Back to Reality

Yep, tomorrow is back to reality.  I’ll actually have to set an alarm tomorrow! :(  But I’ve had a great week, and got everything accomplished that I set out to. 😀

For breakfast I had 1 cup of diced potatoes, Pam fried with 1/2 ounce of cheese, 1 egg and 1 sausage patty (which I cut in half to give myself the illusion on having two!)  Oh, and I may have splashed it with Frank’s hot sauce and Tabasco! 😀

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For lunch I had one serving of my BSI – entry.  I bought broccoli when I went to the store, so I am going to add steamed broccoli when we have it for dinner one night this week.  Don’t worry Tony, you’ll be having bacon wrapped meatloaf!

After spending time on the computer catching up on what everyone is doing, I put my menu together.  Two things I am going to be making for my lunch this week with leftover turkey is Kevin’s Turkey Pho Soup (i couldn’t find star anise – anyone know where to even find it at the store?)  and then subbing turkey for chicken in my Bahn-Mi Style Sandwich.

But I hit the gym on the way.  I didn’t feel like running, so I did the spin bike.  What I do is a 5 minute warm up, then 5 minute hill climb (just tighten the resistance) at 50 rpm, then bring the resistance down and sprint for 5 minutes at 95 rpm, and alternate.  I ended up going for 45 minutes.  In the end I biked 8.01 miles!  I had to do the conversion at home since this bike was in kilometers!

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My step-son Joe ended up staying for dinner, so I made a taco fiesta!  I knew I wanted a serving of tortilla chips, so I swapped out my corn tortillas for boston bibb lettuce.

  • 4 lettuce cups
  • 2 ounces taco meat
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese
  • .25 cup canned black beans
  • .25 cup canned white shoepeg corn
  • 2 tablespoons Mild Taco Sauce
  • Salsa Verde
  • Hot Banana Peppers
  • 1 ounce of tortilla chips
  • 1 ounce of guacamole

Holy yum, was this good!  I lined everything up in the kitchen and everyone just helped themselves.  Makes for a quick clean up too (thanks for cleaning the kitchen Hannah!).

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My grocery store makes the best salsa verde – luckily its too spicy for the rest of my family, so its all mine!  Although, it does have onions in it so I have to puree it :D  Yep – only $1!

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Stats for the Day

  • 1251 calories
  • 69 fat
  • 106 carbs
  • 52 protein (kinda low)
  • 13 fiber (kinda low too)
  • 45 minute on spin bike for 8.01 miles! 😀

Off to put my breakfast and lunch together for work.  I checked my email yesterday, and as of then, I had 521 emails! Yikes!  Hope everyone had a great long weekend – see you tomorrow night!

BSI – Flax!

Holly over at The Balanced Broad chose Flax as this weeks ingredient.  I almost forgot because of Thanksgiving, but I read Emily’s blog today, and she reminded me – thanks Em! 😀

I actually bought flax seeds a couple weeks ago and they’ve been in my cupboard ever since, unopened!  The obvious thing to do would be to make some sort of muffin, or maybe a breakfast cookie.  But you know how I love my cheese!

Biz’s Mac N Cheese

  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta, any shape
  • 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups chicken broth (no milk in this one!) (I used my soup base mixture)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • cracked pepper
  • (don’t add any salt – the chicken broth has plenty!)
  • seasoning of your choice (I used Soul Food seasoning)
  • topping: 2 tablespoons flax seed, 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (mix well)

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Meanwhile, melt butter.  Add flour and mix into a pasta and cook for 2 minutes.  Slowly add the chicken broth to make a roux.  Remove from heat after it has thickened (and I was skeptical it would because of the broth, but it was nice and thick!) add cheese and stir until melted.  Add in cooked pasta and mix well, put in casserole dish and sprinkle flax seed mixture over the top.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until cheese sauce is nice and bubbly.  Had I had broccoli I would have added it! 😀

Makes Six Servings:  Each serving is 372 calories, 19 fat, 33 carbs, 16.6 protein and 2.1 fiber

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The perfect bite!  I love how the topping got crunchy and almost added a nutty flavor to the mac n cheese.  One con for me:  i thought it was a tad salty, but my step-son Joe, a salt lover, said it was great!

Thanks again for hosting this week Holly! 😀

State Champs!!

Hannah’s high school took the state championship in football today for the first time in school history!  Not only that, but their girls volleyball took state two weeks ago, making it the first sport in school history to win state – two champs in two weeks!  It was very exciting.  While the volleyball games were not televised, the football game was – Tony has been enjoying watching the high school games today – he said one game was one of the best games he’s ever seen, even including college and NFL!

What a beautiful day we had!  I have to love it when I am stringing lights on our deck in a t-shirt! 

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I am sure my regular readers know I gravitate towards the $1 produce rack to see what kind of deals I can get.  I just found out they have a bakery sale rack too!  It’s just day old bakery items for up to 75% off!   I bought 5 bagels for $1.29!  This mornings breakfast: 3 ounce everything bagel, 1/4 cup egg beaters, 1/2 ounce goat cheese, 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese.  It was cheezy delicious!

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Then Hannah and I went to Tree Classics – a giant winter wonderland!  The place was huge!  And although I saw many cute snowman items, I didn’t buy one – I was on a mission to buy LED lights for our deck.

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We saw some of the biggest artificial trees I’ve ever seen! 

So not only did I have tons of bags of garbage when I cleaned out the basement yesterday, I also had five bags of clothes to giveaway.  So our next stop was Good Will!  Not only did I get a tax write off, but they gave us a coupon!

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I bought 6 matching wine glasses for $4, a new Sony alarm clock for $3.99, a couple shirts and some strings of lights that have garland attached for decorating inside our house.  Hannah and I could literally spend hours in this place!

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Nope, she didn’t buy the sunglasses!  By the time we left there we were hangry, so we made a quick pick up at Taco Bell.  I got the 3 crispy taco deal.

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Then after folding more laundry (only one more load to do!) Hannah and I hit the gym.  We always forget that they close at 5:00 on the weekends, so I squeezed in what I could:

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Dinner was making something from our leftovers:  Turkey Tetrazzini!

Biz’s Low Fat Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 12 ounces uncooked noodles
  • 6 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1.75 cups skim milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 12 ounces chopped cooked turkey breast
  • 1 cup canned peas, drainied
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 ounces swiss cheese
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • no sherry because I think it tastes like ass

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 375.  Cook mushrooms in Pam for about 10 minutes, set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter then stir in flour and cook for about 3 minutes.

Gradually stir in the milk, broth, and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Drain pasta, then in a large bowl (I used my big stock pot that I just had the pasta in) and mix together the pasta, sauce, mushrooms, turkey, peas, the Swiss cheese and salt and pepper. 

Place in a large casserole dish.  Mix together 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese with 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs and put over the top.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until it is bubbling and top is golden.

Makes 8 – one cup servings:  367 calories, 11.4 fat, 40 carbs, 1.5 fiber, 24.5 protein

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While I don’t like eating mushrooms, I love the flavor, so I just picked them out and gave them to the dog! 😀

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I had a salad on the side:

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Stats for the Day:

  • 1357 calories
  • 47 fat
  • 110 carbs
  • 71 protein
  • 13 fiber (I need to kick this up a notch!)
  • 15 minute walk with Ed
  • 35 minute, 2.5 mile run

Now I am off to make sauce – I lucked out at the $1 produce rack!

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Look at how many tomatoes I got for $2!

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One more day of staycation!  My last project is to clean my deep freeze tomorrow and do a complete inventory of both the refrigerator and freezer – I want to use up as much stuff as I can before bringing more food in the house! 

See you tomorrow! 😀

Snowmen!

Yep, the day after Thanksgiving and it’s officially snowman time!  I switch purses:

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And I brought out my first snowman!  He’s skating, but I just love his face!  😀

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After a leisurely morning, I finally made breakfast around 10.  1.5 ounces of my homemade bread, 1.5 ounces sliced ham, 1 Pam fried egg and 1 ounce of mozzarella with half an apple.  Even though you can’t see it, the HAM was the star of this sammie!  Much to Tony’s dismay, I plan on making ham macaroni and cheese with some of the rest of the leftovers!

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Then I had a project that was on my list of things to do while I was off of work:  THE BASEMENT!  While the rest of our house is always in a pretty clean state, the basement over time just becomes a dumping ground.  And as the piles get bigger, the less enthused I am to do anything about it.  And poor Hannah, my Type A neat freak sighs every time she walks down there!  But today was the day!  And seriously, all told, I probably was only down there a total of four hours!  But in that 4 hours I managed to bag thirteen bags of garbage!  Plastic containers with no lids, art supplies that have long dried up – all gone!  It feels good! 😀

By then I was starving.  We decided to meet up with Hannah after her work.  While this place is famous for its wings, Tony and I hate that the sauce they put on just pools in the bottom of the basket.  So I went with:

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Holy cow was this good!  I had it Southwest, which had pepper jack cheese, onion straws (think tiny straight onion rings) and a spicy southwest ranch sauce.  While I had every intention of eating half of it, before I knew it, it was all gone!  Along with about 10 curly fries!

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I didn’t feel overly stuffed at the time, but about an hour later, I was STUFFED!  So I felt guilty and went to the gym!  I did the elliptical:

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And burned this many calories:

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I then did 5 minutes of abs on the balance ball – I felt a whole lot better!  And I am still not hungry, so I may have a 300 calorie snack later on tonight.

Stats for the Day:

  • 1,131 calories (+300 later on)
  • 45 fat
  • 110 carbs
  • 71 protein
  • 6 fiber 😦
  • 45 minute elliptical
  • 5 minute abs
  • 15 minute walk with the dog

Hannah has no work tomorrow – she’s been working so much this week we haven’t spent hardly any time together.  So our plan is to hit TONS of thrift stores tomorrow and go to Tree Classics to maybe get some LED lights for our deck.  Hope everyone enjoyed their Friday and didn’t have to work!  See you tomorrow.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Every year it surprises me how after hours and hours of preparing for a meal like today, the food is usually consumed in under an hour!  But I am so happy with how everything turned out!  The best decision we made was to brine our turkey this year.  I was making two pies, one apple and one pecan, but only had one pie plate.  So yesterday Tony and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and as we were heading to the checkout, I saw this bag:

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Just imagine a super thick ziploc bag!  This one holds up to a 25 pound turkey, good thing because Tony brought us home a 20 pound turkey!

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The basic premise is that for every 16 cups of water that it takes to cover the bird, use 1 cup of salt.  I decided to do a split of salt and sugar though.  It took 36 cups of water to cover the bird, so I added 1.5 cups of kosher (no iodine!) and 1.5 of sugar, some peppercorns and fresh rosemary.

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This sucker was HEAVY!  It sat in our downstairs fridge overnight.  And since we couldn’t decide between Turkey or Ham, we had both!  The ham cooked on the gas grill while the turkey took center stage on the Weber charcoal grill.  I put the ham in a cast iron skillet, added 1 cup of water to the bottom and then tented with a big piece of foil.  This ham took 4 hours at a constant temp of 350 degrees.  Love that about a gas grill!

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So we were trying to figure out how to cook the turkey.  I mean, it was huge, we didn’t want to put it right on the grill so I had the idea of putting it on a pizza pan that could get to high temps.  We had coals on two sides, no coals in the middle and then placed a pan of apple chips on one side of the coals.

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Tony put the top on and said “just set it and forget it!”  We both came back inside (it was fricken cold!) when Tony looked out and saw flames shooting out the top of the Weber!  He said “grab something for me to lift this turkey off!”  Unfortunately, his hands are too big to fit into my oven mits, so I scrambled to get him some dish towels.  And all the while I was thinking “I really want a picture of this!”  But we had to save the turkey!  And save it just in time!

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Our fatal error?  The angle of our grill in the back yard caused fat from the turkey to pool on the pizza pan, and then drizzled over the side, onto the apple chips, which quickly caught on fire!  Don’t let the char fool you – this bird was amazingly juicy!  Thanks for saving the turkey Tony!!

For appetizers I had a spinach and artichoke dip (no picture), best shrimp cocktail ever, and cheese and crackers.  You know I couldn’t have a holiday without some sort of cheese! :D  The brie was my favorite!

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In December’s Cooking Light magazine they had a recipe for an All-Purpose Light Piecrust.  I was intrigued! 

Cooking Light’s All-Purpose Pie Crust

  • 5 ounces flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
  • 4 teaspoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Combine Flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in bowl, cut in shortening with a pastry blender (or a fork) and mix until it looks like course small pebbles.  Combine the hot water and melted butter and add to mixture, and stir just until everything is incorporated.  It is important not to overwork the dough otherwise it will be tough.  Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

I am not kidding when I tell you this is the simplest, easiest pie crust I have ever made.  It didn’t tear when I rolled it out and was easy to shape.  This one is a keeper!

First up, Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie!

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I’ve found it is easiest to roll out between two sheets of saran – so you don’t have to add more flour – it makes for a flakier crust.

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While PW’s recipe called for 1 cup of pecans, I added two!

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I made these yesterday and had them sitting on the dining room table.  Every time Tony walked by he looked at it longingly, but he made it until today!  I actually expected there to be one slice missing before today! 😀

Then onto my apple pie!  I make a mean apple pie, and learned long ago to use Fuji apples.  They hold their shape, they are always sweet and just hold up to the baking.  I switched it up a bit this year and split my apples between Granny Smith and Fuji.  So while I used the Cooking Light pie crust above, this is my apple pie filling:

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 pounds Fuji apples, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (about the juice of a lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon zest of lemon peel
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten + 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for topping

Peel apples and put in a bowl.  Since it takes a while to peel, core and cut all these apples, after each apple went into the bowl, I squeezed a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top – this prevents the apples from browning.  Once all the apples are cut, add everything up to egg white and mix well.  Pour in prepared pie shell, put second pie shell on top.  Make sure to vent the top.  Brush egg wash over top and add sugar.  Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.  Reuce oven to 325 and cook an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the top gets slightly browned.

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Keep layering – it doesn’t matter that the apples are over the top of the pie plate, the top crust will keep them all in!

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I put the top crust on, and almost forgot the egg wash so I went to the fridge.  When I turned around, I found out that Tony had made his own decoration on the top of my pie!

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Um, since his sister and my Mom were coming over, I decided to remove his addition, but it made me laugh! 😀

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My 69 year old Mom deemed this the best apple pie she’s ever eaten! :D  Thanks for coming over Mom!

I actually didn’t take too many other pictures of the food – so here are some random ones – fresh iced tea with lemon, stuffing muffins, Hannah awesome tater tot casserole, my Mom’s sugar free pumpkin pie baked in phyllo dough! 

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My plate:

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It was so delicious!  Oh, and Ed really was wondering if anyone had anything they’d like to share.  He sat so still! I liked this picture in black and white!

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So with Hannah’s amazing cleaning skills, my disaster of a small kitchen was cleaned in no time – thanks Hanners!

And thanks to my Mom, SIL Jody, Chris and Rachel for sharing our Thanksgiving Dinner!

Off to snuggle with Tony – I hope everyone had a wonderful day!  I have so much to be thankful for!! 😀