Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sleepy on a Saturday :)

*Yawn* Stayed up too late last night. Just didn't feel sleepy, though I was exhausted. Doesn't make sense, does it? Anyway, bright light of sun thru thin curtains and chatty dh (who wanted to tell me about his interesting SAS book facts- lol) woke me up early. Gotta get thicker curtains. Not sure what I can do about the chatty dh though. It's good that he reads and it's cute when he gets excited about stuff. Plus, I gave him the book for Christmas, so it's nice he's enjoying my gift and all (especially since at the time of giving it, he stressed about it being too expensive: hard cover, new title). :)

Since my last post, I tried a couple of new recipes. My organic veggie box is definitely shaping (and encouraging more of) my recipe choices, btw. Firstly, I tried a Martha Stewart pesto one to use up some of my basil and fresh spinach from this week: Fettuccine with Parsley Pesto and Walnuts. The pesto ACTUALLY called for parsley, but since I had 2 pretty bunches of basil, I used those instead. I also cut back on the walnuts and didn't sprinkle any on top. I also used bow tie noodles instead of fettuccine. (This recipe was a last minute decision. Can you tell?)

My spinach leaves look HUGE compared to hers because while I was making this dish, I was also prepping a plain version for dh, so my spinach didn't get tossed in until the noodles were cooled down: ergo, little wiltage. (If I could only train dh to like pesto!)
I cut the recipe in half for 2 servings and after the picture, added some shrimp. The recipe isn't actually low in points (11 using all her ingredients anyway). It was, like all things Martha that I've tried: very tasty!

Yesterday, using up more organic produce I made the Cooking Light Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp ( 4 pts) and this new vinaigrette from my organic veggie box company (they send recipes with their emails sometimes): Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette. It was very delicious and tart! :)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
€ 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
€ 1 clove garlic, pressed
€ 1/4 teaspoon salt
€ 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
€ 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until blended. (If desired, prepare ahead by storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature and whisk before serving.)

Have a great Saturday, healthy bloggers! I'm hoping to get in a little exercise. Being tired kills my desire to sweat a lot. Maybe a nap first?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Another 3.4 down for a total of 20 pounds- as totaled by my ww online weight tracker. (Notice my new HYC bling.) This means I did make it back to my summer low point weight and into the 150s.
Hope my fellow Weigh-In Wednesday bloggers had a good day, too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Checking in with Chops

HYC check in time... I had a good week. I got in a little exercise (have to make it more regular though), checked out one of the gyms we are considering and tried a few recipes. btw, I have way too much reading material on my ottoman: a ton of new recipe magazines (cooking magazine junkie in the howww-sse) and cookbooks from the public library. I need more free time! How about you?

I am down this week- currently between 2-3 pounds. woo hoo! My official wi day is not until tomorrow though and so that might not stick. I am very close to my low from the summer, before I fell into a bin o' pizza and poutine in Quebec. It's funny how easy weight goes on- as opposed to the coming off- not in the funny "Ha! Ha!" sense- more in the" Boo hoo!" arena. BUT I haven't been suffering too much (as in I've been enjoying what I'm eating), and though it has been slow going at times, I do feel stronger and healthier with sprouting muscles and everything (to offset the creaking bones).

Finally, last night I tried another recipe from the new Clean Eating: One Skillet Lamb Chops. They were super delicious. Sometimes you just feel like a chop, right? :) The ones pictured in the magazine were thinner (and prettier) than the ones I found at Costco (from New Zealand). I left mine in the pan for longer than the recipe called for because of that and then, later, microwaved my younger daughter's too red chop bits. We're more of a medium well family (or very well done- ie, burnt, in dh's case.)

The chops looked quite small, but one really was enough. It just shows you how the typical portion size in restaurants is really too big. Anyway, here's the recipe, typed out by moi for your amusement.

One-Skillet Lamb Chops
4 med or 6 small 3/4 inch thick lamb loin chops (1-1 1/4 lb) fat trimmed I used 5 of mine.

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 unsweetened apple juice

1/4 c low-sodium beef broth

1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 firm ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 in slices I missed the "peeled" part. Oops!

3/4 tsp fresh rosemary, thyme or combo chopped

Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Cook over med-high about 2 1/2 mins per side for med rare or 4 mins per side for med. Keep warm.

Discard any fat from skillet and return to med heat. Add apple juice, broth, vinegar and pear to skillet. Cook 2-3 mins until liquid is reduced by half. I reduced mine to barely anything, but luckily I was the only one who really wanted some. lol. Sometimes picky is GOOD. Remove from heat and stir in herbs.

Serve lamb topped with pears and pan sauce. 5 points per serving (4 1/2 oz of lamb, 1/4 pear and 2 tbsp sauce)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Best Broccoli Ever

Monday did roll around PDQ, eh? Anywhooo...I did manage to fit in 1 20 min. run/walk on the treadmill yesterday and tried a couple of new recipes last night. I did this broccoli recipe recommended by the amazing (and funny) Dietgirl. She linked it from The Amateur Gourmet's blog who was inspired by a Barefoot Countessa recipe. 6 degrees of diet blog separation. ;)

I should start by saying that I'm really am not a cooked broccoli fan. I steam it for the rest of the family- who will actually eat this vegetable without complaint, but I prefer it raw. I LOVED this recipe though. It really is delicious. I limited the olive oil in it, but I did (unlike the Amateur Gourmet) try it with the pine nuts (love pine nuts!) though I cut those down, too, and also used the basil (which I had left over from my organic box.)

dh enjoyed it, too, going back for 2nds and 3rds. My children, on the other hand, will have to grow to love it. They didn't enjoy it *sigh* proving for once and for all that I have the pickiest children in Canada and possibly, North America. ;) So much for the Amateur Gourmet's friend's comment "If parents made this broccoli for their kids, kids wouldn't hate broccoli. They'd beg for it." He hasn't met mine. ;P BUT that being said, it really, really was the best broccoli I ever ate. For the tots, I will stick with steamed for awhile.

The Best Broccoli Evah! (originally from the Barefoot Countessa)

Preheat the oven to 425.

4 to 5 pounds of broccoli cut into florets I used half a pre-washed HUGE bag from Costco

5 Tbs olive oil I used less than 2

1 1/2 tsps kosher salt I used sea salt. It was a little too chunky. Led to random bits of salt.

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 garlic cloves peeled and sliced

1 1/2 TBSP of olive oil I used less

3 TBSP toasted pinenuts

1/3 C shredded parmesan cheese

Put the clean and dry broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Now toss the sliced garlic in too.

Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes. The broccoli should be tender crisp and the tips starting to brown. Take the broccoli out and zest a lemon over the broccoli and then squeeze the juice over it. Toss in 1.5 TBSP more olive oil, 3 TBSP toasted pine nuts and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. and 2 TBSP of julienned fresh basil.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jambalaya- fun to Eat and fun to Say!

...and Asian Chicken-Soba Noodle Salad.

Hey bloggers! Happy Saturday night! no movie night with dh, afterall, but a fun day cropping and a tasty meal of Jambalaya and wine once home. So it's all good! :)

Menus 2 and 3 from Clean Eating's "Meal Multiplication" were both tasty and recommended to you by moi. With mil over this weekend, I had another NON-PICKY diner to taste test the recipes, and she liked both, too. Yeah! love dining visitors. :o)

Anyway, if you read my last post, from the Roasted Chicken with Cherry BBQ sauce & toasted almonds, came the next 2 recipes. Firstly, yesterday night we had Asian Chicken-Soba Noodle Salad. It was pretty easy to whip together, though I left it late and had the family waiting at the table, enjoying their rolls. I liked it quite a bit. It was a light, tasty meal. I enjoy sesame oil dishes like this. The family, usually not as much, though the dh didn't complain, so it was a winner to that extent. The kids picked out what they liked and ate it, slowly. as per usual.

I got home quite late after my crop- it was quite productive: 11 Disney vacation pages later- woo hoo! Eventually, I'll be done our Disney vacation pictures from 2 years ago... and so I just made the Jambalaya for two: mil and me. (The family had ordered pizza earlier.)

Anyway, the Jambalaya was pretty easy to whip together (though mil was impressed and said she would have personally just had "toast" after coming in late.) It was pretty tasty. I really liked it- as did mil. I liked the brown rice more than I thought I would, too. I'm usually a basmati rice girl. The mixture tasted spicy and fresh. :)

Here are the two recipes. I couldn't find them online, so I typed them up "in brief." Enjoy. :)

Asian Chicken-Soba Noodle Salad
8 oz soba noodles
1 c snow peas
4 cooked chicken breasts (from Roasted Chicken recipe)
1/3 c scallions
1/4 cilantro, chopped
1/2 reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c dry roasted cashews

Cook soba noodles according to package. Add snow peas last 30 seconds. Drain and put in large bowl. Add chicken, scallions, cilantro and toss.
Whisk broth, lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add noodle mixture. Toss. Sprinkle cashews over top just before serving.
(8 points per serving- 4 servings per batch :))


1 c long grain brown rice
2 tsp olive oil
1 each green and red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp salt-free Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cooked chicken breast (from recipe), cubed
1/2 lb med shrimp
1/4c parsley chopped
sea salt and pepper, to taste
Cook rice according to directions.

Heat oil in wok over med-heat. Cook peppers, onion, garlic (3 mins). Stir in seasoning. Add broth and chicken and heat to simmer. Stir in seasoning. Add shrimp and cook 2 min. Add rice and cook 1 min more.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
(4 servings- 6 points a serving)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Clean Eating on a Friday Night

TGIF! Don't you love Friday night? :) The weekend laid out, lengthy seeming in front of you? It's like you have amnesia every Friday night about how fast the two weekend days actually go. Like a little child, you're all innocent and hopeful- planning to do such minor activities as reorganizing your home, having moving family time adventures and getting in a little fitness while planning and prepping menus for the week. At least I usually get dressed in the morning- oh, ok, by early afternoon. ;) (kidding! dh would never let me sleep in THAT long. :P) Anywhooo...

Thought I'd share my meal from last night- which carries on to a meal for Friday night and then Saturday, too. After reading about Clean Eating magazine on some of my favourite blogs AND hearing about it from friends in real life, too, I thought I'd pick up a copy. Roasted Chicken with Cherry Barbecue Sauce & Toasted Almonds is from the current March/April 2009 issue and a part of the article, "Meal Multiplication." The roasted chicken goes into 3 different meals (love that!) Tonight's dish (which I'm going to prep as soon as I post this) is Asian Chicken-Soba Noodle Salad. I will share a review tomorrow.

The roasted chicken was very tasty. I will post the recipe following this and make some notes about ingredients missing, etc. Overall, I was in a super rush to make it as I got to the grocery store late (grounded at home with my little pox patient), so my almonds don't look that browned and my potato side wasn't ready in time for dinner- so I just served quick noodles with it. and my salad looks very "unchopped". It all tasted very good together though. A serving will cost you 9 points, but that is with 1 oz of almonds and 3 oz of the sauce. I misread that part and put almonds all over the dish (and so didn't eat an oz of them).

Roasted Chicken with Cherry Barbecue Sauce


olive oil cooking spray
1 cup(s) no-sugar cherry preserves or cherry jam I used regular cherry jam.
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4c low-sodium tomato sauce
2 tbp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke I couldn't find this at the store
1 tsp cumin
10 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 5 oz each)
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat Oven to 400. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together cherry preserves, vinegar, tomato sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and cumin. Set saucepan over med-high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.

3. Meanwhile, arrange chicken in one layer in prepared pan and season the tops with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken. Roast chicken 25-30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

4. Toast almonds in a small, dry skillet over med-heat for 2-3 minutes. Serve 4 chicken breast halves with almonds sprinkled over top. I put mine over the whole dish by accident. Reserve remaining 6 breasts for the next two recipes!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Patient Number 2 and a Secret Smoothie Ingredient

In spite of paying for vaccines when they were little, daughter number two has now come down with the pox! Poor sweetie is upset to miss school, told her friend (who said she wished SHE had chicken pox) to bring home LOTS of homework. lol. That'll change by high school, this I'm sure. So, I'm grounded today (and home from high school), hoping I can bring in reinforcements next week at least. It's hard when your family is spread across the country (and across other countries): long distance reinforcements don't work that well.

Anyway, I made the patient a smoothie and I thought I'd share with you all our new, favourite secret smoothie ingredient: low fat coconut milk. It comes from a prior share from Devin Alexander's The Most Decadent Diet Ever- now overdue, btw, due to our missing our library visit due to what we thought was the flu (aka the chicken pox). oops!

Anyway, for this smoothie, I used 1/2 cup of the coconut milk, 1/2 c skim, 1 banana, 1 c (or so) of frozen strawberries, and 1 container of low-fat yogurt. Today I had to use a DanActive Cranberry-Raspberry drink cause I didn't make it to the grocery store yesterday and I'm out of yogurt.

The drinks are really good, btw. I bought them at Costco after a taste test there and both kids really like them in lunches.
I don't like to use the artificially sweetened yogurt with the kids (as Devin does in her recipe). The drink adds 13g of sugar, but with the coconut milk and the yogurt, you don't need to add extra sugar to get a non-sour smoothie. The other day, I also made this with my unsweetened plain yogurt instead of the little container of sweetened, flavoured stuff. It still tasted sweet enough for me.

This smoothie is usually 4 points if you use 2 individual containers of no-real sugar added yogurt and 2 cups of the strawberries (and pour it into 2 servings). :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Taco Salad times two- with a side of nutty (Kale) Stew

Thought I'd try another Eat, Shrink & Be Merry recipe this long weekend past, so I made Na-cho Ordinary Taco Salad on Monday. The salad works out to 6 points. It was tasty, but quite spicy. I think I might take out the jalapeno- or part of it (it calls for a "large" one) when I make it again. It was a little too hot for the tots. I liked that it had black beans and corn in it- both of which I had in my cupboard (yeah!), but at first it seemed strange not to heat them up before putting them on the salad. Anyway, they tasted good-even cold- in the salad.

sidenote: the picture I took of the salad was of one of my daughters' salads- so it had less on it than I had on mine. I tucked into mine right away- forgetting to take a picture. Her's was pretty untouched looking for awhile. lol. So picture a salad with more stuff on it. :P

I used the leftovers from the Taco salad in a version of a soft taco tonight. I really liked it in the tortilla wrap.

Tonight was my organic veggie pick up, so I tried to use a few remaining leftovers I had from last weeks box. I'd meant to use the kale on the weekend, and got a recipe from my sister, African Pineapple Peanut Stew, but ran out of time to make it. Anyway, I made it tonight and had it as a veggie side. It wasn't low cal- 6 points with its 1/2c of peanut butter (we use the Kraft Light stuff, at least), but it was very tasty and I think you could cut back on the pb to lessen the points. Sadly, but not surprisingly, I was the only one who liked it in the family. Our portions were pretty smallish, too, so the serving shown was probably closer to 4 points?

and in HYC check-in details: as I posted on the weekend, I had a kind of high points week with some extra Valentine's eating. I did do a 7+km walk /run on Monday- woo hoo! but I haven't been consistent enough. This week I'm going to try to drink more water and get out there and do some more runs so my little Nike mini me doesn't mock me like it does when I don't run. Paddleball? sheesh!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Skating and Soup: Family Day Extravaganza

Well, I have to finish this post and THEN the Extravaganza may start. Oh! and get the kids out of their pjs and dressed, too. :P Anyway, what better way to spend Family Day then get a little family activity it, eh? My bod desperately needs some activity, too and way less food. This weekend has been very nice, but kind of food-filled. Not reckless eating, mostly healthy stuff, but over the normal points eating.

Anyway, I made a new soup last night from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry: Gourdian Angel, a pumpkin, carrot, apple soup. It was very, VERY delicious. I loved it. We had it with those million dollar ACE bakery crackers. mmmmm...!

Bad News: none of my children liked it, dh included. :P

dh wasn't fussy on one of the spices in it: maybe the curry? the cumin? the garlic? The man is super hard to cook for in general, so don't like his review dissuade you from trying it, if you were considering it. har. As for my children, they ate a surprising amount of it- for them- so I think we're going to work on more soups (and flavours) like this. dh got on board with the whole "good for you" thing, when I brought it up. He likes to go on about stuff like broccoli and blueberries to them when we're eating them. So, maybe I can fit this soup in again on that angle, cause it really is tasty. Think they'll enjoy a bowl after skating? I'll have chicken noodle on standby just. in. case.

Have a nice, healthy food and exercise filled day- hopefully, like us! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines 2009!

Hope you all had an enjoyable Valentines! I did NOT have a romantic one, but a nice, family-activity filled one (sans dh who ironically, was pretty scarce for most of the day.) We did not go to the show- in spite of visiting babysitters, cause dh thought it would be too crowded (probably true- and at least I avoided movie popcorn.)

Good thing, cause unfortunately, I ate a tad over my points today! We had a nice breakfast out- and I was not too bad there with having a couple of pancakes (I gave the third to my little nephew who arrived late). I did also have a side of bacon, which wouldn't have been TOO bad, if it were not followed by a mid afternoon family tea at which I couldn't resist our own Valentine baking. No, I did not tuck into the Cooking Light Classic Iced Sugar Cookies (same recipe we did at Halloween) that we decorated. No, I had to have TWO Jam Sweethearts that we made from our Mom and Me Cookbook. They were very tasty and jam-my! mmmm... Hard to resist with a nice cuppa tea.

For dinner we stayed in (partly because our pox girlie is sick again) and ordered a couple of heart-shaped pizzas from Boston Pizza. On the side, my sis, Laurie, made a delicious tossed salad, and I made (previously) a coleslaw salad (Apple and Pear Slaw) and an app from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry: The Choke's On You. This artichoke dip (2 points for 1/3 cup) is VERY tasty and is served with warmed pita bread. Delish!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kickin' Chicken and Walkin' Beets

A late, late night HYC checkin. I had a good week: good food variety, some new recipes and more exercise than of late, but my weigh-in only showed me down .2 pounds. eeps! Must be my weighty new-found muscles. :P Anyway, I'm still feeling good. The scale had shown me further down earlier in the week, so next week's wi will probably be better- unless Valentine's does me in or something. mmmmm...chocolate.

Actually, more like movie popcorn will do me in, if the dh and I (or friends and I) go to the show. For some reason, when I'm eating healthier, salty items are more apt to get me eating larger portions than fit into my points. (...and then I don't fit into my pants: circle, it's a vicious one.)

Anyway, I'm super tired (from all the exercising?) and today was kind of stressful and busy, so on to a couple of recipe shares. These ones are for my blogging bud, Blendergirl, lover of the Looney Spoons recipe books. You inspired me to dig in the my cupboard for my copy of Eat Shrink & Be Merry (still haven't found Looney Spoons) and I made a couple of recipes tonight: Kickin' Chicken and These Beets are made for Walkin'. (The last one, inspired also by the beets that I got in my organic veg box.) :)

First of all, we all enjoyed them both, though my children are new to beets and just kind of nibbled on those. Beets really are a messy veggie to prepare, eh? I read in my CL Complete Cookbook tonight that it's a good idea to wear gloves when handling them. That would have been a good tip if I'd read it BEFORE I did the recipe. Anywhooo...beets were a total childhood flashback and this recipe was super tasty and only 1 point a serving.

The Chicken was super easy and I loved the peanutty taste to it. I used some of the basil from my organic veggie box, too. Look at me using basil NOT to make pesto. In this recipe, no one noticed or complained about the flavour of the basil either. Yeah! The chicken worked out to 5 points as I used the boneless breast instead of the thighs.
Kickin' Chicken

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 6 boneless, skinless breasts (about 2 1/4 lbs)
3/4 cup bottled light peanut sauce
1/2 cup medium or hot salsa
1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a 9x12 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange chicken thighs in the pan in a single layer. If you're using breasts, cut them in half to make them fit the pan if necessary.
Combine peanut sauce, salsa and basil in a bowl. Pour over the chicken evenly and make sure all pieces are well coated with sauce.
Bake, uncovered for 40-45 mins for thighs, and 35-40 mins for breasts, or until chicken is no longer pink in the centre and sauce is bubbly.To serve, arrange chicken on a platter and pour the sauce from the pan over top.

The beet recipe I can type out tomorrow, if anyone is interested and owns some beets. Right now, these beets- er, slippers are kickin' and walkin to bed! (Yes, I sunk that low. Tiredness makes me silly- er.)

Sweet dreams, sweet blogger friends! :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Nike Tracked Runnin' and Pistachio Pesto

Dinner tonight was quite delicious: left-overs and a new pesto recipe. (Though I MIGHT have made it before? and shared the recipe? Stellar memory, I know.) I found Fusilli with Pistachio Pesto online at Cooking Light so as to use my wilting basil from the organic box. I had all the ingredients except, strangely, tomatoes which we usually do have on hand. Younger dd helped shell the pistachios, but no one else really ate much of it. I am the only pesto fan thus far in my house. My elder dd claimed to like it, at least. Anyway, I won't give up on having it myself (cause I heart it), but I might look for a few more "subtle" basil recipes if it's in the next organic box. :)

I finally officially used my Nike Ipod tracking thing for my run/walk this morning. yeah! It was so cool! Kind of like my friend's old Garmin (that went with her non-dh in the divorce, sadly) that we used to run with. Since it was my chum's first run back in awhile (not to say I've been working out constantly, as you guys know!), we didn't run pure 10s and 1s- as we usually do on these types of runs. We took way more walk breaks. It was also super-slippery! We ran down by the waterfront just after 8:30, and there were icy patches along the run. In places you had to step gingerly. A hidden bonus was a core workout: abs held in as you tried not to wipe out while running.

Even though my first workout didn't record anything other than the trying on of my shoes apparently and this, my second run with the Nike tracker, had quite a few walk breaks AND a stair climb, I have little shame and thought I'd save it and still post my little Nike mini me on this blog. Not sure if they'll be open mocking at the Nike site- if anyone sees my stats. Anyway, in the good news: only one way to go in my progress: up! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Crock Pot Numbers 4 and 5 (Apple Butter and Pork)

Had a nice, low key day today. Didn't do ANY exercise (yet?) except for walking thru the mall. oops. I am going for a run tomorrow a.m. (instead of today)- so there's that anyway.

I did do 2 more crock pot recipes. Overnight Apple Butter (pictured in the little ramekin above) and a pork roast. They were both really good. The apple butter I did to use up a backlog of apples from my organic produce box, so I used a variety of apples. It made the house smell soooo good while it was cooking, too. :) The apple butter works out to 2 points for 1/4 cup serving. It's really good and makes me think of our favourite American family restaurant (where we go for breakfast on holiday all the time): the Cracker Barrel. yeah!

Motivated in part because I had apple butter, I searched for pork crock pot recipes and found the following one on a CL board. (Thanks JackieO)


1 - 3 lb boneless pork top loin roast (double loin, tied)
1 tbsp. cooking oil
Ground black pepper
1 - 16 ounce can whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
Hot cooked noodles, rice pilaf or rice (optional)

1. In a large skillet, cook pork roast in hot oil over medium heat until well browned on all sides. Place roast in a 4 - 5 quart slow cooker and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, sugar, mustard and cloves. Pour mixture over roast. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high heat setting for 3 to 3-1/2 hours.

2. Transfer the meat to a platter, cover and keep warm. Skim the fat from the juices left in the slow cooker. Measure 2 cups of juices, transfer to a medium saucepan. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water; add to saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and bubbly; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Serve with roast, and if you like, noodles, rice pilaf or rice.

Serves 8 - 10.

I ran it thru the WW Recipe Builder for 8 servings and it worked out to 8 points per serving. I used center cut loin roast. I asked the butcher about the "top loin" mentioned in the recipe and he looked confused. Does that just mean really good loin? like the best? lol. I turn to the butcher for all my meat questions- even the dumb ones. I know nothing!

Anyway, I had everything- except for the pork- already in my cupboard or fridge. Don't you love it when that happens? I'm trying to do a better job at using stuff I have on hand. I'm so wasteful sometimes. Trying to work on that!

Anyway, dh- my non-pork loving man actually really liked this roast. The girls did, too, though they wouldn't try the "gravy." I REALLY loved the apple butter with it, so kind of passed on the gravy, too. (wasteful girl, see?)

Have a nice Saturday night!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Janet makes Lentil Soup! (and sauteed bananas)

One of my eating-more-healthy goals is definitely to make more soup. I TALK about making more soup. I take note of soup recipes suggested by my friends, but I don't actually make much soup (other than the ready to serve stuff that comes in a carton which I take to work as an easy lunch sometime- there's some good stuff out there, btw!) Anywhoooo...tonight I feel all gloaty and boastful 'cause not only did I make soup, I used stuff in my organic veggie box- ie chard, onions- they keep giving me bags of onion- and carrots. woo hoo!

The soup I made came highly recommended by the Cooking Light community folk: Lentil Soup with Chard. I didn't change anything from the recipe except I couldn't find brown lentils- mine were green- and I didn't use the yogurt (maybe tomorrow). I really wasn't sure if I would like it, it looked kind of scary, but I loved it. dh really liked it, too and the kids, well they had a number of mouthfuls (10, they tell me) without too, too much fussing. Score! ;) Anyway, I'm joining the CL community folk in telling you to try this soup! It's very tasty (and 5 healthy points).

The French toast- French Toast with Sauteed Bananas- was from Decadent Diet. I made it for the pox patient and myself this morning. My bananas didn't turn out as pretty as in their picture- then I mashed mine, but all in all, it was pretty tasty. I didn't have egg substitute, so I just used a couple of egg whites. I cut back on the butter by just using a bit in the pan with Pam spray.

French Toast with Sauteed Banana (in brief) :)
the banana part:
1 med firm banana (mine might have been too mushy?)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp light butter (I didn't have light butter, so I just greased the pan a bit)
Cook the slices in butter in a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. 2-4 mins. Keep warm.
the French toast part:
1/4 c skim milk
2 tbsp egg substitute
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp light butter
2 slices whole wheat bread
Mix milk, egg, sugar and cinnamon is a large shallow bowl. Heat butter in nonstick pan over med-high. Dip bread in milk mixture and then cook. 1-3 mins per side until golden brown.
Transfer to a plate and top with half the banana mixture. (2 servings: 1 slice with topping equals 4 points. or 202 cals, 4g fat, 4 g fiber)

In exercise news, with no more Friday boot camp, I tried one of Cathe's videos: Low Impact Step from the library AND did my Nike Touch core challenge workout. It was good. She breaks up her repetition work with some interesting step moves, so I liked it. Soup AND exercise? Still kinda gloaty over here. ;)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

making up for not cooking yesterday!

Yep. Making up for no recipe share yesterday- with 3 new ones today AND one being my third- and easiest so far, crock pot recipe, is like a cherry on top, wouldn't you say?

Sadly, being easy and low point, the crock pot recipe was also my least favourite of the three. I found Provencale Chicken Supper on the Cooking Light site. It was ok, but I didn't love it. dh actually liked it the most and said it "wasn't bad"- high praise from picky him, especially since he, in his words, usually enjoys "a dry chicken." har. He's such a gourmet, eh? ;) The children didn't like it much. I think they were frightened by the beans. They are still "plain" food eaters- with all foods neatly separated from each other.

Anyway, I was complaining about the smell of the crock pot earlier. I think it just reminded me of something from childhood. A bad flashback to a church hall potluck supper? I'm not sure what it was that made the smell: the tomato? the mixed beans that I used (since I didn't have the called-for white beans)? I don't know, but I couldn't get passed it. Now, people on the Cooking Light site LOVE this recipe, so I think it must be a smell that doesn't bother most people. :P I might do it again, with different beans and maybe a few different touches- inspired by the review commentators.

In terms of changes to the recipe this time, I changed the time cooked after looking at the reviews. I did 1 hour on high and 5 on low. Mine still had a lot of sauce, but I think that was also because I added more liquid-y tomato. I also didn't have a yellow pepper and I used partially still frozen boneless chicken in place of the bone-in chicken. My frozen bag of chicken also had 5 breasts in it- so I used one extra breast, too.

My two other dishes I made were motivated by my organic veggie/fruit box. This week, I got some cauliflower. I was going to have it raw, but then came across a tasty sounding recipe-Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Butter- on my Canadian Living App (on my Touch- addicted, see?!) Anyway, I really liked this recipe. We got 4 servings out of it, but if you use all the called-for butter and divide it in 2 suggested servings, it's 3 points. I chopped parsley for it, but then I forgot to mix it in, so no green in my serving. I don't usually love cooked cauliflower, but both dh and I liked this recipe.

Finally, they keep giving me a ton of apples so I started looking for apple recipes. I found a tasty sounding crock pot apple butter recipe that I want to try and this one for apple crisp: Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp. The crisp was very good. AND what is better to get rid of stinky church lady casserole smell, than delicious smelling apple crisp?

(no offense to all the lovely church ladies I've known over the years. You are not responsible for my childhood trauma or my yoyo dieting. Or at least I don't think...)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Having the Touch and HYC Check-in

Since I don't have a recipe share, I thought I'd share some pictures of my new, prettiest fitness toy: my iPod Touch. It's very cool- like having a tiny, portable computer. I'm kind of addicted to downloading Apps for it- sometimes under the covers late at night. (I know! step away from the Touch! ;)) Many of them are fitness related. Many of them are free, some are 99c or more- like the one for Twitter- ergo my new Twitter spot that I'm trying out on the blog.

Remember, anyone, when I bought my Nike bracelet and shoe insert for tracking all my runs way back when? and then the trouble I was having with it? I couldn't see the screen that well the ONE time I went out? since it was kinda dark? *blush* Annnnyyway, the shoe sensor works automatically with the Touch. woo hoo! and the screen is much easier to see- as you can see here!

I ran around with my running shoes on in the house last night to get it going. It's very cool. You can set your music with the run, too, of course. side note: Music makes all the difference to me when working out. (much of working out is a mind game, eh? I need distractions from my suffering- plus, there are always those tunes that get you Pumped Up Real Good- if you kwim. In setting up this App, you have to pick the one song that is your "go for broke" song. Kind of fun. I had a hard time deciding.)

In weight loss news, I was down one pound this week. Seeing how it's a certain time of fluctuating weight (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) it's great that I'm showing a pound down. I SHOULD be down more next week- especially if I (1) drink more water, (2) get the Pox out of my house so I can make plans for outside fitness and (3) get that gym membership settled... or get out in the snow with my Touch.

Hope everyone had a great week!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Crock Pot Lasagna

Hope everyone had a good Superbowl Sunday- without too many chicken wings (cause you can't just eat one of those thangs) Or else if you had lots, that you enjoyed it and are back on track today. :)

I made my second crock pot recipe (Can I get a woo hoo?) and - like the chicken wings- it wasn't super low in points either (9 lovely, cheesy points). It was worth the points, though, imho and was quite filling. Pesto Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms IS a Cooking Light recipe- inspite of its cheese-high points. I found it online when I was looking up mushroom recipes. I got a bag of mushrooms in my organic veggie box. I wasn't sure what kind of mushrooms these were, actually, but this recipe said you could use any kind of mushroom- so I went for it- blindly.

It also calls for commercial pesto and my veggie box also had a beautiful bunch of basil. Seriously, I think it was the prettiest bunch of basil I've ever seen. So, instead of buying pesto, I made it using the recipe from my Cooking Light Complete- but you can find it here. I modified it to 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 of water. (Partly because I ran out of olive oil- partly for good health.) I had some pesto left over which I saved for another day. :)

When I was mixing the pesto, sliced mushrooms and spinach together (I used the suggested replacement of 2 boxes of frozen spinach instead of the fresh, btw- cause I thought it'd be faster), it just looked so pretty and smelled so good that I took a picture of that, too. Not that you can smell the fresh pesto over the computer, but still. Imagine a wonderful pesto smell. It was lov-er-ly! If you don't like pesto, I'm ok with you skipping the imagining.

Anywhooo...the lasagna was really good. I loved it, dh liked it and had seconds (and he's not huge on pesto), the younger dd was quite enthused to eat it, though she left some of the veggie bits (there's a lot of spinach in this) and older dd avoided most of the green in it. I definitely would make this again, though I might try some other non-pesto types of lasagna beforehand. I was thinking a mac and cheese recipe might be fun for the family. I'll have to see if I can find one that shaves off some points from the regular stuff.

In exercise news, I did go out for a 30 min walk yesterday- partly to get dd some fresh air. Being with dd, it wasn't super fast, though I did try to keep up a bit of a pace without committing child abuse. ;) After I came in, I went to my workout spot in the basement and did my Nike Touch App challenge thing- working the core muscles. If anyone else has a Touch and wants to join me in a challenge, lmk. Misery- I mean fitness loves company. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins and Smoothies

I was planning to do a crock pot lasagna recipe yesterday, but my 11 yr old suddenly appeared before me covered with spots and it kinda threw off the timing of my day. (We're hoping it's viral and will pass this weekend, otherwise we have to go and see the dr face to face- as opposed to on the phone.) Anyway, I ran out of time for my 5 hour lasagna and so we had other things- including pumpkin muffins and smoothies.

I had left-over pumpkin in the fridge, so I made the Pumpkin Muffins I've shared here before from Cooking Light. I forgot to put the brown sugar mixture on the top of them. argh! They were still good, but the sugary crust on the top is, of course, my favourite.

The smoothie was a new recipe from The Most Decadent Diet. Last night I made her Banana Colada Smoothie. Here is the recipe:

Banana Colada Smoothie
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks or tidbits
1/2 small ripe banana
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup fat-free, artificially sweetened vanilla yogurt

Place all of the ingredients in the jar of a blender with ice-crushing ability. Make sure the lid is on tight. Use the “purée” or “ice crush” setting to blend the ingredients until they are relatively smooth. Then, blend on the “liquefy” or “high speed” setting for a few seconds, until completely smooth. Transfer to a glass and serve immediately.

MAKES 14 OUNCES; 1 SERVING OR 2 PORTIONS Each 1-Decadent-Disk portion (about 7 ounces) has: 104 calories, 3 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 35 mg sodium

Each 2-Decadent-Disk serving (about 14 ounces) has: 209 calories, 5 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 71 mg sodium

The smoothie was REALLY good. We all liked it, though the rest of the family didn't like the pineapple "texture" in the drink. side note: I didn't have frozen pineapple, but found a can of crushed in my cupboard. I opened it and put it in a bowl and then left it in the freezer for a bit. Frozen, non-canned stuff would have been better, I'm sure.

Anyway, I LOVE pina coladas, so the texture didn't bother me- har- and I had the 2 Decadent- Disk serving- with a splash of rum added to glass number two, since it was Saturday night and all. ;)

Today I redid the smoothie for lunch using frozen strawberries instead and the family liked that even more. I think I liked them both equally. I didn't add rum today, in case you're wondering... ;)