Sunday, October 30, 2011

Potato Leek Soup

Last week, I spent about $120 on food at Stop and Shop.  It sounds like a massive shopping, but I really didn't buy a lot of things.  Most of the money was spent on produce and meats.  I have some great ideas for dinner this week, and while I was walking through the produce section, I found some gorgeous looking leeks, in bunches of three.  I had been given a recipe for potato leek soup by my neighbor, and decided right there in the market that we would have soup this week.

I spent the day with two great friends making "Trial run" cookies for a baby shower.  It's a terribly un-seasonably cold day, and just on waking up this morning, I knew it was a potato-leek soup kind of a day.

The recipe:
  • 3 large leeks, (whites and pale green only) cut lengthwise, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Marjoram - dash
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Tabasco sauce or other red chili sauce (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper

The Method:

  • Cook leeks in butter with salt and pepper in a medium sized sauce pan. Cover pan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, checking often. Do not brown leeks - this will result in a burnt taste. 
  • Add water, broth, and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Scoop about half of the soup mixture into a blender, puree and return to pan (I used an immersion blender, and just blended half of the soup in the pot). Add marjoram, parsley, and thyme. Add a few dashes of chili sauce to taste, if desired. Add some freshly ground pepper, 1-2 teaspoons salt or more to taste.
The results:  4-6 servings of pure deliciousness.

The entire pot of soup is 30 points plus....
@ 6 servings:  5 points plus
@ 4 servings:  7 points plus


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just your typical Thursday

Today is Thursday.  Here's a rundown.

I woke up when my alarm went off at 6:30, but hit "dismiss" instead of "snooze."   I woke up again at 7:06.

It's raining outside.  As I was trying to get out of my car, get my pocketbook, laptop, lunch bag, Nalgene, and coffee out of the car, the umbrella that I was also holding flipped inside out, making the shelter from the rain ineffective.

So far, I've run 4 tests and logged 2 defects.  I've sat on 3 conference calls.  And while I've been sitting in the same place all day, 4 other conference calls have happened....I've heard them, but haven't had to participate.  Some of those meetings happened (on speaker phone) at the same time.

My role in the main system *finally* got changed (this means that I'll finally start getting paid the correct rate, but my next paycheck is going to have 9 weeks of back pay).  When they changed me, they switched my company.  This created a problem with the SAP Production portal and now I need to re-submit my access for read-only...

Yup, I guess it really IS one of those days...Maybe Ray Cruz had it right...But it's only noontime.  I am exuding positive energy, so hopefully things will improve.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I looked up the definition of Plateau on and got the following result:

I looked up the definition because I feel like it is defining my life at this moment.  I'm a big believer in the Weight Watchers philosophy, as I've stated before, but lately, I've been having a hard time. I started the program on May 31, 2011.  Today is October 25, 2011.  That's 21 weeks.  And in 21 weeks, I've only lost 13 pounds.  Now.  I'm not saying that I've had 21 perfect weeks.  That's far from the truth.  BUT, I have had many very good weeks.  I actively lost for about 10 weeks.  And then, I started with this up and down see-saw roller coaster.  

So, my solution is to try something different.  Like I've said a number of times, I know that Weight Watchers works.   I emailed with my leader today (who is so awesome) and I have 3 different options.  Here is what she wrote in the email she sent me:
  1. Do Kick Start in the PP Getting Started Book--page 87.  It is a guaranteed weight loss as the PP are counted for you, the portions sizes are controlled, and the Good Health Guidelines are included. 
  2. Track EVERYTHING and let me see it by email (from eTools) or bring a tracker to the Mtg.  That way we can customize the plan for you.  (Weigh & Measure everything too)  
  3. Simply Filling is fantastic but you have to eat mostly Power Foods so as not to go over the 49 WPA with non-Power Foods.  I am not wild about fat free cheese but can do SF now easily because light bread is on the list. ALSO, to do SF we MUST eat to satisfaction and not more.  The Power Foods will help you learn to slow down and eat to satisfaction not stuffed.
Here are my thoughts on these three options.  
  1. Kick Start:  I need to look this over and make a decision.
  2. I already track everything.  It's probably all about better choices.
  3. Simply filling.  I tried this when it was "Core."  I have a difficult time knowing when I'm full.
At first, before I heard from the WW Leader, I was thinking of trying the Simply Filling.  My reservations are that I'm nervous about "eating until I feel full."  I don't judge that well at all.  SO.  I think I'm going to do the kick start.  This is basically an insert in the WW book, that gives you options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It helps you pair up a grain, dairy, protein, fruit/vegetable, and healthy fat for meals.  It also gives you snack ideas.  I'm going to try this first, as I think it will help me stay better on track.

Opinions?  Thoughts?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Now that's what I call dip

This may well be some of the best Mexican dip that you'll ever eat.  I often make it for parties, and I also find myself making it for us on a random football Sunday (My sister Stephanie originated the recipe, so I can't take full credit - that would go to her!!):

In a 9x13 pan, layer the follow ingredients (they are listed in order of which you should put them in the pan):

1 can refried beans
2-3 avocado, mashed w salt and lemon/lime juice
1 pint sour cream
~1/3 packet taco seasoning
Shredded cheddar
Diced tomatoes
Black pepper
Diced jalopeno pepper
Chopped olives
Chopped scallions

1 bag of tostito scoops

And that's what they call delicious.  Enjoy!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Large or Venti?

Dear Starbucks:  What's the deal???

Short = 8 ounce
Tall = 12 ounce
Grande = 16 ounce
Venti = 20 ounce 
Venti Iced = 24 ounce
Trenta Iced = 31 ounce

I get it....Venti actually means twenty.  Grande means big.  So why short?  Why tall?  And why Trenta?  Trenta means thirty....Not 31.  That would be trentuno.

Don't you think we should re-name the size small to be otto, the tall to be dodici, and grande to be sessanta?  Am I just being picky??  I just don't understand the mixing of languages here!!

P.S.  I'm quite happy to hear that Starbucks is now making a "Blonde" roast.  Their dark roast really is too dark, for me at least.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Tonight was a good dinner night. On Tuesday night I took a package of ground turkey out of the freezer, but was too tired last night to cook it (After eating a turkey sandwich and some popcorn, I fell asleep at 7:30, but only because I didn't fall asleep until 3:30am and got up at 6:30 am). In any case, after asking the opinions of my friends in the "Crossroads Command Center" (the room to which I am exiled every day at work), I decided on Tacos.  Turkey Tacos.

So, on the way home from the gym tonight (45 minutes on the Summit Trainer and some free weights), I stopped at Stop and Shop for a few extra ingredients.

Tonight's shopping list:

  • 1 package "Carb Balance" tortillas (these taste just as goods as your regular tortillas but are only 2 points plus each, versus 4-6 points, depending on the brand)
  • 1 bag of Tostito chips (which I didn't even end up opening...I compared the regular and the multigrain, they're the same point plus value, but the multigrain are more expensive...)
  • 1 small tub of Light sour cream
  • 1 head of Boston Lettuce (I usually don't buy Boston Lettuce, but it was delicious)
  • 1 pkg of Skinny Cow garlic and herb cheese (for me - so good, not for tacos)
  • 1 loaf of potato bread (for lunches, not for tacos)
  • 1 bag of Cape Cod 40% reduced fat Salt and Vinegar chips (Scott's request, once again not for the tacos)
Total Price tag:  $20.56.  Not too bad....

At home, I already had the ground turkey (93% lean), taco seasoning, black beans, brown rice, tomatoes, scallions, and olives.

The method (super easy, by the way)

Get the rice on the stove first, as it takes the longest (2 servings - 1/2 cup rice and 1 1/3 cup water, boil and then reduce for 30 minutes).
Open the can of black beans, heat on the stove.  I didn't drain and rinse...I just put the entire can in.
Brown up the ground Turkey, once it's browned, drain it (there was hardly any fat to drain), put back on the stove, add 3/4 cup of water and some taco seasoning (didn't put the whole package, because I find it to be too strong).  Once it gets thick, lower the heat to keep it warm.
Clean and chop the lettuce, tomato, olives, and scallions
Seriously, that's it. I set everything up on the counter in a "helpy selfy" (As my mother would say) manner, and there you have it!  

Total time to cook dinner:  30 minutes...(Literally a 30 minutes meal.  The rice took the longest to cook).  Total Points Plus for the taco pictured above:  6.  And, I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!!!!!  How awesome is that??

Easy to eat healthy???

Exercising makes me want to eat healthy.

I went to the gym Monday and Tuesday.  Monday I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes (that included the cool-down).  Tuesday, I went on the quasi-sort of elliptical/stair master for 45 minutes.  I don't know what it's called.  It's like a combination of the two.  In any case, I think I burned at least 200 more calories today.  (I finally figured out what the machine was - after about an hour of google-ing.  It's a Summit Trainer by Life Fitness - awesome awesome machine).

Monday night, I made a quasi-chicken marsala.  It was OK, but nothing more.  I tried to eat the leftovers for lunch Tuesday, but they were awful.  To make the dish, I basically dredged some chicken in flour, pan fried them, then made a sauce with onions and mushrooms with stock and wine.  Put the chicken back in, and let it simmer.  It was good when I first made it.  Not good at all leftover.  With the chicken, I made baked potato and salad.

I quasi-calculated the points to be 12 points for 2 pieces of chicken and then points for the potato and points for the salad.

Tuesday, I decided on a last-minute meal when I got home from the gym.  We took down ground beef to defrost Monday night, so I knew the meal had to be centered around that.  I had bought a bunch of cookbooks a few months ago that I haven't made anything from yet, so tonight was the night.  I decided on a shepherd's pie.  The recipe I found was actually to be made with ground chicken, but I improvised (It also called for red bell pepper, which I didn't have and substituted with celery....It was actually a good choice.  I also added in corn, which the recipe didn't call for, but I felt would be good).  Then, after I made it, I loaded the recipe into my weight watchers recipe builder.  Result:  10 points plus per serving (6 large servings in the whole dish).  

I didn't take pictures of either dish, but oh well.  The Shepherd's Pie took about the same amount of time to make as the Chicken, but the Shepherd's pie was much much tastier (My husband agreed), and it was healthier and more well balanced.  I think the fact that I had a better workout on Tuesday made me want to eat healthier.  And even if the dish wasn't healthier, I at least wanted to know exactly how many points plus it was.

I have found (in the past and even now) that exercising has made me want to eat healthier.  I've heard this a million times, but sometimes you just need to experience something for yourself before it sinks in (you also need to be in the right frame of mind when you experience it):  Exercising is not only good for your body, but it's fantastic for your mind.  It really is.  I was honestly afraid when I made the Shepherd's pie, that it would put my points through the roof, but I was (very) pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday night I took down a pound of ground turkey, however I was too tired to cook Wednesday when we got home from work.  SO.....I wonder what's in store for tonight?!?!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Change is Good

May 8, 2010 was the best day, ever.  At least it was in my opinion.  Wedding day.  I married my best friend.  

I never doubted the fact that I would change my name.  I knew that I wanted to and I have always known that I would do it.  I did change my name.  Two days after we got home from our Honeymoon (May 24, 2010), I went to City Hall, got a copy of our Marriage License, then went to the Social Security Office and changed my name.  I have to say, that for about two good weeks, I felt like I didn't have an identity.  They took my old SSCard, and it was a couple weeks later, I finally got the new one.  At that point, I went through the horrible process of changing my name.  I call it horrible, because I had to contact every single account I possessed and send in the documentation to change my name.

I'm talking:  Health Insurance (the entire system at work), Mortgage Account, Bank Accounts/Checks (In all honesty, I crossed out my maiden name and wrote in my married name on about 50-60 checks before it was time to reorder them), Credit Cards, and Utility Bills.  In many cases, the accounts actually needed a copy of my marriage license in order to change the name.  It actually took months to complete the process.

Today is October 18, 2011.  It is 528 days (17 months 10 days) since the wedding.  Today I changed my email address.

It has probably been more time consuming and more annoying than changing all of those other accounts.  Maybe it wasn't necessary, but I emailed everyone in my contact book that I was changing my email address.  Then, I imported all my old emails from the old address to the new address (it's still in process).  Then, I put an automatic-forward on the old account.  Then, I changed my email address on my blackberry.  Then, I imported all my contacts and pictures, and changed my Google+ account and my Blogger account.

I'm exhausted!  But happy!  :o)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10 for $10

After a delicious breakfast at T's this morning (in order to cure my hangover - I seriously can't drink like I used to...), Scott and I went to the supermarket.  My goal was to get some more meats for dinner for the week, as well as some other necessities. 

As we walked into the aisle with all the macaroni, I saw that Prince was having a sale, 10 boxes for $10.  Normally, I don't buy Prince.  For some reason, I have a thing for Barilla, and usually keep to their brands but I'm not a person to ignore a sale.  As we were picking out some different types to buy, I noticed that a number of the boxes of macaroni weren't even a full pound!  They were only 12 ounces, yet they were still in the 10 for $10 category!

What has the world come to that we can't actually sell a full pound of macaroni, and resort to jipping the American Consumer 4 ounces?  If they're going to only give us 3/4 of a pound, then I deserve to pay only 75 cents rather than the full dollar!  Am I wrong??

Ahh, my rant for the day.  Before I close out this topic altogether, it's important for me to mention that only 1 out of the 7 pounds of macaroni that we bought were actually 12 ounces - everything else was the full pound.
In other news, I have formulated half a plan for dinner this week.  I had bought some peppers last week at the supermarket, but didn't use them for anything so we picked up some sausage today and have sausage and peppers cooking away in the Crock Pot as I type.  For the rest of the week, I'm thinking of making something with chicken (I bought some mushrooms, I'm thinking of making chicken marsala), as well as Spicy Turkey Burgers (I have this amazing recipe for turkey burgers with Dill and Hot Sauce - it's so delicious).  I also have some ground beef and steaks in the freezer, so I think I'm sure I'll use at least one of those for another mid-week meal.  I think I learned a lot last week in terms of cooking dinner.  Here are a few of the important things I'll be keeping in mind:
  • It's really important to know what you're going to make before you defrost anything.  If not, you may be stuck with chicken but with nothing to fix it with.
  • The vegetables are key - they really help embellish a dish as well as add flavor
  • Buying a small bag of mini-potatoes is unnecessary.  A regular 5-lb bag of all purpose potatoes will do you fine.
  • As long as you know what you're going to make, and you have everything you need, dinner will only take minutes to put together.
Over the past couple years, I haven't cooked that much dinner.  But it's really easy!  I'm excited for what this week will bring.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pork Loin with Spring Vegetables

So, day three of me cooking like an adult.  Once again, a simple task.  This was Wednesday Night's meal and it proved to be quite good, although not quite what I had hoped it to be.  Once again, the recipe came from my Weight Watchers cook book, and I think it has helped me to get the general idea of cooking a pork loin, although I may change a few things when I make this again.

The Recipe:
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
3/4 tsp salt
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 pound baby potatoes, cut in half
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 cup baby carrots
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 tsp black olive

Sprinkle pork with chives and 1/4 tsp salt.  Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat.  Add pork and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Transfer pork to roasting pan and combine with artichokes, potatoes, asparagus, carrots, oil, remaining salt and pepper (these were all mixed together prior to being transferred to roasting pan).  The vegetables should be arranged around the pork.

Roast, stirring vegetables once, until vegetables are tender and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 60*F, about 25 minutes.  Let pork stand 5 minutes before slicing in 12 slices.  Serve with vegetables.

The result:

What I actually did & my feelings on the dish:  I added onions, and since I couldn't find frozen artichoke hearts, I omitted them.  Also, I put too many carrots.  The pork wasn't browned enough.  I was afraid to let it brown too much, and I shouldn't have been.  It was good, but browning it a bit more would have made it better.  Also, there wasn't enough flavor.  The vegetables were good, but in reality, the only thing that actually flavored the meat (as far as seasonings/herbs) was salt, pepper and chives.  So the pork was delicious, it was moist, it wasn't dried out, but it needed more flavor.  Maybe some garlic, mushrooms, less carrots and the artichokes, and I think it will taste completely different.  Also, because I used frozen asparagus, it was almost over-cooked, whereas the carrots were almost under-cooked.  I didn't like the mixture.  Next time, it will need to be done with all fresh ingredients rather than a mix of fresh and frozen.

Oh, and by the way, I actually used a 1-pound pork loin (which is what the recipe called for).  There's NO WAY you could slice it into 12 pieces, serve 4 people and all be satisfied.  I sliced it into 8 pieces, and served two people, and thought that was a more realistic amount to fill me and Scott.

Overall, a good dish, but it definitely could use some tweaking.  I definitely have some ideas for the next time I make this, and I think it will be just as easy.  :o)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Escarole and Beans

Escarole and Beans is something that my mom used to make once in a while when we were kids.  It's one of those "comfort foods" that brings me back to my childhood.  I remember sitting in the kitchen, and digging in.  It's another very easy meals, and best of all - it's a "one pot wonder!"  There's nothing better than only needed to wash one pot.  

I found the recipe in my Weight Watchers cookbook (It was called White Bean and Escarole Soup) and as soon as I saw it, I decided.  This is it.  

Today's recipe:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (My garlic was massive, so I only used 3 cloves)
1 (1-lb) head of escarole, cleaned and chopped
4 (14.5 ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (I had a 48 oz box, with a cup removed.  I used what I had left and substituted water for the last cup)
1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes (I also added in red pepper flakes and sauteed those with the garlic).  Add escarole, in batches, if necessary, and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes (I cooked the ecarole for more than 2 minutes...I'd say closer to 5 minutes).

Add broth and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 minutes (I would say that I simmered this for closer to 20 minutes.  I didn't think 10 minutes would be enough).  Add beans and pepper and cook until heated through, 2 minutes longer (Once again, I cooked longer than 2 minutes.  Probably 5-10 minutes).

Ladle soup in 4 large shallow soup bowls and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan (I never added cheese onto my Escarole and Beans as a kid....I decided to skip this step).

The step that the weight watchers book leaves out is this:  Take an English muffin, toast it, and ladle the soup over the English muffin.  It adds a little bit of something that is otherwise missing :o)

Overall, I'd say that this meal was a success.  It didn't taste exactly as I remembered it from when my mom and Nonni used to make it, but it was good.  I'll have to make sure I get their recipe and compare to see what I did different.

Day 2 of being an Adult:  Still pretty easy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pot Roast

If you've never cooked a Pot Roast in a crock pot before, then your name is probably Camille.  Seriously.  It's one of the easiest meals I've ever made, and all it took was 5 minutes of prep.  I had originally planned on making a Pot Roast in a dutch oven (the child in me always laughs when I hear/say dutch oven).  This plan was based on a recipe in my Weight Watcher cook book.  However, I ended up setting the crock pot and using a recipe from a Crock Pot book instead.  Such an easy alternative.  It avoided the need for me to tend the stove...And when I got home this afternoon from doing laundry at my dad's, my house smelled delicious.

Today's recipe:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 3-4 lb bottom round (I actually had bought a 2-lb round, so this is what I used)
1 15-oz can beef broth (I bought fat free, low sodium)
1 Tbsp Salt (or however much you want)
1 Tbsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Paprika
Potatoes (I used fingerling potatoes and cut them in half)
Baby Carrots (I used baby carrots)
Onion (I used 3 small/medium onions and sliced them about 1/2")

Technically I was supposed to brown the roast in olive oil in the crock pot, and then take it out, put half the seasonings on it, put the onions in, and cook those a bit, and then add the roast back in with the veggies and broth.  

Yea, that didn't happen.  I started trying to brown the roast, but I saw that was going to take forever, so I took it out, dumped all the veggies into the crock pot, put in the seasonings, the stock, mixed it all together and then nestled the meat in everything.

6 hours on high later, pure deliciousness.  The one thing I found super amusing is how much the roast shrunk through the cooking process.  It looks so small!  But the flavor - OUTSTANDING!

Day one, and so far I'd say it's pretty easy acting like an adult.... :o)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Learning how to be an adult

Yesterday was the first day I went food shopping in a long time.  It's possibly been a month.  Literally.  Last Sunday, I made a macaroni with pesto sauce with chicken.  It was "ok," but the chicken was all dry and it really didn't taste that good.  Like a good husband, Scott ate it, and even said it was good.  There were two containers of leftovers, which I ate for lunch this week, not because I wanted to, but because it was there.  The reason I chose this for dinner?  It was all that was available.  For a visual, my refrigerator was pretty sad yesterday before I went to the market (yes, that's juice, water, eggs - 1 egg to be exact, a jar of pickled peppers and 2 bottles of beer):  

It was actually a great opportunity to thoroughly clean the refrigerator.

So, after a week of ordering food via Foodler, I decided that the time had come to act like an adult, and prepare for the week this weekend.  On Thursday I went through my cookbook, and decided on four quality meals for the week.  I figure there will be leftovers with each meal, so that will suffice for either lunch, or even a quick re-heat the next night.  Saturday was my day for food shopping.

This week's menu:

  • Pot Roast with Fall / Winter Vegetables  
  • Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spring Vegetables
  • Rosemary Chicken with Balsamic Glazed Onions and Polenta
  • Escarole and Beans

My shopping list was pretty extensive, as I needed absolutely everything.  $120 later, and I have a stocked fridge.  I'm ready for the week ahead.

I also took the opportunity to try to buy some of the fruits and vegetables that I talked about in Stuck in a Rut.  I decided that I would not buy apples, as my history with them (and throwing them away) so I bought grapes and grapefruit.  I also bought carrots (some will be used in the Pot Roast and the Roasted Pork, but the rest are good for snacking), as well as celery (delicious with peanut butter).  I also bought some yogurt and a few things for the pantry.

Here's to hoping that we have a week of delicious meals!  I will report at the end of the week the results, as well as next week's menu!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall has arrived!

I feel like one of the tell-tale signs that fall is here is when you start baking with either apples or pumpkin.  There's just something about those two ingredients that make me so excited.  To me, it means fall is here.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays (seriously, a holiday that revolves around food), and the beginning of fall means that Thanksgiving is only a couple months away.  While this weekend is totally un-fall-ish (it's supposed to be 80 degrees today and 85 tomorrow), I still felt the need to break out a can of pumpkin and make some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.

This recipe is so delicious, and yet so simple.  Those of you who went to Oaklawn Elementary may recognize the recipe....I'm pretty sure that just about everyone made this in 2nd grade, and then got to take the recipe home to our parents (the recipe that I brought home was graded for handwriting....It says at the top "All of your work should be this neat").

For your viewing pleasure:
       Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
       3 cups flour
       2 cups sugar
       2 tsp cinnamon
       2 tsp baking powder
       2 tsp baking soda
       4 eggs
       1 cup oil
       1-15oz can pumpkin puree (***NOT pumpkin pie mix)
       1 package chocolate chips

       Grease and flour tube pan.  Coat chocolate chips in 2 tsp of the allotted flour.  Mix together all dry ingredients.  Add oil and mix well.  Add eggs and pumpkin.  Mix well and then add in chocolate chips.  Bake for 1 hour at 350 degree (I often find that 1 hour isn't enough time....Check after one hour, and then bake longer, if needed).  

The result is something delicious.

Oh, and I made a note on the bottom of my own recipe....It says:  "If making for Scott, use Milk Chocolate Chips and put some on top, too!"  haha - it is really good with the chocolate chips on top, too!  I didn't have enough today to put them on top, but I recommend doing it!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stuck in a Rut.

I'm in a rut.  I remember going to my WW@Work meetings throughout the summer and being hearing so many of the ladies complain about how hard it is to follow a good eating plan throughout the summer because of the cookouts, etc.  Personally, I think that it's so easy to eat healthy during the summer!  Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Blueberries, you name it, I love to eat it!  My challenge is the fall and the winter.

In all honesty, I've found that as I've gotten older, my love for apples has gone from so-so to completely non-existent.  I can go to the grocery store and buy a half-dozen apples, and throw all six away three weeks later.  I just don't like them, or I at least don't like the idea of eating them.  Unless they're in pie.  And I'm's a little difficult making an entire pie for just me and Scott.  It doesn't work out too well.  Maybe I ate too many apples as a child...

Throughout the fall and winter, you have Halloween (candy), Thanksgiving (turkey, pumpkin pie, apple pie), Christmas (Antipasto, Ham, Roast Beef, pure deliciousness).  My argument is that it's much harder to follow a good eating plan throughout the fall/winter.  Plus, no more of the delicious fruit selections (at least for me).

I posed the question in my WW@W meeting yesterday:  What are some good fall fruits??  

I unfortunately didn't get a lot of good answers....Most people were astonished that I'm not a fan of apples....And they just started shouting out names of fruit for the hell of it, as well as saying that I should just eat canned fruit instead.  So I did some research.  According to this website, here are in-season fruits for the fall (most of these are the same for winter, too):

Apples, Bananas, Clementines, Cranberries, Grapes, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Kumquat, Oranges, Pears, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Quinces, Satsuma Mandarin Oranges, Tangerines.  

My opinion on this list:  I don't like apples, I like bananas, I like clementines, I have never eaten cranberries outside of muffins, I love grapes (I thought they were a summer fruit), I like grapefruit, I have never really eaten a Kiwi so I may need to experiment with that, I have never even heard of Kumquat, I like oranges, I'm so-so on pears, I have never had a persimmon, pomegranates are good but they take too much effort to eat, I have never heard of quinces, I have never eaten a mandarin orange and I like oranges better than tangerines.

How's that?  I guess I have a bit of mind-broadening to do....And should try a few new things.

The other thing that the ladies at WW@W suggested was that I just have jarred/canned vegetables.  I'm sorry, but I really have a problem with these.  They're just mushy.  And syrupy.  And totally not my thing.  

I was also told that I can lump "Fruits" and "Vegetables" together.  I always have a habit of thinking that I need to eat a substantial amount of BOTH every day.  But in reality, I don't need to have 2.5 of each every day.  I just need to have 5 of some kind of combination of fruits and vegetables.....I can even have all fruit OR all vegetables.  

In season vegetables?  (Same website....)
Avocados, Beans, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Rabe, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery Root, Chestnuts, Collards, Garlic, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Parsnips, Pumpkin, Rutabaga, Salsify, Snow Peas, Spinach, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Watercress

I'd say my choices with vegetables are much higher.  There are some even on that list that I've never heard so, so I'll try some of those, too....But the

Let's see how this week goes (for weight loss) - it will be interesting after tonight's dinner at Spikes.....  I'll report in on Tuesday with my results, especially with how I did with eating more fruits and vegetables....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Word of the day...

...In Italian.

Every day, I get an email from Transparent Language with the "Word of the Day" in Italian.  I originally set this up because I wanted to increase my Italian Vocabulary.  I've found it pretty interesting, although I don't know how well my vocabulary has really improved (or increased).  I'm not sure if getting an email a day with a word and a sentence has really helped.

But I'd like to share with you what I have learned just over the past few days.

What do you think???

Tuesday October 4, 2011
Italian word:                 zio
English translation:     uncle
Part of speech:           noun
Example sentence 
Italian:                         Lo zio Attilio è emigrato in Francia.
English:                      Uncle Attilio emigrated to France.

Monday October 3, 2011
Italian word:                 appartenere
English translation:     to belong
Part of speech:           verb
Example sentence 
Italian:                         Questo castello appartiene al principe Enrico e alla sua famiglia.
English:                      This castle belongs to Prince Henry and his family.

Sunday October 2, 2011
Italian word:                 economico
English translation:     cheap
Part of speech:           adjective
Example sentence 
Italian:                         Faccio sempre la spesa in questo negozio, è tutto molto economico.
English:                      I always shop in this store, everything is very cheap.

Saturday October 1, 2011
Italian word:                 indietro
English translation:     behind
Part of speech:           adverb
Example sentence 
Italian:                         Sono indietro con i compiti, questo fine-settimana dovrò studiare.
English:                      I'm behind in my homework, I'll have to study this weekend.

Friday September 30, 2011
Italian word:                 accorgersi
English translation:     to notice
Part of speech:           verb
Example sentence 
Italian:                         Non vi siete accorte che ho cambiato pettinatura?
English:                      Haven't you noticed that I changed my hairdo?

Italian word:            indietro

English translation: behind
Part of speech:       adverb
Example sentence 
Italian:                     Sono indietro con i compiti, questo fine-settimana dovrò studiare.
English:                   I'm behind in my homework, I'll have to study this weekend.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Guilty Pleasures & Funny Habits

Everyone has some guilty pleasures and funny habits, and I am no exception.  Here are a few:

  • I log into Facebook at least once daily, in addition to the multiple times a day I check it on my blackberry
    • I honestly hate the new Facebook.  I hate the layout, I hate the stalkerish values, I hate the fact that people I don't know can all of a sudden "like" and comment on my pictures.  In the words of my awesome Nonni, "I don't go for that."
  • If I'm going to drink, I want top shelf.  
    • I don't do it often, but I indulge in cocktails, and I like good alcohol.  If I'm going to get a Martini, I want Kettle One.  And if I'm going to get a Gin and Tonic, I want Tanqueray.  
  • I play the same songs over and over and over.
    • I can't help it.  I like what I like.  When I go to the gym and turn on my iPod, more often than not, I go to the Playlist "Top played songs."  Those are all the songs I know I like.
  • I read Harry Potter and Twilight over and over and over
    • I do read new literature, I swear.  But if I'm just going to bed, and want something to put me to sleep, that I know isn't going to get my blood racing and keep me up throughout the night, I like to read something I've read before.  I like Harry Potter and I like Twilight.  I've read them both.  A lot.
  • I refuse to jump on the fat free bandwagon.  Give me the full fat!!!
    • Yes, I'm on Weight Watchers.  I understand that you have the choice of eating fat free everything, thereby allowing yourself to eat more.  But honestly.  If you go to a friend's house, or go out to dinner, are you going to bring your own fat free ingredients with you?  No, I didn't think so.  I'd much rather indulge in the full fat, and learn the meaning of "Portion Control" while enjoying what I'm eating.
  • Cookbooks.  I have a ton.  I don't use hardly any of them.
    • I have an obsession with cookbooks.  I have tons.  I buy them, and people buy them for me.  I look through them, and then neglect to bake/cook any of the recipes.  But in all honesty, I use 2 more than anything else:  The Joy of Cooking and King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.  They are the best, no matter what.
  • Dancing with the Stars / Switched at Birth
    • Yes, I watch both of these shows.  Dancing with the Stars is my #1.  I love it, and I also which I could dance.  Or at least take dancing lessons.  And yes, I also watch Switched at Birth on ABC Family.  It's one of the worst shows ever, with horrible actors (although possibly not as bad as the actors on Secret Life of the American Teenager).  It's like a trainwreck.  I can't help watching it.
  • I buy my lunch almost every day.  
    • I NEED to start packing it.  We're on a money saving plan.  I need to let go of this habit.  The funny thing is, I often don't enjoy what I buy.  It would be so much better if I just took the leftovers.  Seriously.
  • Coffee.  Iced Coffee.  Coffee Milk.  I love coffee!
    • No justification needed here....
  • I play with my hair.  All the time.
    • I don't know why.  I can blow it out all pretty, and then I play with it and it looks a mess.  I envy people who can sit through the day without messing with their hair and thereby having beautiful hair.  Can I do it?
  • Driving on Empty
    • I blame my mother for this habit.  She used to do it all the time.  I can't count the number of times we all loaded into the car (my dad driving) and had to stop for gas because the light was on.  The worst part of this is....I know exactly how far I can go once the light comes on.  That's bad, isn't it?
  • Scratch Tickets
    • I haven't bought on in a while, but one day Scott pulled a whole bunch of loser cards out of my trunk.  I bought them, lost and unsuccessfully hid the evidence.  I always think I might just get a winner.  It's never going to happen.  
That's a pretty substantial list.  What are your guilty pleasures and funny habits???