Happy Halloween!

So glad that the weather is going to be decent today – it never seemed to fail that we’d have great Chicago weather the week before and the week after Halloween, and then the day of Halloween it would be like 20 degrees and rain/snowy!

Here is Hannah’s first Halloween – she was 7 months old 😀  She was an early walker – she was walking at 10 1/2 months old.  I remember because she was invited to a birthday party and I bought her a pair of patent leather shoes – I carried her downstairs and the sound that the shoes made on my parents hardwood floor just mesmerized her – click, click, click – I think she walked back and forth between the living room and kitchen for 30 minutes straigh!

We had no plans yesterday, so I got my cleaning freak on.  I even vacuumed baseboards, moved the sofa – I did the living room, dining room, deep clean of the bathroom, put in a new plastic shower curtain, mopped the kitchen floor, cleaned the freezer and refrigerator and then did my South Beach meal plan.

For breakfast I had leftover fruit from our Halloween party and an open face breakfast sammie with a touch of chipotle tabasco sauce:

I didn’t eat breakfast until almost 11:00, so when Hannah got home from work and fixed lunch around 3:30 – I was hungry.  Now, my Mom is going to hang her head in shame – because yes, a 42 year old mom loves . . . spaghettios!

The proper way to eat spaghettios is with toasted and buttered white bread – I am confident my brother would agree!  I actually ate them with a few tostito scoops! 😀

Once we were done with lunch, Hannah and I went to a shitty thrift store and then to the grocery store.

I spent $92 dollars at the store – my sirloin tip roast was $10 alone, but it will be morphed into two leftover meals for me.

On our dinner menu next week:

  • black bean pork chili
  • taco salad
  • pork chops with balsamic glaze with green beans
  • lemon oregano chicken breasts with broccoli gratin
  • classic roast beef with mashed potatoes and carrots (that’s for dinner tonight – our farewell to carbs! – I plan on using leftover roast beef for a lunch and making a soup from the rest)

My Lunches:

  • spaghetti squash with meat marinara
  • zucchini stuffed black bean pork chili
  • roast beef and horseradish lettuce wraps
  • thai chicken soup
  • split pea soup with diced smoked ham


  • sausage, cheddar and broccoli quiche
  • zucchini and green chile breakfast casserole
  • egg veggie cheese in ham cups

I am also making Tony some egg salad and basil chicken salad for his lunches. 😀

I had leftover Butcher’s ragu and decided to make lasagna for dinner – and as mine was cooking in the oven, my twin sister called to tell me she was making lasagna too – twin powers activate! 😀  No real recipe here – I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta, added 2 eggs and Italian seasoning.  I used my leftover sauce and sprinkled mozzarella cheese over the top.

I had 1/4 of this small casserole.

Tony requested a “last breakfast” this morning, so I may be in the process of making mile high buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy.   Hannah just tasted one of these biscuits and declared them the best biscuits I’ve ever made 😀

I didn’t exercise, but I consider my 2 hours of cleaning exercise.  I think I will do a Jackie Werner video when Hannah goes to work.

Happy Halloween!





I won!

Yep, mark it an your calendars – I won a costume prize for the 4th year in a row!  Before I get to this year, my co-worker said she didn’t mind me posting the pictures from when we were lesbians for Halloween!  And the funny thing is, when we were looking at these pictures, we both remarked “what do our outfits have anything to do with being lesbian??!!”

we had our pictures on each table with sayings on the back - I thought this one killed

The funny thing is that the photographer at JC Penney was not even phased at all that three women wanted their picture taken together – it was her idea for all of us to hold pine cones in the above picture!

So my costume isn’t that elaborate, but what put me over the edge were my goody bags with homemade cookies and Halloween candy – Tony and Hannah declared my chocolate chip toffee cookies delicious, and I don’t have a picture of a single one – but they were chewy – something I’ve never been able to achieve before.

And as I handed them out I said “Love and best dishes from my kitchen to yours.”  Only a few of the men folk had no idea who Paula Deen was, even when I showed them the picture!

My pot luck contribution was copy cat Portillo’s cake.   It’s so simple!

  • 1 box super moist cake mix (can be any flavor)
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs

Then just bake according to what size pan you are using.

I used canned chocolate frosting, and then picked this up to decorate the top – I didn’t notice until I just uploaded my pictures that this is cookie decorating icing!

I just made circles on the top of the cake, then used a toothpick to make a spider web.

I had exactly two pieces left so I brought them back for Tony and Hannah – they were both pissed I took all the toffee cookies to work 😀

For breakfast I picked up this at the store on my way to work:

With 1/2 a jalapeno cheese bagel:

Someone made the crack buffalo chicken dip:

Lunch was kind of like the last supper for me before starting the South Beach diet with Tony on Monday!

I have no idea how many calories - my guess would be between 700 and 800?

It was a great party – my sister actually had a great idea – I should dress as Bobby Flay next year and walk into peoples offices and say “Are you ready for a Throw Down!”

I wanted pizza last night, but didn’t feel like cooking believe it or not!  So I picked up a $5 sausage pizza from our local grocery store and kicked it up a notch.  My side had additional pepperoni, red pepper and pickled jalapenos.

so boring as is

jazzed up

Stats for Friday:

  • no clue how many calories!
  • blood sugar average was 109 😀
  • no exercise (so I have to exercise today)

We have no particular plans today, except I need to find some recipes for Phase I of the South Beach diet.  Oh, and mop my kitchen floor – anyone want to volunteer and do that for me? 😀

Halloween Friday!

I have to admit, the first year I worked at the law firm I worked at now, and they said we dressed up for Halloween, in the back of my head I envisioned myself being the only one dressed in costume and everyone having a laugh on me!  (Did anyone see Modern Family Wednesday night – that’s what I was thinking!) But we do dress up, and I have been a costume contest winner the last three years, so the bar is set high!

Three years ago I dressed as this cartoon – I started handing out flyers to my co-workers asking if they had seen my lost dog.

Two years ago, a co-worker and I were lesbians – and Hannah was our lesbian daughter.  We even went so far as to have pictures taken of us at JC Penney using fall foliage in the background and holding pine cones.  It killed!  At the respect of my co-worker, I will not show the pictures, but it was really funny.  We put place cards on the lunch table telling people we were going to get married and where we were registered 😀

Last year I was Julia Child – in keeping with Julie & Julia coming out.  I had planned a cooking demonstration, but everyone started eating – didn’t matter – I was still a winner! 😀

And this year . . . . I am going as:

Yep!  I am dressing as Paula Deen!  I have butter wrappers stapled to a blue oxford.  I plan on wearing lots of make up and I have cookies in goody bags that I am handing out and as I hand everyone their goody bag I am going to say in my best Southern accent:  “Love and Best Dishes From My Kitchen To Yours.”  Aren’t these bags perfect??  I bought them last year at Good will for .10 cents a bag!

I think Tony and I are in a bit of “before our diet starts” mode!  I am trying to think of all the carbs I can eat before our South Beach diet starts on Monday!

Breakfast was a taco wrap with spinach, bacon, eggs and cheddar with 1/2 a Fuji apple.  Breakfast comes in at 409 calories, 31 carbs, 22 fat, 22 protein and 11.3 fiber.

Lunch was a different version of my butternut squash and apple soup.  I saw that a food network chef Michael Chiarello made a butternut squash soup using a toasted spice rub.  Since I made the soup yesterday morning, I had to cheat a bit and modify with what I had on hand.  You know how you have rib rub, or dry rubs in your pantry?  I am going to call this a soup rub!

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the soup:  Cut a butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and lay, face down, in a microwave safe dish with 1/2 cup water and cook for 15 minutes.  Let cool.  Meanwhile peel and slice two apples and saute until they are soft.

Put 6 cups of chicken broth in pot.  Add apples and scoop squash into the pot.  Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 teaspoons of the soup rub above.  Using a stick blender, puree.  Serve with 1/2 ounce crumbled blue cheese on top.

soup rub mix

With a Pam grilled turkey sandwich on the side.  I really love this soup – it has the perfect combination of sweet and heat!  Lunch comes in at 505 calories, 48 carbs, 29 protein, 22 fat and 19.9 fiber (thanks to the low carb wraps!)

I had to bake a cake last night and make cookies, so dinner was simple.  I love having this on hand – it lasts in the fridge forever.

The one thing I don’t like about our cast iron grill pan is that it smokes up the whole house.  At least you know I am cooking!

I sliced the polenta and using a bit of olive oil, made them crispy.  I served mine with a couple tablespoons of my butcher’s ragu leftover from the other night.

can you tell we like our meat rare?

This was so good - I loved the extra flavor of the fresh basil

Dinner comes in at 424 calories, 25 carbs, 48 protein, 12.8 fat and 1 fiber.  I ate all the polenta and 5 ounces of the steak.

Stats for Thursday:

  • 1338 calories (plus 1/2 of one of the cookies I made – toffee chocolate chip!), 104 carbs, 98 protein, 57 fat and 32 fiber.
  • Guess what I did for exercise yesterday??  I walked on the treadmill for 40 minutes, at 3.5 mph, 5% incline all while . . . tossing a 6 pound medicine ball back and forth the whole time! Wow, can I feel it today, but it feels good!

Alright, I need to finish getting ready for work – I am not used to putting so much make up on!

Does your office dress up?  Come back tomorrow for pics! 😀

Where’s the Beach?

Tony and I went to his yearly knee doctor appointment.  We live in the far NW suburbs of Chicago, and his doctors office is in Chicago on North Marine drive – it took us an hour and 40 minutes to get there with traffic!

First I have to say that I am the WORST back seat driver you’ll ever meet.  I don’t think Tony or Hannah brake soon enough, I am always grabbing the door handle.  It drives them both completely nuts!  So I have to keep my head down when I am the passenger – luckily this was a good read!

I had a piece of rye bread with a shmear of peanut butter before we left, then throughout the morning ate a big fuji apple.  Breakfast was only 191 calories, 36 carbs, 4.8 protein, 3.9 fat and .3 fiber.

Long time readers will remember that back in December of 2008, Tony’s knee replacement got infected.  He had to have that implant removed, they put an antibiotic spacer in his knee and he basically was unable to walk much for three months.  He relied on his left leg when using crutches.  It only makes sense that his right thigh muscle is not as strong as his left one.

So the x-rays look good – we need to concentrate on two things: building up his thigh muscle and losing a bit of weight.  The first thing the doctor said was “go on the South Beach Diet.”   We have both tried it in the past, but I wasn’t really into it – I really, really, really like bread and potatoes!

One good thing about being on insulin is that I can eat anything I want.  But as we were driving home, I thought, do I really need to pump that much insulin into me to have a baked potato??  Marriage is the ultimate team sport, so I plan on giving the South Beach Diet 110%.  Well, starting Monday so we can get rid of all the things we can’t eat the first two weeks:  alcohol, bread, rice, potatoes, pasta or baked goods.  😀

As we were waiting in the doctors office, Tony’s like “where do you want to go to lunch?”  I couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head, and the hospital we were at is not in the nicest neighborhood.  All of a sudden he looks at me and says “Siegelman’s?”  Yep!

First off, my parents in law and my mom would have loved Wednesday’s special:

liver and onions . . . worst combination ever 😀

I went with the classic Reuben.  Mind you, I believe I am the queen of Reuben sandwiches, if its on a menu, 90% of the time that’s what I am going to order.  The only thing I hate is getting a sandwich where the corned beef is so tough, you can hardly bite through the sandwich.  Not here my friends.  After the first bit I seriously closed my eyes and savored the moment.  Perfectly tender, lightly grilled, not greasy.  Heaven on a plate!

I ate the whole sandwich, and about 5 fries.  My guestimate is that lunch comes in around743 calories, 71 carbs, 36 protein, 40 fat and 4.5 fiber.  Does that sound about right?

In this month’s Food & Wine magazine, Mario Batali had a recipe from his new eatery called Butcher’s Ragu.  When I was driving the other day, Tony looked over and saw the picture and said “that’s looks good!”   When I started to put it together I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients, and the only sauce was 1/2 cup of tomato paste.  So this recipe below is no where near Mario’s – let’s just say it was my inspiration!

Biz’s Butcher’s Ragu Recipe (printer friendly version here)

Makes 8 servings (237 calories, 10.9 fat, 2.7 carbs, .4 fiber and 30 protein)


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounce pancetta, diced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 ounce deli ham, diced
28 can canned tomatoes
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon oregano
1 salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large dutch oven, heat oil. Add carrot, celery and garlic, stirring occassionally for about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta and ground beef and cook until no longer pink – about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the oregano, ham, milk, and tomatoes and simmer for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.

I dice my celery and carrots really tiny:

I only used 2 ounces of pancetta – it gives the sauce a bit of smokiness.

While the sauce was simmering, I realized I had time to squeeze in some exercise.  I did 20 minutes of Cardio 360 and 20 minutes of Strength 360 on my exercise on demand.  Then finished it off with 10 minutes of abs.  An hour later, this is how my sauce looked after it reduced on simmer – can I just tell you how good this smelled while I was working out??!!

My plate:

with 100 calorie garlic bread, dinner comes in at: 505 calories, 62 carbs, 36 protein, 12.4 fat and 10.8 fiber.

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 1439 calories, 169 carbs, 76 protein, 57 fat and 21 fiber
  • 34% of calories from fat
  • my grade was a C+ for being high in sodium, high in cholesterol and high in fat
  • 20 minutes cardio
  • 20 minutes strength
  • 10 minutes abs

Alright, I have to publish this so I can finish making my butternut squash apple soup for my lunch today.  Have a great day! 😀

Chicken Bolognese with Pumpkin

What a stormy day we had yesterday!  It was so windy yesterday morning, I told Hannah not to go to school – she drives through some open roads through farms to get to school – there were tornado warnings.  The power flickered on and off a few times before I left for work.

At 9:30, Tony called me to say our power was out – it didn’t come back on until 4:15 in the afternoon!  Tony and Hannah went to Buffalo Wild Wings – I kept getting texts from both of them saying how bored they were!

I had the last of my bagels for a bagel sammie:

414 calories, 47 carbs, 21 protein, 18.3 fat and 5.5 fiber

I had plans of walking on the treadmill with a medicine ball – only problem was the last machine with a t.v. on it was broken.  So I ended up doing a 7 mile bike ride on the bike machine.  I went to turn on my iPod, no juice 😦  Luckily I could plug my headphones into the bike machine – I listened to some of the most eclectic music!  From Prince, to Meatloaf, to Led Zepplin.

The ride was hard so I told myself “don’t look down.”  I am usually obsessed with how far I have to go, if I am ahead or behind the pacer bike or my ghost rider.  I just pushed it as hard as I could and ended up getting a PR on this race by 15 seconds, and I beat the pacer bike by 2 minutes!

I am a sweaty bad ass 😀

This is how the sky looked when I went to the gym – parts would be blue sky, then huge clouds.

I have my co-worker Renee to thank for our lunch yesterday.  I am lucky that she and I have the same tastes – what my family wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, Renee will happily take what they won’t eat.

She saw a show on Cooking Channel – it was a Canadian show called Healthy Gourmet. One of the recipes that jumped out at her was a recipe for Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Chicken Meat Sauce.  I adapted the recipe by adding a bit of red wine, oregano and a bit more pumpkin.

Chicken Bolognese with Pumpkin (printer friendly version here)
Makes 4 servings (250 calories, 4.7 fat, 11.7 carbs, 3.6 fiber and 37 protein)


1 pound chicken breast
2 cloves garlic
28 ounce canned tomatoes
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup red wine
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper


  1. Put chicken breasts into food processor and grind. Add chicken to hot pan with a scant amount of oil – cook until half done – add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. If you don’t like chunky tomatoes, puree the tomatoes in the food processor before adding to chicken.
  3. Serve over cooked spaghetti squash.

Okay, so maybe this picture isn’t the most appetizing, and happened to be what Hannah saw as she was walking into the kitchen.  I believe her words were “I’d rather eat dog shit.”

But it is delicious!!!  The crushed red pepper is a nice balance to the slightly sweet pumpkin – but seriously, if I didn’t know there was pumpkin in there, I wouldn’t know!  I had this with a slice of 100 calorie garlic bread.

385 calories, 40 carbs, 42 protein, 5.7 fat and 6.7 fiber

I was glad that the power was back on by the time I got home.  I had pork chops on the menu, but Tony wasn’t feeling it, so I ended up making fried chicken breasts, mashed potatoes and canned green beans.

For the chicken, I just dipped chicken breasts in an egg/milk misture then dipped in seasoned flour and then repeated that step.  While the deep fryer was coming to temperature, I put the breasts in the freezer – the coating stays on better that way.

My chicken needed a bit of a kick – Buffalo Wild Wing Spicy Sauce!

474 calories, 25 carbs, 51 protein, 12.8 fat and 3 fiber

I should have only cooked one chicken breast – both of us could only eat half!

Stats for Monday:

  • 1351 calories, 135 carbs, 124 protein, 36 fat, 16 fiber
  • 25% of calories from fat
  • 7 mile bike ride in 29 minutes – 11 minute cool down
  • 5 minutes abs on the ball

I have the day off today to go to a doctor appointment with Tony – I’ll catch up with you guys tonight! 😀