco seasoning
8 FF flour tortillas (can also use corn tortillas)
sour cream and/or salsa for dipping

Preheat oven to 375 degree3s.

Drain chicken and shred. Add this and salsa to a bowl and stir to combine. Add cheese and taco seasoning and stir until all ingredients are well blended.

Distribute filling among the tortillas by placing strip down middle. Roll tortillas into tubes and place seam side down on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 - 17. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and extra salsa for dipping.


EXERCISE
I got a goot bit of walking doen today while we were shopping, but nothing that I felt I could add to my WW tracker for activity points. I hadn't run in a while and with the race next Saturday, I definitely wanted to get at least a 3 mile run in. Mother Nature teased me again this afternoon. It started storming shortly after we got back from our shopping trip, and I wasn't sure I was going to have the chance to run. But as we were finishing dinner, the weather cleared up and the sun came out again. I was happy that I got my run in today! I'm still trying to figure out my heart rate monitor, so I'm not sure how much of a calorie burn I got. But it was definitely nice to run again. I hope to get in a 3 - 4 mile run tomorrow, too.

So long for today...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Baseball Popcorn


Today was such a tiring day! It was a lot of fun, but so tiring! We had an hour long bus ride to Bee City. Then we spent almost 3 hours there learning about bees and getting to feed some of the animals, then we had an hour long bus ride back. Addison fell asleep about halfway back and woke up when we got back to her school. So needless to say, she was pretty tired since she didn't get any more sleep today. Luckily, my parents invited us over to their house for dinner, so I didn't have to cook dinner at home. I did make some of this delicious popcorn to snack on before dinner though. It is so good! I love the sweet combination with the cinnamon and the buttery goodness from the butter on the popcorn. Here's the recipe:

BASEBALL POPCORN
adapted from Not My Mama's Meals
Servings: 8
Points+: 3


10 cups 94% FF popcorn, popped
2 T. light butter
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
pinch nutmeg

Melt butter in bowl in microwave. Add all other ingredients, except popcorn. Add the popcorn to large zip top storage bag. Drizzle topping over popcorn and shake bag until topping is evenly distributed. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
I had every intention of working out tonight. I even put on my workout clothes and started my JM Yoga Meltdown dvd. But then I looked at the clock and realized it was almost 10:00 and decided that I'd better get a good night's sleep tonight. It worked out well though, because I haven't had a rest day in a while and I promised my friend Tracey that I would think about getting one in soon. So this one's for you Tracey! Even though I'm going shopping tomorrow, I still plan to get in a run for my workout. I feel like it's been forever since I ran last!

So long for today...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Shells


Tomorrow Addison is going on a fieldtrip to Bee City. I swapped my Fridays so that I could go with her. My dad is going to come along, too since he used to raise honeybees in Pennsylvania. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. I've heard a lot of great things about this place and I can't wait to go.

Tonight was another recipe I found on Pinterest. I'm addicted, I admit it. Isn't that the first step? There are so many great things to find on there! What I'm loving so much about this blog, is that I'm making so many things from scratch. I'm not using as many processed foods. I'm the first to admit that we love us some Hamburger Helper in this house. It's great when you're short on time. I have a few boxes in the cupboard right now, and I'm not afraid to use them. But when I have the time, I try new recipes that I know every ingredient that I add. Here's tonight's recipe:

MEXICAN STUFFED SHELLS
adapted from The Way to His Heart
Servings: 5
Points+: 11


1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 pkg. low sodium taco seasoning
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
2 cloved garlic, minced
1 c. black beans
4 oz. FF cream cheese
20 jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 c. salsa
1 c. taco sauce
1 c. RF mexican blend cheese
scallions
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef over medium heat in non-stick skillet. Add onion, pepper and garlic. Cook until veggies are tender. Add taco seasoning and 1/2 c. water. Cook until liquid is absorbed. Add black beans and cream cheese. Cook until cream cheese is melted and blended. Set aside to cool a bit.

Cook pasta shells according to package directions and drain.

Pour salsa on bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake uncovered for additional 10 - 15 minutes.

To serve, add a dollop of sour cream and top with sliced scallions.


EXERCISE
Well, Mother Nature definitely has it out for me this week. It was raining yet again this evening, so I didn't get a run in. Instead, I did JM Six Week Six Pack - Level 2. This was the first time that I had ever done level 2 of this workout. I really like level 1 though. I feel like I haven't really worked my abs in the last week or so, so I wanted to try to work them out. And work them out I did! This workout combines the target toning to the abs, but also has bursts of cardio to keep your heart rate up. I'm not feeling anything in my legs from Killer Buns & Thighs last night, but I'm sure to feel something in my abs tomorrow!

So long for today...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crockpot Italian Chicken


If I haven't said it before, I'm a huge fan of Pinterest. What is even better, is that I've actually made quite a few recipes that I've found on Pinterest. This is one of those recipes. This was so delicious! I also pulled out my Cooking Light Cookbook to look for some new recipes to try out and share with you all. I'm also contemplating starting "Meatless Mondays." I'm not sure if this is very realistic for us, as I've told you before TC calls himself a meatatarian. But we will see. Here is the recipe for tonight:

CROCKPOT ITALIAN CHICKEN
Servings: 4
Points+: 6


3 4-oz chicken breasts
1 can FF cream of chicken soup
4 oz. FF cream cheese, softened
1/2 packet of dry italian dressing

Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low 4 - 6 hours. Serve over pasta, rice or whatever you like best. If the sauce is thick, add a bit of milk before serving.


EXERCISE
I got in a walk this morning during my break again. I'm totally loving the Zen trail at work. I'm so glad the weather has been nice enough to let me do this. I hope that the extra exercise might help with these last few pounds.

i wanted to get a 3 mile run in tonight, but mother nature had other plans. So instead, I finally got to try out JM's Killer Buns & Thighs video. I started with Level 1 tonight and I have to say, it seemed like a really good workout. The real test will be tomorrow. I'm definitely one that likes to feel a little bit of pain to know that I got a good workout. Now, I'm talking about I got a good workout pain, not injury pain. So let's see how much it hurts tomorrow.

So long for today...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Orange Honey Glazed Chicken


Well, the scale was up today. It really wasn't surprising given all of the crackers and brownies that I ate yesterday. I'm hoping that most of it was water weight. I drank more than my weight in water today to flush out any remaining water weight left. As is typical for my "makeup Mondays" (make up for the weekend), we had grilled chicken with brown rice and green beans. Well, I had brown rice. TC and Addison had parboiled rice. The last time I fed Addison brown rice, she thought it was gum, so I thought maybe that was enough brown rice for her. I really wanted to do a grilled chicken recipe with orange juice for dinner. I had researched some different recipes and took some ingredients from different ones to create my own. Here's the recipe I came up with:

ORANGE HONEY GLAZED CHICKEN
Servings: 3
Points+: 5


12 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1/3 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
2 t. honey
1 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 t. brown sugar
3/4 t. dry mustard

Combine all ingredients except chicken. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Add chicken. Allow to marinate at least 1 hour, or overnight. Grill chicken until cooked through.


EXERCISE
During my break at work today, I got to go on a brisk walk outside. My company has various walking trails throughout the property to help encourage exercise with the employees. Today was the first time I took advantage of these trails. I walked on the "Zen" trail. It's a one mile round trip trail that takes you through a wooded area along the edge of the property. It was nice to get some exercise and clear my head this morning. I would really like to do this walk a few days a week. I also did JM Metabolism Boosting workout tonight. I considered it my last chance workout and gave it my all to try to make up for the damage I did on Sunday. We'll see if it worked.

So long for today...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Low Fat Coleslaw


Sometimes, it can be hard to stick to your diet when you're invited to social events. Today, we were invited over to my inlaws house to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. Since the weather has been so nice, they decided to have a cookout. Unfortunately, it started raining just when everyone was arriving, but we didn't let it ruin the party. We simply moved the festivities inside after all of the food was cooked. The menu included hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad and chocolate caramel brownie sundaes. I'm lucky enough that they are very supportive of my weight loss efforts. They don't give me dirty looks when I bring my own hamburger and bun as well as a side or two to enjoy instead of the potato salad and brownie sundaes. (I did try the chocolate caramel brownies and the were delicious!!) That's the same tips I gave last week for the oyster festival. When you know you're going to be in an eating environment with foods that aren't WW-friendly, take some of your own to enjoy that is WW-friendly. The host will probably be thankful you brought something to share! So today, I took baked beans and low fat coleslaw. The beans weren't exactly WW-friendly, so I didn't have a lot of those. The coleslaw was something that I thought and mixed up this afternoon. I have to say, that it was pretty good, too! Here's the recipe:

LOW FAT COLESLAW
Servings: 2
Points+: 1


2 c. shredded or chopped cabbage
2 T. onion, chopped
1/2 rib celery, chopped
1 small carrot, shredded
2 T. Miracle Whip Light
1 T. plain, fat free greek yogurt
1/2 t. Splenda
1/3 t. apple cider vinegar
1 T. skim milk
pinch of salt 1/2 pinch of pepper

Combine all ingredients together. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to combine. Enjoy!


EXERCISE
It was yet another beautiful day here and I got in a 3 mile run today. Felt really good! Still trying to figure out how much I will try to increase my distance before the 10k on the 31st. I'm really not sure if I even will increase it any more.

I also got in some yoga this evening. I love doing yoga on Sunday evening. It really helps me to wind down from the busy weekend and try to relax before the work week. Lots of things going through my head tonight! Thank goodness it's only a 4 day week!

So long for today...


Friday, March 16, 2012

Skinny Shamrock Shake


Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Living in Pennsylvania, I grew up drinking Shamrock Shakes from McDonald's every year around St. Patrick's Day. When I moved to South Carolina, I was very disappointed to learn that the employees at all of the local McDonald's had no idea what a Shamrock Shake was. Fast forward to this past February when I walk into McDonald's and see that they now have these delicious milkshakes. I was so excited! I ordered a medium knowing that Addison would want to share it with me. Later in the day, when I was entering my points into my tracker, I was horrified when I discovered that a medium Shamrock Shake contains 18 Points+. Are you kidding me? It really irritates me that restaurants are allowed to market and sell food that is so nutritionally bad. Is there really nothing that can be done to improve on these foods? I realize that it is my choice to frequent these types of restaurants, but it would just be nice if there were healthier options besides salad to choose from. Thank goodness for Chick-Fil-A.

It was on that day, that I sadly realized that I would not be having another Shamrock Shake from McDonald's this year. I vowed to my sister that I would still have a Shamrock Shake, but a much healthier version that I would make myself. That's what I did tonight and will do tomorrow night knowing that I'm saving a whopping 13 Points on this homemade version. Here's the recipe:

SKINNY SHAMROCK SHAKE
Servings: 1
Points+: 5


1 T. sugar free vanilla powder creamer
1 T. hot water
1/2 c. FF Breyers ice cream
3/4 c. light vanilla soy milk
1 packet Splenda
1/8 t. mint extract
5 drops green food coloring
1 1/2 c. crushed ice

Combine creamer and hot water together and stir until creamer is dissolved. Add this to the blender along with remaining ingredients. Blend until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Pour into tall glass and top with FF whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!


EXCERCISE
So I was feeling pretty frustrated after work today. After venting to my mom about things, I decided to take her advice and go for a walk. It was such a beautiful day, so I decided, why not? I put Addison in the jogging stroller and away we went. I'm so glad I did it! My mom always has great advice! By the end of the walk, I was feeling so much better! We got back just in time. A storm hit shortly after we got back. I also did some yoga tonight to get a little bonus exercise. Nothing major, just some Denise Austin to help stretch the muscles.

Well, the corned beef brisket is in the slow cooker already. Can't wait to see how wonderful the house smells in the morning. This is the first time I've ever made my corned beef and cabbage with corned beef brisket. I usually use the canned variety, but thought I would try something new this year. Can't wait to report the results!

So long for today!





Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strawberries & Cream Pancakes


Today was a pretty hectic day followed by an equally hectic evening. Dinner was delicious though! Addison ate two of these pancakes and a good many strawberries as well. This is definitely going to be repeated soon. I served this with a few slices of turkey bacon. Absolutely delicious! Obviously, you can have these for breakfast, brunch, lunch or a midnight snack. Whatever strikes your fancy! I finished up some shamrock sugar cookies that I baked last night. I counted them tonight. There's sixty of them. That's a lot of cookies! Here's the recipe for the pancakes:

STRAWBERRIES & CREAM PANCAKES
Servings: 3
Points+: 7


1 c. Heart Smart Bisquick
3/4 c. unsweetened almond milk (or what ever milk you have)
1 egg
1 T. canola oil
6 strawberries, sliced
1/4 c. FF cream cheese
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 packets Splenda

Mix all ingredients together and stir until well combined.

Heat griddle between 350°F and 400°F. Spray griddle with non-stick spray. Pour about 1/3 c. of batter onto hot griddle. Pancakes are ready to flip when bubble begin to form along edge of pancake. Flip once and cook through.

You can serve however youw ant, but this is how I did it:

Place one pancake on plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Spoon some sliced strawberries on top and top with a dollop of FF whipped cream. Repeat layers two more times. ENJOY!


EXERCISE
I'm glad that I found some time to get my wokrout in. I ended up doing JM Extreme Shed and Shred - Level 1. This isn't a hard workout, but it definitely works me out!

Ok, have to finish up laundry and go to bed. Headed to work early in the morning.

So long for today...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Philly Cheesesteak Cupcakes


I'm loving the time change! I've been looking forward to this so that I would be able to get in some runs during the week. Tonight was my first one. The weather was so gorgeous! I really hope that it stays warm like this straight through Spring. It just wouldn't be fair to tease us with this perfect weather and then snatch it away from us!

I love Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. There is just nothing like them! There is a restaurant down here called, oddly enough, Philly's that makes the best cheesesteaks! TC and I used to go there when we wanted to splurge. We couldn't go there very often or else we would have weighed over 300 pounds each! So after seeing all of the recipes for main dish "cupcakes" I decided to try these. I'm also thinking about doing some in egg rolls, too. I think those would be quite tasty as well! Here's the recipe:

PHILLY CHEESESTEAK CUPCAKES
Servings: 6
Points+: 10


1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 slices 2% milk Provolone cheese, chopped into pieces or shredded
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
24 wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown ground beef in skillet over medium heat. Add green pepper and onion. Cook until veggies are tender. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.

Spray 12 cup cupcake pan with cooking spray. Place wonton wrapper in bottom of each cup. Distribute 1/2 of beef mixture evenly among cups. Top with half of provolone cheese. Place another wonton wrapper on top of cheese and repeat layers. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from muffin tin.



EXERCISE

I'm so glad I got in my 3 mile run tonight. I was wondering how my knee was going to hold up and it did great! I'm still going to take it a little bit easy on it until after the bridge run. I don't want to push myself too hard and then not be able to run in it at the end of the month. I still want to get some longer runs in to train a little more for it, too. Maybe this weekend. Ok, off to make some Shamrock Sugar Cookies...

So long for today...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chicken Alfredo Pizza


Today was my weigh-in day! Even though I had a couple of rough patches over the weekend, I had tried to make up for it and was hoping for a pretty good number on the scale. I'm happy to report that I didn't disappoint myself! I lost 1.2 pounds this week! That brings my total since January 3rd to 11.2 pounds! I'm so happy with the success that I've had this year on WW and I really hope I can lose the last few pounds.

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago on Emily Bites, but since I'm not a big fan of spinach, I didn't add it to my "to-Cook" list. But after hearing the rave reviews about it on my WW message board, I decided to give it a try. In order to bulk it up a little bit, I added some onions and mushrooms to it. Oh my goodness, this was so delicious! I usually make my own pizza crust, so I really liked the convenience of using the pre-made pizza crust. It really got the wheels in my head turning trying to come up with more recipes that can be done on one of these crusts...Here's the recipe:

CHICKEN ALFREDO PIZZA
adapted from Emily Bites
Servings: 3 or 6
Points+: 5 or 10


2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced, optional
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced, optional
Boboli 12” Whole Wheat Thin Pizza Crust
1/2 cup light Alfredo sauce
½ cup cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
¾ cup 2% reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1 ½ t grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 450.

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray heat up over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until almost tender. Add the spinach and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until the spinach is wilted and the garlic is golden. Remove from heat.

Spread the Alfredo sauce evenly over the pizza crust, leaving at least a ½ inch edge around the outside. Spread the veggie mixture evenly over top of the sauce. Sprinkle the shredded chicken over the veggies. Top the chicken with the mozzarella cheese. Finally, sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly over this pizza.

Place pizza on a foil covered baking sheet, a pizza stone or straight onto the oven rack and bake for 8-10 minutes.


EXERCISE
I wanted to get in some strength training tonight since I did cardio. I had been pretty sore the other night from doing JM's No More Trouble Zones, so I thought I would do it again to work the same muscles. I still didn't get the whole video done, but I did get through 30 minutes. Maybe someday I will make it through the whole thing!

So long for today...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip


This dip is so delicious! I let my husband try it and he even said how good it was. The secret to the dip is that it is made with chickpeas. That's right: Chick - Peas. But trust me when I tell you that you have no idea they're in there. It could be that I added a little bit of peanut butter, so that really adds additional flavor to the dip. I took it to the oyster roast on Saturday. TC told me not to tell anyone what's in it until after they try it. That's exactly what I did. Everyone that tried it really liked it. They were really surprised when I told them that it was made with chickpeas. There was some leftover that I brought home with me. I ate way too much of it and had to throw it away to stop myself from eating it. It's really not bad for you, but the reduced fat graham crackers and vanilla wafers that you eat with it can sure add up when you eat quite a few of them. Here's the recipe:

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH DIP
Servings: 6
Points+: 4


1 c. chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 T. oats, ground
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. baking soda
2 T. Splenda
1/3 c. chocolate chips

Add all ingredients, except chocolate chips, to a food processor and mix until smooth and creamy, then mix in chocolate chips. Serve with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, animal crackers, whatever you like.


EXERCISE
In order to make up for eating too much cookie dough dip, I wanted to do another workout last night, but I was so tired, I just went to bed. I figured with the time change, the extra sleep would do my body more good than the exercise, so that's what I did. I did get a 3 mile run in before the oyester roast. This morning, I got in a 4.09 mile run. It felt so great! I wished I would have had time to keep going, but we had some things to do this evening so I had to head in. I am planning to do some yoga before bed to help stretch my muscles and help me to wind down after a busy weekend.

I didn't do too terribly eating this weekend, but I definitely could have done better. I'm drinking plenty of water to help flush my system and trying to get in my exercise. I only have one day left to make a difference on the scale. I did buy some local honey and bee pollen to help with my allergies, so I will be adding that to something I eat or drink everyday. I'm really curious to see if it makes a difference. I will report back with any results.

So long for today...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lasagna


Sometimes, I don't make the best decisions. Take today for example. I not only made a batch of Alabama Firecrackers, but I also made a batch of Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies. Even now, after I have put everything in a sealed container, I can still hear them calling to me from the kitchen, begging me to try just one bite. I've been pretty strong so far and I hope I stay this way. I made these to share with my co-workers tomorrow at the Oyster Festival that my company plays host to. It usually draws a pretty good crowd and everyone has a good time. I have to work this year, as every other year, but since I'm going to be working the t-shirt table, I should be able to still have time to step away and socialize.

One of the ways to stay successful with Weight Watchers is to plan ahead. Tomorrow is a great example. I don't like oysters, and the other food that will be available to me isn't healthy either. There is usually a tent set up selling hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries. Nothing that is WW friendly. So I will be taking my own lunch with me tomorrow. I'm planning to take a ham & cheese wrap with some fruit, carrot sticks and some Special K Cracker Chips. I'm also going to take a couple of bottles of water in order to make my 6 - 8 glasses of water recommendation for the day. When you know that you're going to be in a situation where you're not going to have a lot of healthy options available, it's a good idea to take something with you that you already know the points value of and will be able to enjoy without feeling guilty.

We had lasagna for dinner tonight. This was the first time that I made this variation. It was pretty good, but the next time I make it, I will make some tweaks to it to make it a little better. Here's the recipe:

LASAGNA
adapted from Emily Bites
Servings: 9
Points+: 9


1 lb. extra lean ground beef
3/4 lb. italian turkey sausage
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
26 oz. spaghetti sauce
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1 c. 2% cottage cheese
6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1 c. part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 t. italian seasoning, divided
1/4 c. reduced fat parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef and turkey sausage. Add pepper, onion and garlic and cook until veggies are tender. Set aside 1 c. spaghetti sauce and add remaining spaghetti sauce to meat and veggie mixture. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 8 - 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt cream cheese over medium heat. Remove from heat and add cottage cheese.

Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 of meat mixture in bottom of dish. Top meat layer with 3 lasagna noodles, followed by 1/2 of cream cheese mixture and 1 1/2 t. italian seasoning. Repeat meat, noodle and cream cheese layers. Cover with reserved spaghetti sauce. Top this with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.


EXERCISE
So I'm happy to report that the scale was down a little bit this morning. I'm hoping that I can keep this trend throughout the weekend. Tonight, I changed up my workout again and did JM No More Trouble Zones. This is a pretty difficult video to do for me, especially because it's 50 minutes long. I gave it my all for as long as I could and made sure to have a good cool down. I'm still feeling the workout in my shoulders.

I'm hoping to get in a morning run before I have to go to the Oyster Festival. Tomorrow is usually a pretty tiring day and I want to get my workout in before I leave so I don't have to worry about trying to do it after working the festival all day. Keep your fingers crossed...

So long for now...


Thursday, March 8, 2012

BBQ Meatloaf Muffins


In case you didn't know, I have an almost 3 year old daughter. She is the light of my life! She's such a sweet little girl, it would be hard not to fall in love with her. Like any three year old, she can be pretty picky about what she eats. This is especially true when it comes to veggies. You already saw that I sneak in some carrots to my chili to add more bulk and nutrients to it. I decided to do the same thing to this recipe. I added in carrot to get my daughter to eat more vegetables. Sometimes moms have to be sneaky like that! You really can't taste the carrots in there, and unless you look really close, you can't see them either. They blend in really well.

I was holding my breath on this recipe. I honestly didn't know how it would turn out. Luckily, it was a success. I'm so relieved! It was supposed to be one large meatloaf, but I don't have time to wait for the oven to pre-heat and then bake something for 45 minutes on a day that I work. So I remembered the meatloaf muffins that I made a little while back and figured I would make this into muffins. I love the idea of the muffins, too because they really help with portion control. Of course, I had to do a side of mashed potatoes! What else do you have with meatloaf? Here's the recipe:

BBQ MEATLOAF MUFFINS
Servings: 6
Points+: 5


1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 glove garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
2 T. + 2 t. worcestershire sauce
3/4 c. Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, divided
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients except 1/4 c. BBQ sauce. Mix until well combined. Spray a 12 cup miffin pan with cooking spray and spoon meatloaf mixture evenly into the 12 cups. Spoon remaining BBQ sauce evenly over the top of each muffin. Bake for 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Enjoy!


EXERCISE
I was a little frustrated this morning, again. The scale was up even more from yesterday. I have done everything in my power to make the scale happy, but I must be missing something. Because it's definitely not very happy with me right now. I was pretty pleased with myself last night for getting a run and some yoga in yesterday. But I guess the scale wasn't that pleased with me. Tonight, I decided to take the intensity of my workout down a little bit. I did Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds. She has so many variations of these walking workouts. But my favorite is the classic. My only decision to make was whether or not to do the 30 minute or 45 minute walk. Since Addison went down easily tonight, I got to do the 45 minute workout and earned an extra activity point. Yea!!

I also wanted to stay inside tonight since my allergies are getting irritated by all of the pollen in the air. Everything seems like it's in full bloom right now! Don't get me wrong, I love Spring! It's my favorite of all the seasons! I love how fresh everything is. I just wish the pollen didn't play havoc with my sinuses! Oddly enough, I never had a problem with my allergies until I moved South. Not sure, I guess just the different types of pollen? Who know?

I'm really hoping that the scale is nice to me. I even sacrificed my after dinner sweet fix and just had my sleepytime tea. We'll see how pleased the scale is in the morning.

So long for today...