Saturday, January 31, 2009

and sometimes you eat alone...

...though this Baked Cheese Polenta with Swiss Chard ( 3 points ) was actually pretty good.

Our schedule was weird last night- I had boot camp and the girls had piano after school. We'd gone for minor groceries and then Starbucks hot chocolate and (me) a latte at Chapters after, so we weren't all that hungry...anyway, by the time I made this, everyone else had eaten something already so I didn't MAKE them try it. lol. Except for dh, who complained about the garlic smell during prep and then claimed it had too much in it. *sigh* It really didn't- or else I couldn't taste any excessive garlic. Anyway, he didn't eat his either. I ate every bit of mine though. I should start a family sticker chart, eh? I'd be winning!

I made this recipe (after searching online for Swiss chard recipes) because I actually already had all the ingredients (don't you love it when that happens?)- except my low fat sour cream had gotten fuzzy. (ergo the minor grocery trip)

I didn't have enough Swiss Chard. I got a single bunch from my organic produce box, but it calls for 2 bunches. I contemplated looking for more, but decided not to bother. If I get more Swiss chard next time, I think I'll try this again with the right amount. The major taste of this was polenta. I don't know if my tots would have enjoyed the texture. The look of the dish got no under 5 foot five takers anyway.

Boot camp was pretty good last night. We did a massive cardio warmup involving skipping at the beginning. There were about 7 or 8 stations focusing on the core. I do need to work on my core muscles, so that was good. I'm trying to decide whether to sign up for another boot camp (this was the last class of this session) or else sign up for a membership at the gym across from my workplace. Decisions. decisions. I was GOING to run this morning at 9, but my running partner had to cancel. It's pretty darn cold out right now anyway and we were going to meet at the waterfront. brrrrr... I promise to do something indoors today.

Side note on Swiss chard...this type of greens makes me think of my parents and their gardens growing up. As a kid I never appreciated their fresh-from-their-garden veggies that they were always serving. Swiss chard was one that I remember actually liking though. It probably was the melted butter on it. mmmmm...but polenta is a treat, too. ;)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Potato Chip-Crusted Chicken

*Yawn* I SHOULD be in bed- new semester starts tomorrow (the world, she spins 'round quickly)- but I wanted to post a quick recipe review of last night's chicken before I turned in. It wasn't very good, sadly. I will post it here in case anyone else has better luck with it. I found another blogger who did a review of it back in the summer and she was kind enough to have typed out the recipe. Seems like she kind of blamed not liking it on pregnancy- but, let me tell you sister, my non-pregnant taste buds didn't like it much either.

At first it seemed like it was going to be good- the coating seemed to be crisping up nicely, just like in the picture. It wasn't really crispy in the end, though and tasted quite bland, too. I did skip the pinch of cayenne (I'm all out) and I found Baked! Lays, but not the Ruffles type. Maybe that made the difference? I also doubled the recipe. My piece doesn't look like it has much coating, but most of the pieces did look well covered- and the chips did stay on both sides. That part worked out well, anyway. ;)
All in all, it was edible, but no party in your mouth. dh thought it was "ok". The kids didn't like it much at all.
Thanks for the comments yesterday, girls! And hope you found some OTHER, better chicken recipe for dinner, MizFit. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Janet's version of the Taco Salad

Happy Snowy Wednesday! Not quite a Snow Day- it didn't start soon enough, but enough to be a headache and make the roads slippery around here. I plan to go and work out in my nice, warm basement after writing this. I got a few more exercise dvds from the library... we'll see! It's also a nice day to cozy up and read. ;)

Tonight I'm going to try a chicken recipe from The Most Decadent Diet recipe book. I thought I'd share a picture of last night's dinner- made with leftover chili (I used half a serving), complete with the feta cheese topped over greens and tomatoes from my organic veggie box and 10 tortilla chips from a huge Costco bag. The whole thing worked out to 5.5 points and it was very delicious.

Stay safe and warm, guys! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Checking in with Angel Food and a side of Vegetables

Time for HYC checkin already? sheesh!

I had a pretty good week of healthy eating, though I think I didn't lose anything! :P We'll see tomorrow morning. My nephew's bday was a lot of points, and so maybe I underestimated the total. Also, I used ALL my flex points and ALL my exercise points, too! I don't usually do that, so it left me with no margin for error, if you kwim? I usually like to give myself a little margin-for-error room!

In good HYC checkin news, I did work out last night after pledging to. I actually turned on the treadmill and did a walk/ run for 30 mins. Then I did a little exercise program from my Touch (I got for Christmas): the "Health Coach" App. It's kind of cute.

(The Nike Training one looks cool, too, for anyone with this funky and fun Ipod toy that I love.)

My angel food cake for dh's bday turned out well and was a hit all round. It wasn't super high- er tall (?), but it wasn't chewy or anything. I loved the hints of lemon and almond. It seemed to be getting pretty brown on the top, so I took it out over 5 mins early (before its called for 55 mins). I used my Cooking Light Complete Cookbook binder for the recipe- it even had step by step pictures and tips for baking an angel food cake, but you can find the recipe here. It's a pretty glorious cake for only 3 points a serving. I had mine with light Cool Whip and blueberries. (I took a bite before I took the picture, so you can see I dove right in.)

My other big fitness/health news is that I ordered an organic box of vegetables and fruits online from a local farmer's group and I picked up my first order tonight- woo hoo! It's been a dream of mine to do this after seeing my sis in TO's pickup ages ago. You can have them delivered to your door, too, but the site for pickup wasn't that far away and I worried about the veggies sitting out on my cold porch if I wasn't home when they delivered.

You bring your own bags. I partially filled about 3 of my cloth ones with a cool assortment of fruits and veggies. I'm very excited! I want to add more fruits and veggies to my diet and I thought this might make me try more of a variety, too. It all looked great. :)

One final note (bla bla bla, eh?): I have a new favourite drink at Starbucks: the London Fog Tea Latte. A grande with skim milk is 3 points! (I still love the Chai Latte, but this is a lower point nice change.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cornbread and Chili

Just thought I'd type a quickie while the angel food cake for dh's bday ( Happy bday, Ken! :)) cools- since I'm not at boot camp. *sigh* I should have made the cake last night, but I was tired after all the chili, cornbread making... or something like that. Anyway, the cake takes 55 mins in the oven, so I couldn't get back to boot camp- which is downtown and 20 minutes away. If only one could teleport.

Anyway, I've promised myself I'm going down to the basement to run on the treadmill and then do something else- wii fit? ddr? the workout video which slayed me last time? (maybe cause I had the start of the flu?) I'm going to surprise myself.

The chili turned out to be very delicious- as did the corn bread on the side. I heart my slow cooker: loved coming in from skating to the smell of chili cooking. mmmmm... We'll see if I can keep it up- occasionally at least. (Thanks Seashore for the link to that crock pot lady who did a crock pot recipe every day for a year! I'm so impressed by that!)

The Smoky Slow Cooker Chili (7 points for 1 and 1/3 cup) was the cover recipe from this month's CL. I guess for a slow cooker recipe it has a lot of steps ( learned from reading the recipe reviews). I also picked up meat I've never purchased before- frightening looking ham hock, I'm calling your name. It was super tasty though. dh really liked it, too. The girls, not as much- though they liked the meat in it. They still aren't really "saucy" girls (well, in one way they are- if you kwim. ;))

The changes I made to the chili: I realized in my rush to make it (and get to the skating rink) that I didn't have beer. I added beer later, so in the meantime, being afraid that there wouldn't be enough liquid, I added 1/2 cup of water. So...mine probably was runnier than it should have been. oops. I also, yet again, couldn't find tomatillos. (Must be an American store find. The grocer said he gets asked for them once in awhile, but Fortinos has never carried them.) Anyway, I used other tomatoes. On my next trip to Buffalo, I'm looking for tomatillos!

I also couldn't find pinto beans. I google it and used kidney beans instead. (I now have a large stash of a variety of beans cause I didn't google it BEFORE I went to the store!) I also couldn't find queso fresco- but having searched for that before, I knew to pre-store-google and I bought light feta instead. The descriptions of questo fresco sound REALLY good though. (Another thing going on my Buffalo shopping list.)

A recipe side suggested was corn bread, so I made the one also in this issue: Almond-Cranberry Corn Bread. I really loved it. I had to hold myself back from eating the whole pan. (as it was, I cut the pieces into 8, rather than 12) I made my almond meal in my coffee grinder (like I did with the oats for oat flour). It works "pretty well", though the almond meal really gets sticky and clogs the sides of the grinder. It didn't burn out the motor or anything, but I'm just saying...(in case anyone else tries it). I didn't save extra almonds for the top- since they suggested it would take a cup of almonds (it didn't), so mine doesn't have any on the top. I really liked the cranberries in it, my children did not- as I should have known and skipped. I had leftover cranberries though and wanted to use them.

Anyway, I think corn bread is a pretty personal taste anyway. If you like corn bread, try this one. It's really good! (3 points a slice- cut for 12 servings)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

a new Crockpot and Pumpkin Scones

Guess who just got a new crock pot? Yes, kinda ashamed to admit that this is my FIRST crockpot ever, too. (OK, moving quickly away from the guilt, Fig. ;)) I've contemplated one many times, but this month's Cooking Light chili recipe- shown on the cover, put me over the edge. I'm just about to serve the chili, so I'll lyk how it turns out. There were some ingredients that I couldn't find. (I hate that!) Anyway, now I'm going to be on the lookout for lots of crock pot recipes. lmk if you guys have any you love. :)

Anyway, I made these Pumpkin-Parmesan Scones this weekend. They were good, but a little high on the pointage for a small piece (3 points a piece). Youngest dd really liked them with grandma's homemade strawberry jam. I had mine straight up with a bit o' butter.

The only change I made to the recipe was omitting the pumpkin seeds. I love how they look in the CL picture, but I couldn't find them at the grocery store.

We had a nice afternoon with a family celebration of dh's bday. Our bil actually rented a locale skating rink and we had an hour of ice time to skate just by ourselves. It was very cool! dh was like a little kid. He ran out to Canadian Tire to buy hockey sticks and everything. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Joy of the Asian Pear

No recipe last night: left-over falafel (mmmm...) and a rushed evening of children activity AND bday shopping. My nephew Fin is 2 today! ( Happy Birthday, Fin! You cutie, you.) My dh has a bday on Monday ( should I bake a light cake? The man is crazy for angel food cake...I'd have to buy that angel food cake pan. hmmmm...) and eldest dd has a bday party on Saturday. At least there's no cake temptation for me on the Saturday party- unless I crash it or something. dd is now getting to the age of extreme parental embarrassment, so I don't think she'd approve.

Anyway, due to no recipe shareage AND no exercise shareage (still feeling crappy with flu-like symptoms), I thought I'd share my favourite ZERO point- yes, zero point, fruit: the Asian Pear. I bought some at Costco last night- amidst all the bday shopping. They are kind of pricey, but well worth it- for the occasional splurge anyway. They even come in their own little plastic suitcase, tenderly wrapped in cushy material. Very adorable overall, I say.

If you haven't had one before, it's kind of like eating crunchy water with a tiny tinge of flavour. Hard to describe the flavour actually- not really pear like or apple like. Kind of unique.

Anyway, I love them for when I'm feeling hungry, but I've already used up my points and some flex for the day, say, on bday cake or something. Good job I have them on hand this week, eh?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sometimes "F" is good: fish, falafel and four pounds!

Too bad it's not (F)riday, to fit the topic.

I was a bit under the weather today (a bit of the flu?), but still jazzed by a 4.4 pound loss on my offical wi Wednesday! woo hoo! I'm getting closer to the 150s again. Maybe a couple of weeks more? or 3?

I tried two more Cooking Light recipes from the new issue. First, last night we had fish (I've been meaning to add some more fish into our diet- we hardly ever have it), Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia with Tomatillo Salsa. I couldn't find canned tomatillo, so I just used regular canned tomatos (not sure if that was super wrong or not- I hadn't looked it up on the internet for a replacement). The girls always complain about eating their "fishy friends," but I thought it was pretty tasty and mild. I liked the salsa on the side, too. I'll have to look for the right "tomatillo" can next time.

I really loved tonight's recipe Falafel Pitas. I just made it for dh and I, so I have leftovers for tomorrow. yeah! I enjoy having falafels when dining out, but I've never made them at home. The recipe was pretty easy, though I had problems with getting the mixture "smooth" even after running it through the blender AND my mini food processor. I finally scraped it into a bowl and mashed it with a fork. (earning a couple mini APs? no?)

The recipe calls for quite a bit of olive oil, but the patties cooked up very well- and us ww ladies do need our olive oil servings, right? :) This dish was NOT dh's kind of food (Mr. Pretty Bland), but he did say it wasn't the worst thing he'd eaten. High praise, indeed. (I still really recommend trying them, if it's your kind of thing.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

HYC Check-in and Buttermilk Chicken

Second week on program and with 2 and a bit more pounds down (unofficially- wi is still not till tomorrow a.m.), I'm back to where I was before my crazed Christmas eating. From here I still have about six pounds to go *sigh* to where I was at my lowest summer weight (before my trip to the Gaspe). Sooo....I'm still backtracking, but I'm feeling good and in the weight loss zone. Here's to no yo-yoing in 2009! ie just going in ONE direction toward G.O.A.L.! :)

The dish pictured above was from the Cooking Light (Jan/Feb 2009) article on the takeout foods (mentioned in my last blog). It's Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken. It called for a side of tasty sounding coleslaw, but my grocery was out of precut coleslaw, so I just made a tossed salad instead. Anyway, I REALLY liked the chicken. My picture doesn't do it justice. The covering on my piece slipped off ( I gave the family the better crusted pieces apparently ), so I perched it back on there for the pic. I guess I have had boneless grilled ( on the stove top with a grill pan ) so much lately, that this seemed like a special treat. Or maybe I just like everything made with buttermilk?! :) The whole family gave this chicken a thumbs up- though dh made a disgruntled comment about the fact there were bones in it. (See note above about us always having boneless) :P

Hope all my HYC-ers had a great check-in and congrats to all my American blogger friends for a moving presidential inauguration. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Take Out Inside and Cozy-like (cause it's frosty out)

This month's Cooking Light (Jan/Feb 2009) has a section on "Weeknight Meal Makeovers"- making nutritious versions of take-out and fast food dinners. I tried a couple this weekend. Last night's dinner was Smothered Steak Burgers and Shoestring Fries with Garlicky Dijon Mayo. It was really good and popular with the family, too- though they all had their burgers non-smothered and had their fries mainly with ketchup. :)

I really liked the french fries and found them pretty easy to make. You soak the cut potatoes in hot water for ten minutes before they go in the oven, making them crispier without lots of extra oil. A few of them were a little crunchy crisp- but that was my fault in not getting them out of the oven right away (due to co-ordination of cooking times- or somethin' like that.) The garlicky mayo dip was super good, of course and I tried to stick to a fourth of a serving by putting everyone's serving on their plates at least...and tried not to dip into someone else's plate. :P

The burger was good, too and big though my kaiser here makes it look small due to its own bun-enormity. It was one of the smaller bakery kaisers at the grocery store. I cut a bit off the edges while eating.

The whole meal isn't low in points, (9 points for the smothered burger, 4 for the fries with dip) but it was worth it. Sometimes you just need a burger and fries in your life- without the Big Mac guilt. kwim? Anyway, this CL article "speaks to me." A weekend treat doesn't mean you have to go off plan. yahooo!

I also worked out this weekend- well today anyway. I tried one of the exercise videos that I got from the library way back when and then got out again this week (after not doing it last time even after talking about it). :P Anywhooo...that Cathe chick really kicked my butt on the step/ power drill routines. Fitness Fig has gone up even further in my esteem and I already admired her workout schedules greatly. :D

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Banana-Coconut Mini-Muffins and Stephanie

Happy Saturday! the sweetest day of all? :) I made these mini muffins from The Most Decadent Diet ( borrowed from the library ). They are Banana-Coconut Mini Muffins. I couldn't find the recipe on line, so here you go- in brief...

Banana-Coconut Mini Muffins

butter-flavoured cooking spray
1 cup whole-grain oat flour ( I ground my own again in my coffee grinder )
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c mashed banana
1/2 c brown sugar (unpacked)
1 large egg white
1/3 c fat free, artifically sweetened vanilla or banana yogurt
1/2c plus 2 tbsp sweetened flake coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Mist 18 nonstick mini-muffin cups with spray. Combine first 4 in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the banana, sugar and egg with a whisk. Whisk in flour mixture until no flour is visible. Mix in 1/2 c coconut. Spoon into muffin tin and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of coconut.

Bake 12-15 minutes. Cool on rack 10 mins. These can keep 3 days in container.
Makes 18 muffins. Serving: 2 mini muffins (106 cals, 2g fat, 2g fiber)

They were quite tasty. My children didn't like the coconut. I made a couple of changes to the recipe.

1) I didn't have artifically sweetened yogurt, so mine had actual sugar. Mine was non-fat though. 1/3 cup is a perfect small container. Don't you love easy- ie "no" measuring? yeah!

2) Since I was using a yogurt with sugar, I used 1/4 c of my Splenda brown sugar- which equals 1/2c of the real stuff. The Splenda version is a mixture of brown sugar and Splenda. Anyway, it might have made the muffins sweeter. I don't usually use it.

In exercise news, I didn't run this morning (too cold!), but I went to boot camp last night. It was a good workout. We had a guest instructor as our reg was off training a team somewhere. The only exercise I didn't really enjoy was the boxing bag one- as usual. Our new instructor teaches boxing classes, I think ( and he left the exercises for the sub ), and so he always adds in boxing stuff. Anyway, I always feel dorky and never feel like I'm breaking a sweat, probably cause I'm not doing it right. The other exercises were intense though with lots of cardio spots mixed in.

Finally, my Bachelor news just for fun... our "relative" through marriage ( sil's sister ) is Stephanie. She is featured in the next episode. Here's the promo on YouTube for your enjoyment.

Monday, January 12, 2009

HYC Check-in, Cake and a Rose

I did pretty well this week, though I've used up all my flex points (eep!) and Wednesdays not here yet. It's amazing how your body gets so quickly used to having more calories. I was HUNGRY this week at times! I haven't had that feeling for awhile. I do feel so much better already though- feeling more in control and better all 'round. (while still roundish)

I did boot camp again today after work. It was a good workout over all. Our new trainer has cut our time down to 45 mins, but he also really cut down on rest time between exercises and is making us hustle quite a bit- so I'm not noticing the missing 15 mins so much. I wish he'd get a stop watch though- he doesn't time the stations well, so at some stations it seems like you are there forEVER, while others are super short. It's kind of annoying. :P Today we alternated between workout rooms- doing some mat work in one room and in the other, ran through a circuit 4 times.

In another NSV, at East Side Mario's tonight, I actually passed on my favourite ( crazy high fat ) dish ( Firecracker Shrimp ) and got one (Seafood Linguine) that was somewhat reasonable on the point scale AND then I stuck to eating half of it. My visiting mother took us out to dinner for her last night with us- ergo the Monday night trip to a restaurant.

Finally, a quick recipe share. The cakes pictured above are the ones I made for my Christmas party. The one in the very back and to the left was from the December issue of Cooking Light and it was very good. ( OK, the Devil's Food Layer Cake with Peppermint Frosting from Bon Appetit magazine was kinda tasty, too. ) Anyway, the CL cake was Ginger Pumpkin Cheesecake and a slice will cost you a mere 4 points. ...The Devil's Food layer cake's points, well, we won't go there...

p.s. I'd mentioned that someone in my family (related by marriage) was going on a reality show. Well, The Bachelor has started, care to guess who she is? ( That is if anyone has watched the new Bachelor. )

Sunday, January 11, 2009

recipe Sunday: biscuits and shrimp

It was a nice lazy Sunday in my part of the world. We mainly stayed indoors, though littlest dd went to skating lessons at one point and I HAD to go to the store to get some grocery supplies ( though I tried hard not go by trying to use what I had already. ) I was done in by a lack of green vegetables and mommy guilt. :P

For part of our lunch, we had buttermilk biscuits- 2 points a biscuit. I found the recipe in my Cooking Light Complete binder. The daughters both helped me and they were a hit with everyone including the daughter who said she wouldn't like them. Strangely, I couldn't find the recipe on the Cooking Light site. It seems especially weird since it's listed as an "All Time Favorite" in the book. Anyway, if anyone really wants the recipe, lmk and I'll type it out. ( My lazy Sunday continues, but I could do it on Monday. ;)) Anyway, it's pretty close to this one. The one I used just suggested a drizzle of honey over them, which I tried and was quite delicious.

The shrimp recipe I found in the new Cooking Light magazine ( Jan/Feb 2009 )- motivated by the fact that I had a bag of shrimp left over from New Year's eve. Stir-Fried Shrimp with Garlic and Chile Sauce works out to 3 points a half cup serving. I really loved this recipe. Actually, this whole issue looks like a really good one, even the exercise section looks especially good for me (featuring the body bar and the Bosu ball, which I have underused in my stash).

Anyway...back to the recipe, the only changes I made was in using already cooked (frozen) shrimp which I defrosted and then added just after the sauce started to thicken and the replacing of the rice wine with some I had on hand. Another glass in hand completed a tasty meal! :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lebanese Chicken Pita Salad (and First Run of '09)

I actually did some cardio type exercising today- woo hoo! After yesterday's intense boot camp, and today's 8 a.m. run, I'm feeling tired, but proudish. lol.

Boot camp was really good last night, much better than last week, with more variety and more cardio. The only part I didn't like (using the word "like" loosely, for all this sweaty suffering ;)) was the first circuit which had a number of stations that involved wailing the ball against the studio's brick wall and catching it again. Exercises like this, imho, separate the sporty girls from the wusses like me. I always fear hurting myself. NOT to say, to be fair to the instructor, that I don't get an ok arm workout (well on some of them anyway), BUT I wouldn't ask it to the exercise prom, if it was the last dateless exercise out there. kwim? I prefer a more regulated, calm method of exercise.

Today, I met my main running partner for an actual run outside in the actual snow. We did a pretty brief run down to the water (from this running store we used to run at), along the board- walk (slipppery with snow in some spots) and then up many stairs, just to come back down and retrace our steps. I was pretty happy with what we accomplished, though we did not do complete 10s and 1s. We ran in shorter chunks of time. ( Neither of us had a watch, so we couldn't keep an exact track, though we do know the route well. ) We ran into two other runners going in the same direction who kept challenging us to run to a certain signpost or streetlight with them (since they were lagging a bit, too). Group fitness= motivation for me. :)

The salad pictured above I made last night from the new WW cookbook I found at Costco. It was called Lebanese Chicken Pita Salad and the cookbook is the "in 20 Minutes" one. I couldn't find the recipe online- boo hoo!- so in a nutshell, here it is. I really liked it.

Lebanese Chicken Pita Salad

1 pound thin sliced cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces

3 (6 inch) whole-wheat pita breads, toasted

12 cherry tomatoes, halved (I used regular)

1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and chopped

2 scallions, sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint

1/4 cup cilantro

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Tear pitas into 1 inch pieces and add everything to a salad bowl. Toss to mix well.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In search of the Chopstick Chicken Salad

Hey all! two days in a row...can a get a woo hoo! :) 2 days of posting, 2 days of tracking and less snacking (had to type that due to rhym-age.)

Anyway, the one thing lacking in my day was exercise- namely because there was no step class at school (girl's gym is still under reno) AND I had to pick up groceries on the way home and by the time I got stuff put away, I felt like getting other stuff done. I DID have lunch at Quiznos Subs (Honey Bourbon small= 6 sweet points) with my former running partner and she wants us to do a marathon in November. Does that count as exercise? no? Well, at least I have a goal to work toward now, which usually helps me focus my exercise. She did get me to run my longest distance (30K), but I'm not sure how my bod will handle a full marathon. BUT it's good to have a goal. :) AND tomorrow is boot camp day. (so I should rest up anyway- right?)

I don't really have a recipe to share as such- though I did buy a new cookbook on the weekend at Costco: the ww "in 20 mins" one. For dinner tonight, I tried to recreate my favourite restaurant salad: Jack Astor's Chopstick Chicken salad. It wasn't "quite" right, but it was delicious. I worked it out to 10 points. It consisted of salad greens, grilled chicken, chopped red pepper, diced cucumber and tomato, chopped sugared pecans (stole 5 from dh's large Christmas bottle of mixed decadent nuts from my mother), Renee's Asian Sesame Vinaigrette (delicious!) and baked won ton strips. I think Jack's actually fries their strips of won ton. (They look all bubbly and thicker.)

The baked ones were really good though. dh loved them, too. I brushed olive oil on them (as per a recipe I found on the internet). The one thing I was missing, I'd just pitched yesterday- dried cranberries. Go figure. I'll have to get a new package and try the salad again. I do love the cranberries in the restaurant one.

I did my chicken on a non-stick grill pan after pounding it flat in a freezer bag and marinating it in lemon juice, olive oil, a spalsh of water, garlic and spices.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy 2009- Belated and Plumpish! :)

I'm sorry I abandoned all of you during my gluttony of food and loafing about ( otherwise known as Christmas ). We did have a really nice holiday. I really wish, of course, that I'd stayed on plan better- I'd have felt better then and now. But I'm baaack on my regular schedule, boot camp and all, here's hoping 2009 is a healthy one. :)

I did make a few Cooking Light recipes over the holiday including the two pictured above- one take by moi, the other by CL- can you guess which is which? ;)

The first was a beef tenderloin recipe from the December 2008 issue of Cooking Light- Beef Tenderloin with Port-Beach Plum Reduction. I made it as part of our New Year's Eve celebration. It was the last day of my mom's visit with us and she loved all the recipes I tried - refreshing change from the tough crowd of picky eaters whom I live with. lol. Anyway, everyone enjoyed the tenderloin, though dh made me put his in the microwave. The man doesn't enjoy a hint of pink. oy. ;)

It was an easy recipe to add to a menu. The only change I made was I used their recommended replacement red current jelly for the beach plum jelly which I couldn't find and I used the bottle of red wine that I'd opened for dinner for the port.

The somewhat sad looking french toast pictured above was from Christmas morning. I found it online here: Overnight Caramel French Toast I think I will make it again because it seemed like it SHOULD have been tastier (it still was pretty good, but not great), but failed due to chef error.

Chef error number 1: due to the pressure of gift opening rush from youngest daughter, I didn't set the timer and lost track of the time it was in the oven. I think it was undercooked. (oops!)

Chef error number 2: my bread slices were super big and there was no way I was fitting in their called for 10 slices. I couldn't find any packaged sliced pieces and my French bread stick was too huge (and my cut slices were too thick).

Anyway, I'll try it again on another special occasion (one without present pressure) and let you know how that goes. The layer of caramel that the toast sits on was quite delicious. :)

I signed up for one more session of boot camp. Our regular instructor left ( boo hoo! ), so I'm hoping the new leader runs an enjoyable class. ( He's not my favourite instructor. ) I am sore today following Monday's circuit though, and if I add some cardio back into my routine this week, I'll be less plump by the end of it.
Anyway, hope everyone had a happy new year and a great HYC checkin. :)