Ready, Set, Tell Some Stories (Trip Days 1and2)

Tonight I made dinner. Shocking, right? Me. In a kitchen.

Anticlimactic, I know.

Anyway, back to the WW grind in real life. No more breakfasts made of crumpets and croissants with nutella. I made skinny burritos tonight, from a recipe I borrowed (and changed) from SkinnyMom. These were YUMMY! Very flavorful and super filling, with that naughty creaminess that is a no-no on most people’s WW tracker.

Skinny Turkey and Black Bean Burritos

Ingredients:

1lb ground turkey
~1c. coarsely chopped onion
1 pkt taco seasoning
1/2 c taco sauce
3/4 c salsa of choice
1 c rinsed black beans
1 can fat-free cream of chicken soup
3/4 c fat-free sour cream
4 oz Monterey jack shredded cheese
8 whole wheat tortillas

  • Brown turkey with onions and taco seasoning
  • combine soup, sour cream, taco sauce in bowl
  • use enough of soup mixture to coat bottom of 9×13 pan thoroughly
  • remove turkey/onion mixture from heat and add black beans and salsa
  • add apx 5 TBSP of meat mixture to each of the 8 tortillas
  • roll tightly and place in pan flap down
  • cover with remaining soup mixture
  • top with shredded cheese
  • bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes

These are super delicious. They taste like something I shouldn’t have eaten, but for only 8pp! Well worth the points spent. I’ll be taking leftovers to work tomorrow to share with my WW at work homies.

Tight roll these suckas like they're your jeans in '89.

Tight roll these suckas like they’re your jeans in ’89.

See? Don't these look like you should feel guilty?!?

See? Don’t these look like you should feel guilty?!?

Okay, so I promised some story telling, right?

I made a bit of an outline for my trip: partly so I don’t retell the same story over and over and partly so that I don’t miss the important things. I want to start from the beginning:

Three flights straight from hell.

My flight plans looked like this: Cincinnati (CVG)->Chicago (ORD)-> Dublin (DUB)-> London(LHR). The problems started in Cincy. Which was by far the nicest of all of the above mentioned airports. Great wi-fi, for free. Charging ports, usb and outlets for every seat. GOOD food. The problem that started the trip was a delay. No big deal really, but it was just frustrating. They didn’t communicate with us at all so we had NO IDEA what was going on. Got to ORD. My super long layover was cut shorter, since I spent that time in CVG. Bonus.

I got to listen to some American, Elvis-impersonating, cowboy douche bag rant about American politics; including immigration, gun control and welfare. It was not enough that Cleetus would NOT hush, he was being so loud and directing his rant to these 4 Irish young adults who could not have possibly cared less. This guy was seriously so ridiculously ignorant, flinging pejorative terms and ignorance like a monkey flings poop. This is America, so yes, please have your opinions, however, spewing them coarsely and at the top of your lungs in a crowded airport terminal is not appropriate.

Anyway, then we boarded our flight to Dublin. Where the toddler in front of me screamed. The entire flight. I felt so bad for his parents, they were trying everything. And God bless the AerLingus staff. They gave this poor kid everything they had. I can’t even say I was mad, just desperate for some sleep.

Flight from DUB to LHR was quick, but the 8-year-old who kicked my seat like a walking stereotype almost didn’t live to see his 9th birthday.

When I escaped the plane, and was free in Heathrow, I realized that Steph and I never really coordinated where we were going to meet. So I went outside the car pick up, Steph went inside to the terminal. And we waited. For about 25 minutes. At which point I thought it would be logical to go check inside one more time before staging a mental break down over being overseas with no means of communicating with her. And we found each other!

Off to the house after I got a good snuggle in with Nannerbelle while we were looking for the place to pay parking. Switched from my big suitcase to my backpack. And then loaded up the car to drive to Belton to James’ parents’ home.

This is the only really gripey post I will make. Promise. After Steph and I found each other, the entire 21 days were perfection! So stick with me! That was just day 1.

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G is for Good Golly this is Good Goulash

I made some yummy things this week. I want to share with you, tonight’s dinner.

While in Budapest, I bought a few different types of Hungarian paprika. Paprika is, more or less, a staple of Hungarian cuisine. The word is actually Hungarian (go figure) for pepper. Goulash is a specialty of the country that is widely popular in Albania, Austria, Germany, Italy, Kosovo and a bulk of the Slavic region. It is a stew made of beef, seasoned primarily with paprika, served on or with dumplings (bread or potato), rice, noodles or potatoes.

I found a traditional recipe, that I had to use Google Translate to convert from Hungarian. Here is the short version of it:

Veggie oil
onions
salt
pepper
paprika
stew beef
garlic
tomato paste or sauce

I added:
carrots
broccoli stem
celery
and mashed cauliflower

Browned the onions in the oil:

sizzzzzzzle!

sizzzzzzzle!

Remove onions from Dutch oven, leaving  remaining oil. Cube Beef, roll in spice mixture and brown in onion oil in the Dutch oven:

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I don’t love handling large pieces of raw meat. Don’t know why. Don’t care.

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Oooooo and we have the beginnings of a lovely sauce.

Add in chopped veggies, water and tomato sauce. I listed broccoli stem. Allow me to explain: If you take the broccoli stem and peel it THOROUGHLY, chop it and cook it, it is textured like potatoes, without the high carb content.

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Bit too soupy to be a stew. Good thing it still has about an hour and a half of simmering left to do.

Allow to cook until meat is tender (and also the veggies we snuck in). Prepare mashed potatoes. (I’m using mashed cauli)

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Quite simple to make: Chop cauliflower, boil it until softish, mash it. I added a touch of butter, salt, chives and garlic.

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Serve together, garnished with sour cream (not pictured).

I’m quite pleased with my dinner. I wish I had another person’s opinion to give you, but I’m dining solo this evening. I don’t like to be alone, to be honest, but I’m going to do my best to enjoy having the house to myself.

Tomorrow, I get to participate in fitness screenings for the FABULOUS athletes preparing to compete in the Special Olympics. I hope to have some photos to share with you after, but that all depends and how the day goes. I hope you are all enjoying your Friday night!

Sweet and Savory: Veggies and Lentils Where You Wouldn’t Expect Them

Ladies and Gents,

I’m down another pound and a half this week! My total loss thus far is just shy of 7 1/2 lbs.

I am really quite pleased with the way these last several weeks have been going. My eating habits have been crazily better than the last time I did Weight Watchers. I’ve not been eating a bunch of those horrible freezer meals, full of preservatives,  meat byproduct and veg-scraps. I’ve been dabbling in vegetarian, gluten-free and just strange in general.

I feel good. I’ve been eating nearly all fresh cooked meals, with the exception of the occasional veggie burger. I have some yummo recipes for you this week:

First, from Kalyn’s Kitchen is this Twice Baked Cauliflower mess: just made of absolute tastiness. I did not put in the Parmesan  primarily because I have discovered that I don’t particularly care for it. Since I’ve never used cauliflower as a potato substitute before, I was unsure of how much stem to leave/remove. If anyone out there has some insight on that, feel free to share. (2 Points Plus per serving)

Second, I made these Black Bean Brownies from the Weight Watchers website. Unfortunately, I am an unobservant chef, so I added twice as much of an ingredient than what was called for, so I had to double the recipe. Instead of using 8 total eggs to make a freaking pan of brownies, I substituted a pureed banana and 2/3 cup of unsweetened, organic applesauce for the 4 extra eggs called for by doubling the recipe. It turned out more like a cake than brownies, but hey, I’ll throw some coconut pecan icing on it and call it German Chocolate. By the way, if you’re wondering, it is FABULOUS. (4 Points Plus per serving)

The sweetness is unique. When you first have a bite, you wonder if you forgot the sugar…ahhhh but then, as you proceed to chewing… its like a surprise sweet… and delicate instead of overpowering. I love it. mmm!

Baked Parmesan Quinoa

Tonight, I made some new treats. I  have been having a big issue with blood sugar dropping and absolutely ravenous hunger, everyday, between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. I keep fruit at work for a snack and I’ve tried almonds recently, but I don’t feel like the problem is being dealt with. The only reason being so hungry at this time is such an issue is that it makes it really difficult to make the best decision for dinner.

I want something that is heavy enough to sit in my stomach until my usual dinner time of 6 or 7 pm. This is what I’m giving a try this week, a recipe shamelessly pilfered from Make It and Love It:

  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 3 stalks of green onion, sliced thin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top
  • 3 Tbsp rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients, and maybe it will look as pretty as it did on MakeIt/LoveIt, which is where I borrowed this picture:

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Press into a well-greased cupcake pan. I used a standard cupcake pan and a mini muffin pan, but I put a tablespoon into each well. Same amount for both pans. Bake at 350F* for 25-35 minutes.

Now, I like almost everything I eat to be a little more well done.. I like the crunchy chewiness that happens when stuff is a little more thoroughly cooked, so you can see that the full size bites are a bit more rare while the minis are a tad on the well side:

Quinoa

These are super yummy. If I could change anything, I would add only one clove of garlic instead of two. These are PACKED full of protein and flavor, and as a bonus, they are gluten-free! Weight Watchers followers…. these are only 1 pp a piece! Great snack!!

Good Results from a Bad Week

May I preface this post by justifying my bad week?

My family is out-of-town, we live in a house that is WAYYYY too big for one person. Especially if that person is hyper aware of every sound, shadow and squeak of the floor. I hate being in a house alone. I slept with a slew of deadly weapons within reach of whatever appendage my feared intruder was unable to wrangle. I also ate a little of my anxiety, not all, but some. That some included an entire double-decker box of Whitman’s assorted chocolates, Mexican food (spread out as a side dish in 5 meals, three handfuls of Cheetos, and peanuts (before i inspected the nutritional info…yikes).

Not all of that was one day, mind you. Still though, by my standards, that’s a pretty sloppy week. I had some redeeming moments, too.

At my weigh-in, I was still down a pound. Yay!

So speaking of my redeeming moments:

I love soup. Veggie. Tortilla. Italian. Pho. Chicken noodle. Chili. I just love it! When I was overseas a couple of years ago England introduced me to blended soups:

Simple, Make soup. Grind soup to smooth. Eat delish soup.

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What I love about it is that you get all of the yummy nutrition and I don’t have the urge to pick around any of the veggies that I don’t find as palatable. So I made this awesomely unattractive, but still super tasty, 10 vegetable blended soup. In it I put these 10 veggies:

Green Peas
Celery
Spinach
Green Beans
Lima Beans
Broccoli
Carrots
Tomatoes
Onions
Red Potatoes

I had that as a side with lunch and dinner for every single meal since Monday. I feel less bad about my bad decisions now.

2 Week Update!

Okay. So I know I missed my update last week, but in my defense: I have been in detox from a 300-450mg/day caffeine habit. Tough right? Nausea, migraines, a gnarly case of the tremors and, of course, fatigue that could take down a herd of elephants. I swear, I think coming off of a heroine habit might be a walk in the park.

After my second weigh-in I’m just a little more than 5 lbs down from my start weight. Now, I honestly expect things to be a little better next week, because I had some really intense cravings and emotional lability this week… that I’m choosing to attribute it to the caffeine deprivation instead of my inner fat girl having a nervous breakdown.

I have been enjoying a nice 8pp taco salad that I made in bulk”

2 6 oz grilled chicken breasts
1 can of white/yellow mixed corn
1 can of green chilies
1 medium onion, chopped relatively finely
1 can of El Pato hot Mexican style tomato sauce (my favorite ingredient)

All sautéed together in my cast iron skillet until nice and reduced.

I added that onto a big ole bowl of crisp romaine and baby spinach, chopped red bell pepper, guacamole and reduced fat sour cream.

YUM. I also made up some delicious artichoke tarts 1pp a piece:

16 Wonton wrappers (don’t try to find them at Wal-Mart, it’s not going to happen. Just go to Kroger. Organic section)
4 T fat-free cream cheese
1/4 c fat-free shredded cheddar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 T Dijon mustard
2 T chopped red bell pepper (I used 3/4 c, I really like red pepper)
7 oz chopped artichoke hearts
1/2 chopped scallions (also not in the real recipe)

combine all ingredients except the wonton wrappers, of course.
press your wrappers into a mini muffin pan and place a rounded tsp of the mixture into each of the 16 wrappers
place in your oven, preheated to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.

These are a nice warm spicy, but they shouldn’t give you any intestinal issues.bulk cooking

In the back ground is my taco salad chicken mixture divided into 4 oz portions and int he foreground are the tarts… I made a batch and a half. Those are my tasty treats for the week. I’m going to take Howard to the dog park to make some friends. Have a good one!

Mushy Bananas and a Bowling Ball Lamp

I hate mushy bananas.
This is my reasoning for buying the greenest bunch of bananas available. I will not eat mushy bananas. Also, I’m not capable of typing the word bananas without hearing Gwen Stefani in my brain.

I’ve been a busy bee again. I have a lot to report to you tonight. A new lamp, a new room divider, and new foodies.

I let three perfectly green, gigantic nanners get all splotchy and gross, so I’m smelling their delicious corpses baking in my oven to make some yummy banana nut muffins.

Amber Wright posts too many blog entries. I say this, not because I’m being rude, but because it took me a full 2 years to flip back through them to find the banana nut muffin recipe that I fell in love with. I actually started looking for it while my bananas were still green. You won’t get me again, Amber. I copied and pasted the recipe, and I was even brazen enough to steal your picture too. I printed it out and put it in my recipe binder. bwuahahaha!

Okay, now let me climb off the banana horse and tell you what else I’ve been doing:

I have been looking for a lamp for months. I had no idea what I wanted… My bedroom furniture is dark wood, my comforter is white with brown and this nice oranger-than-rust orange. I have two flower arrangements that I made, both have hints of a tamed tealish color. So I bought this ugly, bowling ball-esque lamp at Goodwill for…. wait for it…… $4. Suck on that, retail world and all of your crazy expensive lamps!

It was this really pukish shade of some irrelevant color, so I taped it off and gave it a coat of a pretty, aqua-teal:

Okay, so not teal… but it is a more teal-ish blue than it looks…

After it had plenty of time to dry, I taped off sections…

They’re not evenly spaced, if you were wondering.

And then I used this handy-dandy stuff to add some pizazz to my creation:

Frosting, not the tasty kind, the kind that you use on windows that people shouldn’t be able to see through.

I topped it off with an $8 shade that I got a Walmart…

Eat it up. I LOVE this lamp.

I also had another project. I was given a 6′ tall, tri-fold, nine window picture frame by my sister about 3.5 years ago. I hate mushy bananas, but I also hate irregularly sized picture holes. I am comfortable with my 3×5, 4×6, 8×10 lifestyle. I have been avoiding these stupidly sized frames for years! So, I decided not to use them. I covered the 8 outer panes with fabric that coordinated with my room colors of orangey-rust and tamed-blueish-teal.

see all of those stupid holes?!

I kept one set of picture frames, because they were right. It will be a few days before I decide what pictures to put in there though.  After my evening of labor this is how things ended up:

Ta-da!

Once more!

Also, since I’ve been trying to eat better I sliced a sweet potato and doused it in cinnamon and nutmeg, no butter or sugar though. I don’t particularly care for sweet potatoes. I’m trying to learn. They are full of vitamins B6, C and D and also Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Beta Carotene. Ugh. Why can’t these be as good as they smell?! Ah,well, being an adult means doing the right thing even if the Lay’s in the cabinet are calling your name, right?