Friday, April 27, 2012

Slow Cooker Lasagna


Hey guys! So we're setting sail tomorrow! I'm so excited...but I'm still not packed! Yikes! I'd better post this quick and get my rear in gear!!

I have been trying to find a recipe for Slow Cooker lasagna for a while now. I wanted something that was pretty easy, but also tasted good. I definitely found that here. I think the thing that makes this so good is the cream cheese thats in it. To me, it seems like it adds a little bit of sweetness that you don't normally find in italian dishes like this one. The no-boil noodles also helped to make it easy and since there are only 6 noodles in the whole thing, it doesn't add a lot of points to the dish. If you've also been looking for an easy Slow Cooker Lasagna, here it is:

SLOW COOKER LASAGNA
Servings: 6
Points: 10


1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. McCormick Salt Free Garlic & Herb seasoning
2 28-oz. jars spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Light Smart)
6 no boil lasagna noodles, broken to fit cooker
8 oz. part skim mozzarella, shredded
4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
1/4 c. reduced fat parmesan cheese

In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium high heat. Add pepper, onion, farlic and seasoning and cook until vegetables are tender. Add 1 1/2 jars spaghetti sauce and simmer over low heat until heated through.

Add 1/3 of meat sauce to bottom of slow cooker. Top with 1/3 of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of cream cheese. Add two lasagna noodles on top of cheeses. I was able to lay one noodle down the middle and had to break the other noodle into pieces to fit. Repeat layers two more times. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce left in the jar and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top of sauce.

Cook on low 4 - 6 hours.



EXERCISE

Even though I'm not packed yet, I did get a chance to do a workout tonight. I was planning to do Bob's Super Strength, but since I still have a lot to do before my head hits my pillow, I thought I might compromise. I still got a good workout in, but it wasn't an hour long. I ended up doing Level 1 of JM's 6 Week 6 Pack. Since I'm going to be in a bathing suit quite a bit in the next 7 days, I thought every bit of ab work would help!

So long for today...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cheesy Pastitsio


The last week straight has been pretty icky weather.  It started by being rainy for a few days, then after that, it decided to drop almost 20 degrees and be rainy.  Then it decided to stay cool but get a little sunny.  Today, after all that, the weather is finally turning around!  It's supposed to be 80 today and 90 tomorrow.  Plus, I got to see some blue sky and the sun today.  Things are definitely turning around.  My moods depend a lot on the weather.  If the weather is dreary, I'm going to be dreary, too.  I swear that I get my energy from the Sun.  We've got some kind of deep connection.  I'm not sure how it developed, but it's definitely there.  The only thing that was keeping me out of a slump the last few days was looking forward to our cruise!  Yay!  One of our fellow cruisers flew in last night from Birmingham Alabama.  PeeWee has gone on quite a few cruises with us.  We've pretty much adopted him into the family.  He is a high school classmate of my dad's and he fits in quite well!

Since this dish ended up being so HUGE, I invited my parents and PeeWee to come over for dinner tonight.  This was a new recipe that looked so yummy!  I got it from one of my favorite blogs by one of the sweetest gals ever.  If you haven't met Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny, you should definitely check out her site.  Here's the recipe:

CHEESY PASTITSIO
adapted from Eat Yourself Skinny
Servings: 6
Points+: 8


8 oz. uncooked Dreamfields rotini pasta Cooking spray
1 lb. 99% lean ground turkey
1 medium onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. McCormick's Salt Free Herb & Garlic Seasoning
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups fat-free milk
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
6 oz fat-free cream cheese
3/4 cup (3 oz) shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat broiler.

Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile,over medium-high heat, heat a large skillet that has been sprayed with non=stick cooking spray. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking up as it cooks. Add onion, garlic, seasoning and salt and cook until onion is tender. Stir in milk, tomatoes and cream cheese, and stir until smooth and cream cheese is melted. Bring to a simmer and cook about 2 minutes. Add pasta and stir until well coated with sauce.

Pour pasta and meat mixture into a broiler safe 9 x 13 inch pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top. Place and broiler and cook about 4 minutes or until cheese on top is golden brown. Sprinkle parsley over top.

I also added about 1/4 c. of reduced fat Parmesan cheese to the top of this for a little more flavor, but if you do this, it will add one more point per serving.


EXERCISE
I really wanted to do Bob's Super Strength workout again tonight, but thought it would be better to take a night off from that workout.  So I decided to "take it easy" tonight and I did level 2 of Jillian's 6 Week 6 Pack. I'm hoping to do Bob's Super Strength workout again tomorrow night.  I'm still trying to concentrate on upping my strength workouts.  I want to tighten and firm and I've heard that this is the best natural way to do it!  Hope it works!

So long for today...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pineapple Apricot Honey Dijon Chicken


Ah, the week before vacation. The time when you spend your days working so hard and hoping that the week never ends because the last thing on your mind is your upcoming vacation. Isn't that the way it is for you? Oh, just me? Haha! Nevermind. It's all I can do to get through my days at work this week. Thank goodness I have a ton of work to do to help the days go by faster! After this week, I'm definitely going to need a vacation, too!

I am 1 pound away from my goal weight. People tell me that I look good now and don't need to lose any more weight. They don't understand why that one pound makes such a difference. But it does. It means a lot to me. If I finally lose this one pound, it will mean that I made my goal. It will mean that I accomplished something that I set out to do. That means so much more than the number on the scale. When I decide I'm going to do something, I don't rest until it's done...the right way. My father always told me that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. I couldn't agree more! I'm not sure if I will make the goal tomorrow...I had quite a few tastes of some orange cream cheese frosting tonight...but I will make the goal eventually.

So dinner tonight was another "Make-up Monday." There's nothing like chicken with brown rice and green beans. I'm sure TC is tired of it, but until I reach my goal, this is how Mondays are going to be at our house. At least it's not the same chicken every Monday! Here's the recipe for tonight's chicken:

PINEAPPLE APRICOT HONEY DIJON CHICKEN
adapted from Kraft
Servings: 4
Points+: 5


4 4-oz. chicken breasts
3 T. dijon mustard
2 T. pineapple-apricot preserves
1 T. honey
1/2 t. ground ginger

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Combine mustard, preserves, honey and ginger and mix until well blended.

Reserve half of the mustard mixture; set aside. Brush chicken with remaining mustard mixture - or marinate overnight in mustard mixture.

Grill chicken 10 min. on each side or until cooked through, occasionally basting with the reserved mustard mixture.


EXERCISE

Since I didn't get a run in yesterday, I really wanted to get one in tonight. It was a little chilly here today and in all honesty, it was the perfect day for a run. I didn't have to bundle up too much. I just added an extra layer and wore some long pants. 374 burned calories later, my run was over and I already had my workout done for the day. Now maybe I can relax...oh wait, what does that mean?

So long for today...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S'mores Bars


I've been pretty busy the last couple of days. Last night, we had a date night with TC's sister and her boyfriend. We went to a great local restaurant then went to see the latest in the American Pie franchise, "American Reunion." We had such a great night. We leave for our cruise in less than a week. Because of this, I started packing today. I think I have all of Addison's clothes out and most of mine. I still have to iron them and pack, but this is the hardest part. I have a full week this week at work, so I wanted to get most of the packing done this weekend. It's so great to accomplish something you set out to do.

I've been seeing a lot of tempting recipes on some of the blogs that I follow this past week. I have a lot of new recipes that I want to try. I decided to start with these S'mores Bars. They are really good. They're not really WW-friendly, but I did trim a few points off of each serving. I also saved enough points to allow myself to indulge. I'm so glad I did. Here's the recipe:

S'MORES BARS
adapted from Taste of Home
Servings: 16
Points+: 5


1 c. white flour
1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. Splenda
1 egg, at room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1 c. marshmallow creme

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Set aside 1/2 cup for topping.

Press remaining mixture into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Place candy bars over crust; spread with marshmallow creme. Crumble remaining graham cracker mixture over top.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.


EXERCISE
I wanted to go for another run today, but Mother Nature had other plans. I'm not a big fan of running in downpours, so I thought maybe I would skip the run today. My knee has been a little sore today, so maybe I'm supposed to rest it for the day. I am still planning to do my weekly Sunday yoga tonight. Since I didn't get my run in, I think I will do Bob's Yoga for the Warror video. That is, of course, if Addison cooperates and goes to bed at a decent time.

So long for today...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes


Happy National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day!

Today was the first Friday that I had to work in over a month! I hated going to work this morning. But eventually, I did make it. I even managed to get some work done and some leases written! While I was at work, I found out that it was National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day. Who knew? When I found out, I knew that I needed to celebrate this holiday properly!

My neighbor's favorite cake is Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. I knew that if I was successful at making these cupcakes I would definitely share them with her. During lunch, I went to the grocery store to pick up everything that I needed for these cupcakes. After I got home, I started making them and we were able to enjoy them with a little bit of fat free frozen yogurt after dinner. Oh my mother of pearl were they good! It's a good thing I have other people I want to share these with, because otherwise, I think I might have eaten all of them myself! These will definitely be made in this house again! Here's the recipe:

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CUPCAKES
adapted from http://www.hungry-girl.com/show/just-desserts-upside-down-pineapple-applesauce-cake-recipe
Servings: 12
Points+: 3


Candy:
1 T. light butter
1/4 c. brown sugar (not packed)

Cake:
1 box Duncan Hines yellow cupcake mix
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. club soda
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
12 marachino cherries
pineapple tidbits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray (butter flavored, if available)

Cook butter in microwave and cook until melted, about 15 - 20 seconds. Add brown sugar and stir until well combined. Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, combine cake mix with baking powder and stir unti lmixed wel. Add club soda and applesauce and stir until smooth.

Evenly distribute candy topping among cupcake pan. Place cherry inthe center of each cupcake mold. Surround cherry with pineapple tidbits. Evenly pour cake mix into each cupcake mold over fruit.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 16 minutes or until cake is golden brown.

Allow cakes to cool for 15 - 20 minutes before removing from pan. Invert cupcake pan on large plate or cooling rack and gently lift cupcake pan off.


EXERCISE
Last night, I started Bob Harper's Super Strength workout video. Let me tell you, he means business with that thing! Even the people in the video seem like its hard for them! They may just be acting, but I can definitely sympathize with them. Well, I only got halfway through the video last night. So I'm planning to do the whole thing -all 66 minutes- tonight. No excuses, right?

So long for today...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

I'm planting a garden this year! I've never had a garden before. Growing up, my dad always planted a pretty big garden. I liked to go out and help him out with it. He would till the garden with his tractor and my sister and I would follow behind him walking through the freshly tilled dirt. It was a lot of fun! So this year, I decided that I'm going to plant my own garden. We tilled up the area tonight and got most of it planted. So far, we have planted romaine lettuce, cucumbers, red and orange bell peppers, and zucchini. I still have to plant tomatoes and onions but that will have to wait for another day. I'm pretty excited about my garden. It's raining right now, too. So I'm hoping that will help it out! Can't wait to start harvesting produce!!

Tonight, we had burgers on the grill. I was hungry for them all day! I know I've probably told you before, but there is hardly anything that beats a fresh grilled hamburger. For a side, I made homemade macaroni and cheese. TC absolutely loves my macaroni and cheese. It's so creamy, plus I make mine with Velveeta which makes it even better! It's pretty easy, too which I think is just icing on the cake! Here's the recipe:


CREAMY MACARONI & CHEESE
Servings: 6
Points+: 6


1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 c. skim milk
salt and pepper
4 c. cooked macaroni
4 oz. light Velveeta, cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare macaroni according to package directions.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat butter in microwave until melted. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add milk and salt & pepper. And stir to combine as much as possible. Return to microwave and heat until butter/flour has melted and mixture has has started to thicken up. This should take about 3 - 4 minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir from time to time to keep from boiling over in microwave.

Add Velveeta cubes and return to microwave. Heat until Velveeta has melted and cheese sauce is smooth and creamy.

Spray 2 1/2 qt. baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add cooked macaroni to baking dish, then pour cheese sauce over top and stir to distribute the cheese sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes, or until top turns golden brown.


EXERCISE
Addison was pretty late going to bed last night, so I only got to do half of Bob's ab workout. I know, on Biggest Loser, it's the season of no excuses, but I thought I had a pretty good one last night. So I made it halfway through and had to call it quits. I'm going to make it through the whole thing tonight though. Even if I have to stay up way past my bedtime, I will complete the whole ab workout tonight. No excuses!

So long for today...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Casserole


Well, I didn't hit my goal this week. I'm a little bit disappointed, but not completely surprised. I also don't think all of the Easter candy I ate tonight is going to help me too much either. But if I stay on plan between now and next Tuesday, I still might make it. That's a BIG if though! We'll have to wait and see.

TC gave tonight's dinner a huge compliment. He said he thought that tonight's dinner was the best one yet. He's giving me more feedback on my dinners now which really helps me. I mean, who wants to keep eating something that no one else likes? Definitely not me! Here's tonight's recipe:

FIESTA CHICKEN CASSEROLE
adapted from Plain Chicken
Servings: 4
Points+: 12


3 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup instant rice (uncooked)
1 can FF cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles, undrained
1 Tbsp Fajita seasoning
2 Tbsp skim milk
2 cups 2% sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup crushed Baked Doritos

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine chicken, rice, soup, Rotel, seasoning, milk and 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Pour into a lightly greased 9x9 pan. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Top casserole with crushed chips and remaining cheese, bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.


EXERCISE
This evening after dinner, we did get a short bike ride in. But probably only one Activity Point's worth. I'm still planning to do Bob Harper's Totally Ripped Core workout video tonight. I'm kind of nervous to do it though. I think it's going to be really hard. But as Mr. Harper tweeted today, "It takes hard work to get real results." I couldn't agree more Mr. Harper!

So long for today...


Monday, April 16, 2012

Mustard-Apricot Glazed Tilapia


I'm just going to come out and just say it. I hate Mondays. They're horrible! They're even worse after a great weekend! I think the only thing keeping me going right now is knowing that I get a week off week after next. Thank goodness for vacations!

So today is another make-up Monday. I ate way too much yesterday and Saturday and it definitely showed up on the scale. I'm not sure I can get rid off all the splurges by tomorrow, but I'm definitely going to try! For dinner tonight, I tried a new recipe. I'm not a very big fan of fish. I really wish I was. I know that it has a ton of health benefits. But I just can't stand the taste! Tilapia is the only fish that I've found that I can tolerate. I usually cover up the taste of the fish, but hey, you gotta do whatever works, right? Tonight I made Mustard-Apricot Glazed Tilapia. I really liked it, too. What's even better, is that it was so simple! Here's the recipe:

MUSTARD-APRICOT GLAZED TILAPIA
Source: Kraft
Servings: 4
Points+: 3


4 4-oz. tilapia filets
2 T. apricot preserves
1 T. Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place fish in single layer in shallow pan sprayed with cooking spray. Mix preserves and mustard; spread over fish. Bake 10 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork.

EXERCISE
Today at work, I got in a short walk this morning. It came just when I needed it! It's amazing how just getting a little bit of fresh air can really help you to clear your head! This evening, I did workout 2 of JM Kickbox Fastfix. This is a good workout that really gets my heart rate up! I didn't want to change anything up and then have lactic acid build up in my muscles for WI tomorrow morning. Hope it works!

So long for today...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Snickerdoodle Snack Mix


Ah, such a great Sunday! After church, we came home and pretty much relaxed this afternoon. We're starting to get things organized for the cruise. It's now in less than 2 weeks! I'm getting so excited, even though it still seems too far away. Next Sunday, I think I'll allow myself to get extremely excited since it will be at the end of that week. But until then, trying to remain calm!!!! Can you tell?

We went to our neighbors house tonight for dinner. We were celebrating the 13th birthday of one of the daughters. By the time this goes out, she will officially be a teenager! Thank goodness that we have another 10 years before we have to worry about that with Addison! As a snack today, I made this Snickerdoodle Snack Mix. It was so good! I couldn't stop eating it. Addison enjoyed it, too. Her favorite part was the Cinnamon Chex pieces, and mine, too! Here's the recipe:

SNICKERDOODLE SNACK MIX
adapted from Chex Mix
Servings: 8
Points+: 5


2 c. cinnamon Chex cereal
2 c. Cocoa Puffs cereal
5 c. 94% FF kettle corn popcorn
1 c. godfish grahams, any flavor (I used chocolate chip)
1/4 c. light butter
1/4 c. Splenda
1 T. ground cinnamon

In small bowl, combine Splenda and cinnamon. Mix well. In large, microwave-safe bowl, combine cereals, popcorn and goldfish grahams. In small microwave safe bowl, melt butter in microwave. Pour over cereals and mix until cereal mixture is well coated. Microwave for additional 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Sprinkle half of cinnamon sugar mix over cereal and stir well. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over cereal and stir again. Microwave for additional 1 minute. Spread on waxed paper and allow to cool. Store in airtight container.


EXERCISE
Today was my typical Sunday as far as exercise goes. I ran 3 miles and felt pretty good after my run. This evening, I did level 2 of JM Yoga Meltdown. I remembered to wear my heart rate monitor for the workout tonight. I was a little disappointed to see that it only measured me buring 117 calories. I had thought that I burned more calories during the Yoga Meltdown workout, but I guess not. I just need to appreciate the stretch and flexibility that I gain from doing a yoga workout...right?

So long for today....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pasta Fajioli


Two posts in one day! How about that? Are you keeping up with me on twitter (@southliveyankee) and Facebook? I'm trying my best to be more active on those two outlets to keep you better informed of what I'm doing day to day. If you haven't already found me on one of those, what are you waiting for?

We love Olive Garden. Since TC is a "meatatarian" he doesn't get the salad with his dinner. Instead, he choses the pasta fajioli soup. Sometimes, he can't remember the name of it, but he knows what he wants. This is a recipe that I've had for a while now. I actually have a couple of different recipes for this delicious soup and decided to go with this one. The origial called for beef, but I had some ground turkey in the fridge and decided to give it a try. TC and Addison both loved it! Here's the recipe:

PASTA FAJIOLI
adapted from Wholesome Mommy
Servings: 10
Points+: 9


1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 small onion chopped
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 large)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups Ditalini pasta, cooked
2 cans (14.5) organic beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes, unstrained
28 oz. of light spaghetti sauce
1 (16 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained well
1 can navy beans or cannellini beans, drained well
1 tsp garlic powder

Saute ground turkey, onions, carrots and celery in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat until browned and veggies are soft.

Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on the package, in a separate pot. Cook the pasta until just underdone, so that it won’t get mushy when you add it to the soup.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the pasta. Serve! I also sprinkled some reduced fat parmesan cheese over the top just before it was served.


EXERCISE
I know that I'm supposed to take days of rest. But sometimes, that's hard for me when I'm doing everything that I can to reach my goal. Tonight, the three of us went for a bike ride. I wore my heart rate monitor and clocked us to make sure I knew how many activity points I could count this ride as, and that is going to be all I do for today. So, in my mind I'm "resting" today. That works, right?

So long for today...

Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts


Hey ya'll! (Do I sound southern?!) It's such a beautiful day here today. I woke up and decided to make doughnuts for breakfast. These are so good! Although, Addison informed me that she doesn't like doughnuts. But TC and I definitely enjoyed these this morning. I love how festive the look, too! I really hope you enjoy them as much as we did! Here's the recipe:

CHOCOLATE FROSTED DOUGHNUTS
adapted from Emily Bites
Servings: 6
Points+: 4


Doughnut Ingredients:
1/4 c. white flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. granulated sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1/4 c. egg substitute or 1 egg
1/4 c. skim milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. canola oil
2 T. unsweetened applesauce

Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 c. chocolate chips
1/2 t. canola oil
1 1/2 t. agave nectar or corn syrup
1/8 t. vanilla extract
1 T. sprinkles


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a doughnut pan with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt until mixed well. Add the egg substitute, milk, vanilla, oil and applesauce and stir until mixed well.

Spoon mixture (or pipe) evenly amoung the molds of the doughnut pan. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in comes out clean. Cool completely.


In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, oil and agave nectar or corn syrup. Microwave in 20 second intervals until chocolate is just melted. Make sure you don't overcook or you'll have to start over! Add the vanilla and stir until smooth. Quickly dip the top side of each doughnut into the melted chocolate and use a spoon to spread if necessary. You have to do this before the chocolate starts to set. Before the chocolate sets on the doughnuts, top each one with a half teaspoon of sprinkles.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Faux Twice Baked Potatoes


Today was a busy, busy day. We headed out early so we could hit a couple of stores for returns/exchanges before my hair appt at 10:00. After getting beautified by Jimmy, I went to Target looking for more of Bob Harper's workout videos, but was disappointed when they didn't have any. So I ordered two more from Amazon. They should be here early next week. Can't wait to try them out. Even thought their a little bit longer, I don't mind. I love his style of training. He really motivates you, but in a much calmer way than Jillian. Not that there is anything wrong with Jillian's style! I still love her workouts, too! :)

On another note, I finally got the scale out of hiding today. I know I have a few more days until my official weigh-in, but I liked what I saw on the scale today. Hope I can make it stick around!

Dinner tonight was two new recipes. I made Island Grilled Chicken, which was good, but I didn't like it better than the Honey Lime Grilled Chicken that I make. I also made Faux Twice Baked Potatoes. The way I made them was ok, but they needed a little bit more flavor. Next time I make them, I'm going to add some bacon and cheese. I'm not sure why I didn't add it tonight, but I'll definitely remember for next time. I also tried making these in mini muffin tins, but it didn't turn out very well. I probably just needed to bake them a little longer to get the bottoms a little more crisp. Here's the recipe:

FAUX TWICE BAKED POTATOES
adapted from Ditch the Wheat
Servings: 6
Points+: 1


1 head cauliflower, steamed
1/4 c. FF half and half
1/4 c. FF greek yogurt
1 T. garlic salt
1 T. chives, dried
Parkay Spray Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. I added enough spray butter just to add a little flavor. It's really your preference.

You can either pipe this in mounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, or spoon it onto the paper, whatever you prefer.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Enjoy!


EXERCISE
This morning, I was a little disappointed that I woke up with no soreness from doing Bob's yoga video last night. As the day went on, I wasn't necessarily "sore", but I can definitely feel it in my muscles. It's obvious they had a new workout. So I'm pretty happy with that. I try to alternate my strength training with my cardio workouts. Since I got the strength training from the yoga last night, I decided to stick with a 3 mile run today. I finally found the time and motivation to do this around 7:00 tonight. It took a lot to get me out the door, especially when I discovered my iPod was dead. But after a really quick charge, I hit the road. I can honestly say, I NEVER regret doing a workout.

So long for today...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chili Cheese Mac


Today was such a great day! I'm trying to figure out a way that I can reach more people to talk to them about health and nutrition. There are so many different possibilities, I want to make sure that I choose the right one. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to end up doing, but I made a couple of contacts today and I'm really hoping that one of them pans out. I can't wait until I get to tell you that something has actually come to fruition.

Dinner tonight was a new recipe. A friend of mine on the WW message board posted about this recipe and it sounded really good. So I knew I had to try it. It really reminds me of a sausage dip that we make, except this one uses ground beef instead. TC liked it. I think his exact quote was, "This is REALLY good!" He volunteered that without me having to ask him, and that's really saying something! Here's the recipe:

CHILI CHEESE MAC
adapted from Cooking Light
Servings: 6
Points+: 9


1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. chili powder
2 c. FF, lower sodium beef broth
1 c. water
1 (10-oz) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
8 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 c. skim milk
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
4 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil cooking spray. Add beef and next 3 ingredients; cook until beef is cooked through. Add broth, water and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni; cover and cook 10 minutes or until macaroni is done.

Heat milk and cream cheese in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese. Add cheese sauce to macaroni mixture; toss well to coat.


EXERCISE
I finally got to do Bob Harper's yoga video tonight. Even though it was an hour long, it really didn't seem like it. I love that there is a countdown on the screen the whole time. I really like this video and I can't wait to see how I feel tomorrow! Hoping to be a little sore, but still be able to walk! Going to see Jimmy tomorrow to do something about these dark roots of mine!

So long for today...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chicken Parmesan Pizza

Today was such a fantastic day! I got to meet Hannah Curlee from season 11 of the Biggest Loser. She is so inspirational. I had the opportunity to talk with her one on one for about 30 minutes. She is so down to earth and easy to talk to. I feel like we could be such good friends. She is so sweet and funny, too. I will do another post on my visit with her and share some of the information she gave us.

For dinner tonight, I tried a new recipe. I found it somewhere on Pinterest and it looked so good. Now, I made my own whole wheat pizza dough which worked really well with this pizza. It's a little more work, but so worth it having the knowledge of everything that's in the dough. You could do so many different variations on this, too adding more ingredients, vegetables, whatever you like. Here's the recipe:


CHICKEN PARMESAN PIZZA
adapted from Pennies on a Platter
Servings: 4
Points+: 9

1 pizza crust dough (homemade or store-bought)
cornmeal, for sprnkling
olive oil
garlic salt (optional)
2/3 c. marinara sauce
1 c. chopped cooked chicken
4 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


Preheat the oven to between 400 to 500 degrees F, depending on the pizza crust recipe you're using.

Place the pizza crust on a baking stone. If using fresh dough, I recommend par-baking the crust for about 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Brush the middle and edges with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt (optional). Spread a layer of marinara on top, then sprinkle with the chicken and mozzarella. Carefully transfer the pizza to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Sprinkle with parsley or oregano for garnish.


EXERCISE
The two videos that I ordered on Monday came today. I'm really looking forward to trying Bob Harper's yoga video. I think I might give it a try tomorrow evening. Tonight, I got a 3 mile run in. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get my run in on Sunday, so I was happy to get one in today. I'm going to make it my goal to run 3 days a week. I know this will be easier on the weeks that I am off on Fridays, but I'm hoping to do it every week. Wish me luck!

So long for today...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pizza Pasta Casserole


I have a confession to make. Today was the first day that I have been on plan in almost a week. I still tracked almost everything that I've eaten, but my weekly points were gone a long time ago. I don't know why I've been eating the way I have been. I didn't just fall off the wagon, I jumped! But I feel better today. I feel a little more in control. Maybe I've clawed my way back up onto the wagon. I didn't weigh-in today because I knew I wouldn't be happy with the scale. I actually hid the scale Sunday evening. I didn't want to have it in a convenient location where I could easily weigh myself. I'm hoping that I can stay on plan from here on out. I really want to make my goal before we leave for the cruise and it's very quickly approaching!

Dinner tonight was another new recipe. I found it on Pinterest. Pinterest is the best thing ever! I love how it helps me to organize all of my different wish lists. You'd be surprised by what you can find on there! If you haven't visted Pinterest yet, what are you waiting for?! This casserole was so good! Meaty, pasta, cheesy goodness topped with some turkey pepperoni! What's not to like? Here's the recipe:

PIZZA PASTA CASSEROLE
Servings: 8
Points+: 12


1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 t. italian seasoning
16 oz. rotini pasta
3 14-oz. jars pizza sauce
8 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
22 pieces turkey pepperoni

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, garlic and italian seasoning and cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in pizza sauce. Once pasta has cooked, add to skillet and stir until mixed well. Pour mixture into a 2 1/2 qt. baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Stir in half of cheese. Sprinkle remaing cheese on top and place pepperoni on top of cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


EXERCISE
It was a beautiful day here today. Not too hot and not too cold. I decided since it's supposed to cool off a little bit tomorrow, I would emjoy the day and take a walk. I got to walk the Zen trail at the office this morning. I hadn't done it for a while and it felt really good. This evening, I did JM 6 Week 6 Pack - Level 2. This is still a hard video for me to do. She can be pretty harsh sometimes! But let me tell you, after it's over, I never regret doing it.

I'm so excited to meet Hannah Curlee tomorrow from Season 11 of the Biggest Loser! I will post pics on FB and let you know what I learn.

So long for today...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries


I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Easter. I certainly did! It was a beautiful day here and I got to spend the whole day with many family members. I really do feel very blessed after a day like today. We had our traditional Easter dinner of baked ham, sweet potatoes and hash brown casserole. For dessert, we had pumpkin roll. Everything was so delicious! I decided to make some cheesecake stuffed strawberries for everyone to eat. I made the for the Super Bowl and everyone said how good they were, so I decided to try them again. They are so good and really not that hard to make. The most time consuming part is coring the strawberries. Sorry the pictures aren't the best. I didn't have the Rebel with me today. Here's the recipe:

CHEESECAKE STUFFED STRAWBERRIES
Servings: 6
Points+: 5


1 lb strawberries, cored
1 8-oz. pkg. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 8-oz. container Cool Whip Free, thawed
1/2 c. Splenda
1 t. vanilla
2 sheets low fat graham crackers, crushed

Remove some of the filling of strawberries to create a good sized space to fill.

Combine remaing ingredients, except graham cracker crumbs, and beat with mixer until smooth. Pipe filling into strawberries. Chill about an hour to allow filling to set up. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over top of filled strawberries.


EXERCISE
Well, I set out for a run this afternoon, but shortly into it, turned around to go back. I just wasn't feeling it today. I kept thinking about everything that I needed to be working on and my heart just wasn't in it. So I went back and made the strawberries. I did to my yoga tonight. I did JM Yoga Meltdown - Level 1. You all know how I love my yoga on Sunday evenings! I'm planning to order Bob Harper's yoga workout tomorrow and hope to try it out later this week. I will let you know what I think of it.

So long for today...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Vanilla Pudding Cookies & Cream Cookies


Wow. The weather did a complete turn around from yesterday. It didn't make it much past 60 today. I had no desire to try to plant something today. Maybe tomorrow, who knows. We did get some shopping done and I think we finally have everything that we'll need for the cruise. Eventually, you have to get to the point, that if you don't have it packed and with you on the trip, you'll buy it after you leave. I think we're pretty much there. Well, except for being packed. I don't like to do that too soon because then I end up running out of clothes to wear that aren't already packed!

I made the lighter fettuccine alfredo for dinner tonight. I didn't care much for it. So I had to come up with something else to share with you on the blog. I got these in an e-mail from one of the blogs that I follow and thought they sounded pretty good. I made a couple of tweeks to the recipe. Oh my, are they good! They have so many different flavors and textures going on at once. I think I will be fighting with myself not to eat them until they're gone! Here's the recipe:

VANILLA PUDDING COOKIES AND CREAM COOKIES
adapted from Plain Chicken
Servings: 55
Points+: 3


2 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 pkg. instant sugar free vanilla pudding mix
1 pkg. 100 calorie Oreo thin crisps
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
1 c. quick cooking oatmeal
5.55 oz. Hershey's Cookies & Cream candy bars

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer, scraping sides of bowl often. Mix in the pudding & Oreo thin crisps. Add the vanilla and eggs; beat until eggs are mixed in.

Add the flour mixture to the batter and stir until it is almost fully mixed in. Add oatmeal and continue stirring until flour disappears. Stir in candy bar.

Drop batter by tablespoons, spacing about 2 ½ inches apart, onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.


EXERCISE
It was chilly all day. Since I didn't dress warm enough when we left the house this morning, I was cold most of the day. After we got home, I had no desire to go out into the cold for a run. I really think that it warmed up a bit and I finally went for a 3 mile run after dinner. It felt pretty good. I'm keeping my pace to right around 9 minutes. Today's run was a little better than that. The knee is still holding up, although, I really need to start icing it after my workouts. It's supposed to be warmer tomorrow, so maybe I'll go for another run. We'll have to wait and see!

So long for today...