Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Very Hectic Week *Could* Hinder Weight Loss...

So... for those of you who know me, and talk to me often, you know I've had a hectic week! It all started a little over a week and a half ago with some "out of character" experiences... I won't go into those much as that was just the tip of the iceberg...

Last Friday night (2/20) we had some friends come in town with their doggy and 7.5 yr old daughter. They are friends of my husband's from growing up, and we were glad to have them... We decided on Saturday morning to go to the dog park where my dog got bit by a pit bull. That is the short part of the story - it's not worth going into too much more detail... the owner's wouldn't admit who they were or help get the dog off our dog which was really stressful - I was hyperventilating, and our friends daughter was totally distraught. We took our pup to the vet and they had to repair his back leg muscle... he's been living with a cone on his head and a 4 inch stitched up area with antibiotics, pain meds, and now an anti-inflamatory because the stitches got infected mid week... so needless to say, ice cream was my friend and exercise was not...

Somehow I still managed to lose 1.8 lbs this week so I'll take it and say I'm very thankful. I wasn't expecting that...

But more importantly, I need to figure out how not to rely on food when I'm totally wacked out and stressed.

Here's a pic of my baby - it's not the close up, because that wouldn't be friendly for a "food" blog... but some of you may want to see.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tortilla Pie *Untested*

by RecipeTips

Servings: 6

*4 -10 inch flour tortillas* use wpa for selection
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion - chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic minced
1 package (10 oz.) frozen corn kernels
1 (10 oz.) can of tomatoes with green chiles - drained -
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) - drained 3 cups loosely packed spinach - torn into pieces
2 cups non-fat monterey jack, cheddar or soy cheese - shredded
fresh cilantro for garnish
non-fat sour cream
favorite salsa

Preheat oven to 400°.
Lightly spray or grease the bottom and sides of a springform pan.
In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, cumin and red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper.
Cook until onion has softened - 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste.
Add hamburger and garlic, crumble hamburger as it cooks until no longer pink.
Add corn, spinach, diced tomatoes and garbonzo beans (chickpeas).
Stir and cook until spinach has wilted, approximately 2 minutes.
Place 1 tortilla in the bottom of the pan.
Spread approximately 1 1/2 cup of the beef mixture evenly on top.
Then sprinkle on 1/2 cup cheese.
Repeat with 2 more layers and top with the last tortilla.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
Bake pie until slightly browned, 15-20 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the sides.
Allow to cool slightly.
Using 2 wide spatulas, lift pie from the bottom of the pan and transfer it to a serving platter or cutting board.
Cut into wedges.
Serve with cilantro, sour cream and salsa if desired.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chiliaquiles Casserole *Untested*

Chilaquiles Casserole
From EatingWell Magazine
Makes 10 servings

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 19-ounce can or cooked black beans, rinsed
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups corn, frozen (thawed) or fresh
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
*8 corn tortillas, quartered -use wpa
19 oz-mild red or green salsa
1 1/4 cups shredded non-fat Cheddar or soy cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.

Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.

Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.

Friday, February 20, 2009

South of the Border Egg Casserole

This is another really yummy breakfast recipe. While I am not making this recipe this weekend, it's one of my favorites. My husband makes it without the flour, and butter, and adds lean ham cubes.

It is seriously awesome...


1 dozen eggs
½ cup flour (Richie leaves this out)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ cup butter or margarine (Richie leaves this out
3 cups shredded Jack cheese (Could use reduced fat or fat free if you wanted to)
1 24-oz carton cottage cheese (fat free is recommended)
1 4-oz. can chopped green chilies, drained
Picante sauce or salsa (optional)

Beat eggs. Stir in flour, baking powder and butter. Add cheese and remaining ingredients. Stir well. Pour into greased 13x9x2 baking dish. Bake uncovered at 400 for 15 minutes. Reduce to 350 and bake for 30 minutes more or until bubble and golden brown. You can prepare the night before and allow 10 extra minutes baking time.

Sticky Pudding Buns

So... my mom made this recipe a lot when I was growing up... mostly on holidays for breakfast (Thanksgiving and Christmas come to mind).

It is a very easy recipe and super yummy. We have company this weekend, and while I probably won't eat it(that would undo my 2 cycling classes this week), this is a great and easy recipe that people truly enjoy!!!!!


1 package frozen yeast rolls (18)
½ cup chopped pecans
1 box Butterscotch Pudding (not instant... full fat - full sugar...)
1 stick butter
½ cup brown sugar

Place chopped pecans in bottom of bundt pan. Arrange rolls on top of pecans. Sprinkle rolls with butterscotch pudding. Melt butter and combine with brown sugar. Pour over top of rolls. Let sit overnight covered with wax paper.

Bake in the morning at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Hint: It is best to prepare this in the evening so it doesn’t rise too long. In a warm climate, it may be best to refrigerate over night so that it doesn’t rise too much.
Pic from the night before

Pics from the morning of before you bake them... (be sure to punch down)

Pic of the finished product (I used walnuts instead of pecans because I didn't have pecans)

I'm Breaking Up With Food...

A friend of mine who is on a similar journey to lose weight as I am pointed out today that she is having to "Break Up With Food"...

Basically the thinking is that rather than thinking of food as something that nourishes our body, it is something that we eat to enjoy.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying your food - nothing at all... the problem becomes when we think it should always taste like a 5 course meal on a cruise ship - not the case!

So, I wanted to encourage you (and myself) to think about how you think about "food"...

I'm gonna put this out there...

Food is a 4-letter word...

Not every food is a 4-letter word - obviously vegetable (9 letters), fruit (5 letters), steak (5 letters), chocolate(9 letters)... you get my drift... but food, just as food - is a 4-letter word :-)

Bean Burrito Casserole *Untested*

Haven't tried this yet, but it sounds good... I will give a try at some point for sure.. also sounds pretty cheap for 8 servings. It was given to me by MichelleJag on the WW boards...

Bean Burrito Casserole

Servings | 8

1 pound meatless soy crumbles or lean ground beef (I will use the beef)
1/8 cup reduced-sodium taco seasoning (1/2 packet) (indulgence, but not enough for 8 servings to do much damage)
3/4 cup water
15 oz canned yellow corn, drained (I'm sure you could use fresh or frozen)
14 oz canned diced tomatoes with green chilies (mild) *rotel
15 oz fat-free canned refried beans
5 oz tomato paste
2 cup ff Shredded Cheddar Cheese
4 cup cooked brown rice
1 medium onion(s)

Dice onion and saute in large skillet with soy crumbles (or use 1 lb of lean ground meat). Add water and 1/2 packet of taco seasoning. Simmer until sauce thickens. Add canned veggies, tomato paste and beans. Spray a casserole dish with non-fat cooking spray and fill with veggie/bean/beef mixture. Top with 1 c. of shredded fat-free cheddar cheese. Cover with cooked brown rice. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake covered at 350 until heated through, 20 min. Remove cover and continue baking until cheese is melted, 5 min.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Potato and Canadian Bacon Slow Cooker Chowder *Untested*

Potato and Canadian Bacon Slow Cooker Chowder Servings: 8

2 cup potato(es), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large carrot(s), diced
1 cup leek(s), chopped, white part only
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
4 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked barley, pearl
1 piece bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 oz cooked Canadian-style bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
2 fl oz fat-free creamer, such as fat-free half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine potatoes, carrots, leek, garlic, chicken broth, barley, bay leaf, thyme, pepper and Canadian bacon. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables and barley are tender.

Stir in evaporated milk and half-and-half and heat through uncovered, about 10 minutes. Yields about 1 1/4 cups per serving.

*Courtesy of the WW boards and WW...

Chicken and Garlic Chowder *Untested*

Chicken-and-garlic chowder
5 peeled garlic cloves
1.5 c FF milk
6 c chicken stock or low-sodium broth
12 oz peeled precut butternut squash, cut into 1" cubes (I used frozen)
1/4 c sofrito (120 calories, 9 g fat, 0 g fiber)
One 3.5 lb rotisserie (cooked) chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat shredded (about 4 c)
1/4 c frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small saucepan, combine the prepeeled garlic cloves with the milk and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat until the garlic is soft and the milk has reduced to 1 cup, about 40 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree it until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, combine the chicken stock, squash and sofrito and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the squash is just tender, about 20 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and its juices, the peas and the creamy garlic puree. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer the chowder for 5 minutes longer and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The chowder can be refrigerated overnight.

NOTES Sofrito, the Spanish green-pepper-and-onion seasoning paste, is available in tubs in the freezer section of many supermarkets. Also, Goya brand makes jarred sofrito.

Serves 6

-- Food and Wine Magazine, May 2006

My Exercise Regime

Well, first let me tell you, I don't love to exercise... I'm getting closer to enjoying it, but I've never been the person that excelled at sports or stuff like that... just wasn't in me. That being said - it's a necessary evil that I must take part in in order to achieve my goals! And trust me... it's helping!

So, here's what I do... I have worked into this over the last 5 months so don't expect to jump right in if you are a couch potato. But definitely get started. (**Seek the approval of a medical professional before stating any sort of exercise regiment, and make sure you know what you are doing so that you don't hurt yourself**)

My goal is 45 mins or more 5-6 days a week. It looks something like this:
Monday - Elliptical
Tuesday - Cycling or other cardio class
Wednesday - Elliptical
Thursday - Cycling
Friday - Elliptical
Saturday - Elliptical or walk/run outside
Notes - I try to do my elliptical in the mornings before I eat, but I often don't get up in time so I'll do half in the morning and half at lunch at the gym. I have also been trying to "become a runner" using the Couch to 5K program... I slacked off when it got cold, but it's a great program.

3 Days a week after my cardio at lunch. (Even if I do all 45 mins in the morning I still do a warm-up with cardio before my strength plan)
Squats - using an abs/stability ball at my lower back - 10 to 12 - 2 sets
Crunches - using an abs/stability ball - 25 - 2 sets
Back Extensions - using an abs/stability ball - 10 to 12 - 2 sets
Rows - you could do them seated, I use resistance bands - 10 to 12 - 2 sets
Lunges - using a resistance band for stability - 10 to 12 - 2 sets
Leg Lifts - I'd love to explain them to you because they're great, but it's basically 48 leg lifts in 2 different positions on both sides - they work the butt quite well
Push ups - 10 to 12 - 2 sets
Penguin sit-ups - about 50
Assisted pullups and dips - 10 to 12 of each - 2 sets

There are some other things I throw in there occasionally, but those are the basics right now...

I must post this now as I'm headed to cycling.

Jalapeno Poppers

I can't believe I forgot to put this up here... Where's my brain... :-)

For the Super Bowl a few weeks ago, we decided to try a Hungry Girl recipe for Jalapeno Poppers...

So, here's the recipe (and the link)

Jalapeno Poppers

5 whole, fresh jalapenos

1/4 cup fat-free cream cheese

1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Fiber One cereal

1/4 cup Egg Beaters, Original

salt, pepper and/or garlic powder (Optional, to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the jalapenos in half - lenthwise, and remove the seeds, stems, and membranes (Definitely be careful, and wash your hands... don't touch your eyes either - it stings - Trust me!). Wash pieces and dry them very well; set aside.

Stir to combine cream cheese and cheese shreds. Season the cheese mixture with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Using a blender, grind Fiber One to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Season crumbs with salt, pepper, and/or garlic powder. Place crumbs in one small dish and Egg Beaters in another. Stuff each pepper half with cheese mixture. Next, carefully coat both sides of each pepper half with Egg Beaters, and then with Fiber One crumbs. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray and place peppers on baking pan. Cook for 25 minutes (for very spicy poppers) to 30 minutes (medium-hot poppers). Makes 10 poppers.

Serving Size: 5 poppers

Calories: 124

Fat: 1g

Sodium: 500mg

Carbs: 23g

Fiber: 8g

Sugars: 5g

Protein: 13g

50 Pounds... Now what?

I started my new lifestyle in late September... September 20th to be exact, and as of February 7th I was down 50 lbs. (as I write this I'm down a little bit more, but who's counting... HA!)

So, I've posted pictures on facebook... will try to put one up here... will put a before pic and current pic here as well, and a lot of people have been asking me... "50 lbs, that's a lot... now what?" Well, it's a good question, but I'm certainly not done. I've got another 25-30 lbs I would really like to get off by the time summer comes around. That may or may not be lofty, but I would like to be able to use the neighborhood pool and not feel too terribly self conscious.

Other questions are people ask are:

- What kicked me into gear? Answer:
  • Well, I was heavy... and I knew it... I wasn't happy with me or how I looked and it was affecting a lot of areas of my life. I just hadn't been able to motivate myself.
  • Then I went to the Doctor and she told me my cholesterol was high and wanted me to diet to lower my cholesterol. I didn't/don't want to be on medication so I told myself this was it.
  • I made a commitment to a small group of really great women that I would lead a healthier lifestyle... and that was the final straw
- Has your cholesterol gone down? Answer: Yes... my total cholesterol levels went down significantly within 3 months... the doctor re-tested me, my good cholesterol was still low, and my trigylcerides were still a little high... I get rechecked in March and hope that I'll be good! That would be awesome!

- How have you done it? Answer: A combination of diet and exercise. My diet is Weight Watchers... When I started the plan was called the Core plan, now it is called the simply filling plan. Basically, WW gives you a list of foods you can eat, and you can eat those to satisfaction, not roll me out of the restaurant I'm full... but you're no longer hungry. My exercise varies, but I've started a strength plan as well as doing cardio 5-6 days a week.

- Do I splurge? Answer: Of course! First, I'm a woman... Second, I'm a chocoholic... splurges are necessary. I don't want to not have things I really want because then I'll feel as though I'm dieting and want to quit.
- What do I splurge on? Answer: I have Peanut Butter with my apple almost every day! (Yes, I know there's a recall on peanut products, but so far real PB is ok - YAY!) I also have

- What types of exercises do you do? Answer: See above answer, it's strength and cardio... I'll post my plan in another post so that you can see what I'm doing.

- Has this been annoying or tiring to you? Answer: Sometimes it can be tiring, but it's certainly not annoying... in fact, it's been quite fun - yeah, I know... oxy moron right? I feel like I have control over my food and much of my life, and that is a good feeling... plus I fit into cute clothes as well as cute shoes and such... who can complain about that???

- What keeps you going? Answer:
  • Seeing results... when you drop a pound, you don't want to put it back on. At a WW meeting they showed us the whole pound of fat and five pounds of fat... it's disgusting! I don't want it back...
  • My support people... My husband is amazing... and seriously so helpful. He boils eggs for me, helps chop vegetables, entertains my ideas of new recipes, helps me find new recipes, tastes my new recipes... encourages me... he's been amazing! I also have great friends who encourage me and keep me smiling through it all :-) So, thanks!
Well, that's me in a nutshell... now, here are some of the pictures I was talking about...


There are two... one that actually is a good shot of me in my adjusted bod... one from this past weekend with a cute jacket I haven't worn in years :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crab Corn Chowdah *Untested*

Meg’s Crab Corn Chowdah
*Posted on WW Boards by Meggalicious...

3 cans corn (Drain these to make it more of a stew)
1 canned stewed sliced tomato-(use what you have on hand - don't drain).
1 med onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 TBS olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 pound (approx) red potatoes scrubbed & diced
1 pkg fake krab
1 pkg fake lobster
1 can FF evap milk
Salt & Pepper to taste ( I added a tsp of salt & ½ of pepper at first. I then added a ½ more salt & ¼ more pepper later.)

Put oil in pan & sauté celery, garlic & onion. Add cans of corn & tomato. Then everything else except the milk. Bring to a boil & simmer for a while. ( I did this for about 1 ½ hours) Once everything is cooked through add the FF evap milk.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Espresso Braised Beef *Untested*

Original posters comments about this recipe: This is spectacular, and you don’t taste the coffee. The “roastieness” of the coffee makes the beef taste beefier… The original recipe called for brisket, and orange marmalade stirred in at the end. This recipe is based on one from Andrew Schloss, from his book “The Art of the Slow Cooker”. But this will work well in your oven, too.

Espresso Braised Beef (Modified) - found/posted on the WW board by Zenpup...

2 Tablespoons finely ground espresso coffee beans
1 Tablespoon sugar*
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
3 -5 pound round or rump roast
1 large onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup dark molasses*
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 whole cloves

Mix the ground coffee beans, sugar, garlic powder, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pat the meat dry with paper towels, rub all over with the spice mixture, wrap in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meat on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Place in the slow cooker or a Dutch oven.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, and add the onion and cook until soft and browned. Add the brewed coffee, vinegar, molasses, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Pour over the meat, and toss the cloves into the liquid. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or in a 325°F oven for about 3 hours or until fork-tender. Remove the meat to a cutting board to slice, and skim the juices of any accumulated fat before serving.
Makes 8 -12 servings, depending on the weight of your roast.

Edamame Corn Chowder *Untested*

This sounds like it would be quite yummy... variations could also be that you take out the edamame and use clams for a clam chowder type of soup...

Edamame Corn Chowder Inspired by Everyday food (tv show).
Serves 4

4 oz Canadian bacon or lean ham, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
1 red potato, scrubbed and cubed - you could use a white potato/baking style if you want
½ t dried Italian seasoning
2 C frozen shelled edamame
1 can creamed corn ( You could use 2 cups of frozen corn)
1 /2 C ff evaporated milk.
Salt and pepper.
1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.
2. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broth, potato, and Italian seasoning. Simmer until potato is just tender, about 8 minutes.
3. Stir in edamame, creamed corn, and milk; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until Edamame are tender, about 8 minutes. Serve chowder sprinkled with crumbled bacon

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ropa Vieja (Fajita-like Beef) **Untested**

If you've never had flank steak, this sounds like a great recipe to try it with. I'm sure I'll try it sometime soon... Flank steak is cheap, and the crockpot is easy... sounds like a winner...

Ropa Vieja

1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1.5 TBS ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
9 dashes hot pepper sauce
1 (2 lb) flank steak
1 c vegetable broth
3 bay leaves
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro

Combine onion and pepper sauce in a large bowl. Transfer half of the mixture into 5 or 6 qt crockpot. Place steak on top of mixture. Spoon remaining mixture over steak. Pour broth around steak and then tuck in bay leaves. Cover and cook until steak is tender. 5-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.**