Monthly Archives: March 2011

Wednesday Where Did You Go?

Wednesday was a day that kind of flashed by.  After my baking project in the morning, I headed over to my friend Gail’s house to deliver the goodie.  It was well received, everyone thought it was really good.  She tried to get me to eat a piece but I told her I had mine waiting at home.  Actually, I wanted to be able to sit down with perhaps a cup of tea and really enjoy it. 

Before I left, because I knew I’d get the question, I set out to calculate how it counted on Weight Watchers.  Sadly, it came out to 8 points per slice…and that was with using fat-free sour cream.  No one was happy with that number, but the good thing about having a best friend who is also on WW, we sort of brainstormed on how we could lighten up the recipe since we all liked it so much.  I’ve got some good ideas and I’ll give it a try again soon, revamped! 🙂

I spent most of the day at Gail’s helping and I was pretty tired when I got home.  I didn’t feel like cooking.  Ralph suggested he pick something up at the local pizza shop.  I agreed and told him I just wanted their Garden Salad.  I figured I could fancy it up a bit.

He got himself a spaghetti dinner, which smelled wonderful, but I was happy with my salad and thought I made the right choice.

I started with this…

I added 2 of the MorningStar Farms Grillers California Turk’y Burgers which I cooked up in the toaster oven.

Along with the burgers, I added sunflower seeds, black pepper, Mrs. Dash and Newman’s Own Light Lime.  Yes, kids, I am pretty predictable, but I like what I like and I also know what works for me in terms of WW so I stick with certain things. 😉

Finished product…

Big yum…not much work! Who doesn’t love that?!?

Then later, I got what I had been waiting for all day…

And how was it???

Well worth waiting for. Ralph loved it, too.  I thought it tasted just about like Ele’s original.  We’ll have to see how close my next version tastes to the original. ;-)The cup of tea was very enjoyable and relaxing.  I should do that more often in the evening.

So Thursday dawned cold and rainy.  Actually I don’t think our heater is working properly because it’s pretty chilly inside too.  We’ll have to look into that.

I’m off to Verchio’s for produce.  One of things I love about going there…you’re never sure what you’ll find.  Sometimes that’s good, sometimes bad.  As long as the keep having clementines I’m satisfied!  We’ll see what I turn up.

Happy Thursday!  Stay Warm!

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I Love the Smell of…

CINNAMON!! 

I’ve been planning on making Ele’s Cinnamon Loaves recipe for a week or so.  She had made it when we went for St. Patrick’s Day dinner and it was so good!  She told me I’d had it before, I didn’t really remember it.  But I remember it Now!  And now that I know how good cinnamon is for me…it’s actually health food!

I had hoped to be up earlier to do it, but it was one of those days…I did however get it done! 🙂

CINNAMON LOAVES

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)

1/4 cup milk (I used 2 %)

2 cups flour

1 tsp vanilla

FOR TOPPING:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Cream together 1 cup sugar and oil.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Blend in sour cream and milk. 

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Spread 1/4 of the batter into each of 2 greased 9x5x3″ loaf pans. 

Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon over the batter in pans.  Top each pan with remaining batter.  Cut through batter gently with a knife to make swirling effect with the cinnamon sugar.  Top with remaining cinnamon sugar.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.  Check to see if it is done by using the toothpick method.

And finally…the finished product…

They smell so good!!  One is destined to go to Gail’s house and one we’ll keep.  I still have to figure out the points value, but I’ll get to that.  Whatever the point value…it’s worth it!

In this photo, you can see the wonderful oven “hot” gloves that Ralph bought for me.  Sadly, I don’t know where he got them so I can’t recommend a place to buy them.  They most likely came from a catalog.  If I can figure out which one, I’ll let you all know.  They are a great help when taking hot things from the oven or microwave.  I have to take care of my delicate hands, don’t I? 😉

So if nothing else, I accomplished something today…a delicious goodie that I get to share.  That makes me happy. 

Off now to be productive…Happy Wednesday!

Monday, Monday…Can’t Trust That Day

I started Monday with plans to get so much accomplished…didn’t happen!  Maybe I do need that list I was talking about yesterday! 😉

Had my oat bran for breakfast which I continue to enjoy.  When I bought almond milk the last time I bought the Silk version.  I had a coupon and how can you argue with a coupon?!  I like it just as much as the Almond Breeze.  So, I guess whoever sends me a coupon gets my business!

We had banking to do which took longer and got more complicated than I expected and I needed to stop over to my friend, Gail’s house to be on Mom duty while she went for a doctor’s appointment.  I got home about 5:15 and I was hungry (notice, I didn’t mention lunch anywhere!)

I took care of Ralph’s dinner and then went to work on one of my standbys…a stir fry!!  (could you guess? 😉  )

A box of Near East couscous,  (I just tried to search it on Google as “Far” East…wondered why I couldn’t find it…duh!!  I’ve used their products for years and I really enjoy them. ) snow peas, cabbage, one of those funny little squashes (I’m thinking they are just unique zucchini…that’s what they taste like) and some of my black beans.  I’m going to continue to make the beans by the bag in the crock pot.  It’s so convenient and comforting to know I have them in there.  I can do so many different things with them.

SO yummy, especially when topped with the Locatelli Romano Cheese.  I recently figured out that this is a better value on Weight Watchers than I originally thought.  I calculated the points on the container rather than just using the points in the WW Food Companion book.  (Yikes, I just looked the food companion up on Amazon and it costs $23.99!!  It’s only $10 at the WW meetings!)

Anyway (I think I need to focus today!), in the book it says grated cheese is 2 points per tablespoon.  When you calculate from the Locatelli container, 1 tablespoon is “0” points, 2 tablespoons are 1 point and 3 tablespoons are still only 1 point!  What a deal!  Especially since it is one of my favorite things!  I was so excited when I figured that out.  It just proves the point, if you have the packaging available, calculate from that.  Many times you get a better deal than if you just go by the generic values in the WW materials.

So, it’s Tuesday and I need to have a more productive (and focused!) day.  I have some errands to run and another visit to the bank…don’t ask.  I have a recipe I’ve been trying to make and I need to make it before I run out of black beans and the cabbage goes bad!  So I think tonight is the night.

Happy Tuesday!

The Rest of the Day of Rest

Since I had all of that wonderful fruit cut up, I decided we could use a nice healthy breakfast on Sunday…

Ralph had just the fruit and I paired mine with Chobani plain.  Pretty darn satisfying for only 2 points!

We decided we felt like getting out of the house.  We had gotten an Olive Garden gift card for Christmas and I had found a discount coupon in the paper a few weeks back.  We were set! 🙂

It’s often a long wait at our local Olive Garden but we were fairly early so we had no problem being seated right away.  We started with their salad which to me is one of the best salads you get at any restaurant.

My “first” helping! 😉

Of course, while we waited for our entrée, Ralph drew a picture of our waitress, who was really good, by the way.

My entrée was Ravioli di Portabello…

Very good!  I’ve been trying to get myself to slow down when I eat, which I’ve has always been a problem for me.  I did very well with this…slowly, slowly…

We hashed around the idea desert.  My favorite is their lemon cream cake.

Lemon Cream Cake

It’s so good that I contemplated asking for it for my birthday cake, but it costs $35.oo for a full cake!  It’s probably more now.  But I decided considering what I had just eaten, I probably didn’t need that.  But I love lemon and noticed that they had “dolcini” translated as “little dessert treats” and there was a lemon version. 

 

It was so cute and so good!  What looked like a real miniature lemon on top turned out to be a candy. 

Ralph had the strawberry version and we both had coffee. 

I refuse to share how many points that all was.  I worked it into the program for the day,though…  😉

It was a wonderful afternoon out for both of us.  I was stuffed and didn’t really think about food later.  I did have a snack of some of the Coco cakes I got at the Amish Market on Saturday with Tribe Hummus.

Tribe is quickly becoming my favorite hummus mainly because it always seems to be on sale! 🙂  This time I tried the cracked chili pepper variety.  It was yummy with just the right amount of spicy kick.  I figured out the Coco cakes and 2 of them count for 1 point on WW!  Amazing!  The hummus it 2 points for 2 tablespoons, and that can go a long way. 

I haven’t mentioned my meditation practice lately.  It’s going well and today is day 30 for me!  I’m proud of myself for sticking to it.  One of my projects last night was to re-string my mala.  I had made it too loose when I originally did it and it became distracting during my practice because the beads always got away from me.  I used it this morning and it worked out perfectly. 

Now it’s Monday again.  I have many things to do.  Let’s see how many get crossed off the list by the end of the day.  Maybe I should actually make a list.  If I followed it, I might accomplish more.  Let’s give it a try!  Happy Monday!! 🙂

Saturday/Sunday~Melange Part Deux

Ralph and I were off to Barnes & Noble Saturday afternoon.  Ralph realized he had some leftover gift cards from Christmas and B&N had sent me a 40% off coupon so I was able to get this…

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.  I’ve read all of her other books and really enjoyed them.  I love a discount and I had to use it before it expired.   😉  Can’t wait to read it!

We actually had lunch at B&N, but I didn’t take any pictures!  I had spinach and artichoke Quiche which was really good, along with a sugar-free, nonfat cinnamon dolce latte Frappuchino.  Gee that’s a long name!  It’s becoming my new favorite.  Turns out it’s 6 points, I thought it was less.   Guess I’ll need to find a new favorite… 😦

Of course while we were sitting there, Ralph was drawing.  Actually, he had a little pocket water-color kit and this is what he did…

There was a little girl at the next table with her mom.  Turns out her name was Sophia and she was 8 years old.  She was watching Ralph work.  I told him she was watching.  We started talking to her and her mom and Ralph gave her the little painting.  Her mom was thrilled and asked Ralph if he could draw Sophia’s picture.  He did.  Funny thing, she didn’t really know that he COULD do it.  Of course, it was  no problem for him.  Funny how people just sense that about him when they see him drawing.  When Ralph gave her the drawing, her mom said she was going to frame it!  It made Ralph very happy.

We headed off to the mall to meet up with Bill, Alex and Patrick.  We weren’t sure what we were going to do, because we hadn’t been asked to “hang out” at the mall recently, but any time we get to spend with them is great. 

We ended up just sitting in the Food Court.  Ralph and I had pretzels and soda.  Bill and the Boys had just eaten so they didn’t have anything.  I love soft pretzels and these were very good.

This shot wasn’t so good…

This one was better…

Patrick, Bill, Ralph and Alex.  Alex still looks a little too serious, but we’ll let him slide! 😉

Sunday started with another morning when I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I got up at 6am, did some laundry (how exciting!!) Then I decided it was time to tackle the pineapple and cantaloupe which I had  bought last week.  Forgot to take any shots of the pineapple, but here’s the cantaloupe!

Cantaloupe AND pineapple, all chopped up and ready to be eaten!!  I’m so excited because they both are sweet and delicious!  I guess I made good choices when I picked them.  These will be great to have ready for snacks during the week so that I can stay on track.  After my 1.8 pound loss yesterday, I’m really motivated to stay on track.  I’m proud of myself and I want to keep it going. 

Not sure what the rest of Sunday will hold.  It’s beautiful and sunny out which is definitely a plus.  Time to get it started…Happy Sunday! 🙂

Friday/Saturday-A Melange

Friday was another one of those days when I woke at 3am and was out of bed by 4:30 because…why stay there when you’re not sleeping?  😦  It was good because I needed to be at Gail’s house at 10:30 and I had a cake to bake!

I was giving another try to the Weight Watchers pumpkin spice cake that turned out so badly before.  Fortunately, this time it was much more successful.

Again, it is insanely simple…

You open a spice cake mix, any brand…

…and mix it with a can of pumpkin…

It’s a little stiff and it takes a bit of stirring to get it to mix, but (when done correctly, using a FRESH box of cake mix!) you get this…

Boy, does it smell/taste GOOD!   It made me want the holidays to come back…it smelled like Thanksgiving.  Everyone at Gail’s house thought it was great!  So did Ralph.   I was waiting until weigh in at Weight Watchers on Saturday morning for my taste.

Now that I’ve weighed in, I know that I deserve that treat!  I lost 1 and 3/4 pounds at WW this morning…I was SO excited!   I tried hard this week so I was glad my efforts paid off…because I was Free and under goal!

After the meeting I coerced Kristen into going to Mullica Hill so that I could pick up my edamame burger at Natural Harvest Market.  The only problem was that it didn’t open until 10:30.  So we stopped at WaWa for coffee and then headed to the Amish Farmers Market.  We had a great time there browsing around.  I picked up a few things…

Flax seed-which is SO inexpensive there, vanilla extract and Coco Pop Cakes in whole wheat.  I’ve had the regular ones before, but I figured the whole wheat would be healthier and it has 1 gram of protein as opposed to 0 for the original ones.  They are so good. They’re big and count for almost nothing on WW.  I have to calculate it, but I know it’s a good deal on points.

Then we went to Natural Harvest and picked up my edamame burger.  As Kristen had warned me, it was pricey, but she tells  me it’s worth it.  It comes with its own little tub of special sauce.  I also got a block of tofu that could stop a truck~it’s “super firm” and extra protein.  It has 14 g of protein for a 3 ounce serving, so that’s pretty good!

I’m excited to give both a try.  Kristen told me about how she used tofu to make something reminiscent of tuna salad.  That will be project for the coming week because I certainly have tofu!!

It’s been a good day so far.  Ralph and I are headed to Barnes & Noble, because earlier in the week he found 2 gift cards left over from Christmas.  I have a coupon for a new book by an author I really like.  Then later we’re meeting Bill, Alex and Patrick at the mall to “hang out.”  Haven’t been asked to do that for a long time, but I’m looking forward to it!

So Happy Saturday to everyone…we’ll see what the day holds!

Where Did Thursday Go?

I woke up Thursday not wanting to do any of the things I needed to do.  I didn’t feel like doing my meditation practice in the morning so I skipped it. (I did make it up in the evening though) I did my 30 minutes on the exercise bike. 

Then I was off to grocery shopping.  I wanted to make a recipe that Ele had made on Sunday and I needed to pick up a few things.  I stopped at work to see her to be sure I got what I needed.  When I came out of her office it was Snowing!  I couldn’t believe it.  Fortunately, it didn’t last long. I just stayed cold and damp all day.  (Remind me again why I’m still in New Jersey… 😦  )

At the store, I stocked up on Oat Bran which I had been missing terribly since I finished my supply earlier in the week.

…and since the box had a yummy looking muffin recipe on it, I splurged on a new muffin/cupcake tin!

I’m looking forward to giving the muffins a try…yes…she CAN cook from a recipe!  I’ll prove it to you! 😉

I had picked up some things for my friend Gail and stopped by to see how her Mom was doing.  I spent most of the afternoon there.

I hadn’t eaten any lunch and by the time I came home I was starving, but didn’t feel like cooking.  I decided it would be a salad for me.

I popped 2 Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers into the toaster oven.  That always seems to be the easiest way for me to cook them. 

While they cooked I chopped up Romaine and grape tomatoes

Added sunflower seeds and  1 cup of my home-made black beans ( I was going for serious protein here!)  I also added lots of Mrs. Dash’s Fiesta Lime seasoning (yum!) and tossed things around.

Added the chopped up burgers and WW cheddar cheese…can you say PROTEIN?!?!

Even though I had the Newman’s Own Light Lime in the photo, I changed my mind at the last minute.  I decided that plain balsamic vinegar would taste better with it.  I was right.  It was a truly delicious salad.  It was very filling and just what I needed.  I like when dinner is filling…it gives me a much better chance to stay on track as far as night-time snacking is concerned.

Interesting thing about the Newman’s Own.  After I had decided not to use it, I got a call from my friend, Pat.  She had bought the Light Lime on my recommendation.  She called to tell me that she had a bottle to give me because she HATED it!  I felt bad that she’d spent the money on it, then didn’t like it.

I guess it just proves the point that different people like different things.  I usually say I like anything with lime.  Two years ago I was in Florida with Gail and Alice.  We were out at a restaurant and I had been hearing about one of the beers, I think Miller Lite that now had a variety with lime.  I had been waiting to try it.  Gail looked at me like I was crazy when I ordered it while everyone else had their pitcher of Coor’s Lite.  I drank about half the bottle and asked for a glass from the pitcher.  Gail gave me her best “I told you so” look and then laughed at me.  I guess I can’t just think that anything with lime will be good.  Hey, it sounds like we’re getting back to the green theme again!!

Now it’s Friday.  It’s one of those days when woke up at 3am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I’ve been using my time well though.  Let’s see if I can keep it up for the rest of the day!  Happy Friday!