BSI – Week 100!

I was wondering who Dave from My Year on the Grill was going to pick for the next BSI host this week – can I just say how happy he was to throw it back my way in honor of Week 100 of Blogger Secret Ingredient!  Check out the BSI Page to get the facts here.

I have to clarify though – I did not come up with this original event.  It started in the fall of 2008.  Each week a person would pick an ingredient, you would make a recipe during the week, submit it and see who won.  I’ve won three times! 😀  It was a great way to see how many different ways a particular ingredient would be prepared.

One week it was peppermint – way back in December 2008.  I remember checking back every few days to see if that hostess picked a winner and chose the next host.  Weeks went by, and I decided to resurrect it with Zucchini in Week 16!  And we’ve been going strong ever since.

Some weeks we have a more submissions than others.  I am hoping with the help of you guys, we can Twitter and Facebook this weeks event to get a great turn out and build the BSI momentum again. 😀

Most of my long time readers know I was an extremely picky eater growing up.  A cucumber was the only vegetable that crossed my lips.  Well, through the BSI, I have made the following recipes with ingredients I hate! No, it isn’t onions – I made Hannah do that one!

BSI – Beets.  Tony and I both can’t stand beets, although both our parents ate them when we were growing up.  I decided to see if I could make a hummus out of it – and we were both pleasantly surprised on how good this tasted – just a slight sweetness from the beets mixed well with all the garlic!

BSI – Sweet Potato.  I made sweet potato pillows in a red pepper sauce – these turned out delicious!  I even made another batch the day I made them to bring them to work – I big hit!  (note: some of these pics were taken when I had no idea how to use a camera!)

BSI – Capers.   Eew.  Briny balls of snot.  But I was able to transform them into spicy red potatoes with a lemon caper sauce – delicious!

BSI – Ground Turkey.   Again, not a huge fan of ground turkey because a: it’s usually really dry and b: I wonder what else might be ground with the turkey (i.e. rat parts, pig fat, fish eyes).   Not only was I brave and used ground turkey, I also make a Turkish dish – Turkish Borgei.  The result was a flakey crust, and spicy center – I need to make these again!

So by now I know you are waiting with baited breath wondering what this weeks ingredient is going to be:  CHILES! Did you guys know I liked spicy food??!!  You can use anything in the chile family:

  • dried chiles
  • jalapenos
  • poblano peppers
  • habanero
  • anaheim
  • ancho
  • cascabel

Since this is Halloween weekend, and I am a day late in getting the ingredient out – please submit your chile recipes by Sunday, November 7th.  The winner will be announced Monday, November 8 and a new host will be announced.  I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!  If you don’t have a blog, just email me your submission at and I’ll post it for you.  Please link your BSI to this post so I can make sure I get your submissions! 😀

It’s stormy this morning so I have to log off!  I had my usual egg bagel sammie

a chili stuffed potato for lunch

and black bean soup and grilled cheese for dinner.

Stats for Monday:

  • 1,460- calories, 177 carbs, 101 protein, 41 fat, 26 fiber
  • 24% of calories from fat
  • 45 minute walk with 4 pound weights

Have a great day!

Don’t let life get in the way . . .

I am sure every parent of young children at one point in time or another, can’t wait for the day when their child is self sufficient and on their own.  The nights when they get up every hour on the hour and you wonder if you’ll ever get a full nights sleep again.

But then all of a sudden that time is here.  Hannah is 18, she just clocked in her 50th hour at work, she’s taking 13 credit ours in school and she has a social life.  It would be easy just to keep on going like we are, hardly seeing each other, but I decided to change that.  Depending on her schedule, I plan on doing something with her once a week – even if it is only a few hours, I’ll take it! 😀

Tony made me his delicious spicy breakfast taco – I didn’t even eat breakfast until 11:00! 😀  (I may have slept in until 9:45).

Tony LOVES a pork tenderloin sandwich, the kind that is way too big for the bun.  Here is a quick recipe for one:

  • 1 six ounce pork chop, butterflied
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 hamburger bun
  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • sweet pickle chips

Trim off any fat, and using a meat mallet, pound the cutlets really thin (Tony helped me on that one!).  Mix the egg, milk and salt and pepper on one paper plate, the flour in another and the cornmeal in the last one.  Dip the cutlet into the egg, into the flour, back to the egg and into the cornmeal.

Pan fry for 2-3 minutes per side – make sure your oil is hot before you add the pork, otherwise it gets too greasy.  Another tip – put the breaded cutlet in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to help the breading stick – it kind of fell off while Tony was eating it, but he loved it 😀

I then went to exercise t.v. to see what I could do.  I started out doing a Bethany Frankel one hour yoga and strength training, but she was a whiney biatch and I couldn’t stand it after 5 minutes.  So I just did a bunch of things:

  • 20 minute kickboxing
  • 15 minutes arms with attitude
  • 25 minutes Jackie Werner 1 on 1 core (this one was really hard!)

I always love how our dog literally sits right where I am exercising – at one point I was on my back doing sissor kicks and his tail kept whacking me in the face.

Then I finished my grocery shopping and headed out to the store.  On my way back home I could start to feel my blood sugar really drop – so  a quick drive through at McD’s saved the day – the $1 menu chicken sammie with buffalo sauce – that did the trick!

Since Hannah and I were going to have our Asian date night, I made Tony one of his favorite casseroles – tuna noodle!  I have Simple Comfort Food to thank for the recipe – my only alterations were to leave the onion out, and I reduced the panko bread crumbs and cheddar cheese to 1 cup.

I didn't even know they made this!

I then added everything to my big bucket to mix well before putting it in my casserole dish.

ignore my messy stove - I cleaned it up later 😀

I made such a big casserole because I thought that it might be something would eat as a leftover – nope!  So I am bringing it to work – something about free food always gets eaten at work!

I had Hannah call me when she was leaving work so I could heat up the deep fryer for our tempura appetizer – I blanched green beans, broccoli and zucchini.  The green beans completely stuck on the first batch, so we mostly had broccoli and zucchini – both delicious!

For our stirfry – I coated chicken pieces in corn starch and cooked those in the wok separately, then tossed them in a mix of equal parts of these sauces:

I ate about 2/3 of this - I kept eating and it was like a never ending bowl!

We watched the movie Away We Go with Jim from the Office – we really liked it!

my feet on the left, sitting in our comfy chair - thanks for hanging with me Hanners 😀

So today is Weigh In Day!  Last week I was 170.4 . . .

so close to 169!!! I'll take the -4 😀

Tony found this cartoon and tore it out for me – I thought it was funny!

Great news!  My foodie friend Mara has made it to the next round of the Project Food Buzz – she had to make a meal in a Food Buzz travel bag – check it out – she put everything in mason jars!  I’ll have the link up in an hour if you can take time to vote for her.

Question of the Day: If you have kids, any age, do you schedule time to do something, or does life get in your way?

Date Day!

Tony and I love getting in the car, driving in a direction, and just seeing where we end up for lunch.  Some times its a hit, and sometimes its a dud – yesterday was a hit!

But first, I made Artisan bread bagels!  I had leftover dough on my counter.  I added a bit more flour, then divided the dough into six bagels.  I boiled water and added 1/4 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of baking soda to the water.

Boil each side for 2 minutes, and then baked them at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.  I also did the same technique of having the broiler pan filled with 1 cup of water to steam the bagels as they cooked.  Delicious!

shaped the dough

boiled, then Hannah thought it was a good idea to add cheese - great idea Hanners!

So fricken good!

I told Tony I made bagels and asked him if he wanted one.  He said yes – I brought it to him and he’s like “it tastes just like the bread you make.”  I told him it was the same dough, just shaped into a bagel – then he called me Mike Brady from the Brady Bunch – the reference being that all of Mike Brady designed basically every house to look like the house they lived in – I’ve made the Artisan bread into pizza dough, herbed bread, dinner rolls – and now bagels – I think they all taste different 😀

I had an egg sammie for breakfast:

So Tony and I headed towards Schaumburg.  He saw a grocery store he knew I would like – reason number 1,992 that I love him!

I wish Sophia were with me to explain what everything was!  I ended up with some good loot:

Hannah and I were going to go to a pumpkin patch today and out to lunch, but she had to take another shift at work today for a co-worker who couldn’t work today.  So we are going to have a Mom/Daughter dinner tonight – I plan on making tempura veggies and stir fry for us and we are going to rent a movie. 😀

Then it was on to lunch!  We saw this place and decided to give it a try.

Again, I wished Sophia were with us – we had no idea what to do, and the hostess didn’t speak much English.  We finally figured out that we could choose the grill menu, or have the kitchen prepare an individual meal.

Once we saw this though – the decision was made!

For $22 bucks each, we could choose as many different meats as we wanted – which I thought was not only a great deal, but a great way to try different things. We looked at each other and were like “do we just get meat?”  Hell no!  We were brought bowl after bowl of side dishes, we both got miso soup and a bowl of rice – so much food!

we did not get the beef intestines though!

they first lit our grill - it was in the center of the table

They also had a vegetable bar, I got zucchini, mushrooms and green peppers – Tony did the cooking – the meat was so flavorful!

we grilled two to see how hot it was cooking

Tony put the veggies on the bottom and put the meat on top - so delicious!

I tried kimchi for the first time – loved how spicy it was!   And another favorite side was this tofu salad – it almost had a pickled flavor.

Tony got a mix of beef and squid - he actually took the squid out and grilled it

I wanted to be brave so I tried the squid:

I took one bite and immediately spit it out - the texture is so gross!

so many plates!

Needless to say, this was our linner – we didn’t even want to think of food after leaving – we will definitely be going back there – I think it was a great deal for $22!

We did have popcorn around 9:30 though!

Other than that, I was a lazy lima bean!   It was a great day.  But now I have to do all my chores today – some cleaning, grocery shopping and some cooking – its a rainy Sunday so I don’t mind 😀



BSI – Leftovers!

I thought it was a genius idea to choose leftovers as this weeks BSI – thanks for hosting this week Dave!

I had another breakfast pizza for breakfast, except when I got to work, I forgot an egg for the top!

So I think I am pretty good using leftovers.  I recently made yankee pot roast soup with a leftover roast.   When I looked in my fridge, only one thing jumped out to me. . . macaroni and cheese!

I chopped up some carrots:

Some zucchini:

I had four cups of chicken broth in a pot and added the veggies until they were crisp tender.

I added parsley, salt, pepper, a splash of Tabasco and Italian seasoning

Add the macaroni and cheese for the last five minutes or so – you don’t want to overcook the macaroni and cheese otherwise the noodles will be over cooked and gummy.

I think I made comfort food just a bit more comfortable! 😀

I got home from work – it was so nice outside Tony and I hung outside for a while.

I love him!

I had my last pumpkin ale – I really love this one – its not overly pumpkiny.

I went over to my friends house last night for a Partylite demonstration.  Have you ever been to one?  I actually ended up buying a couple food items (shocking!) and one Halloween candle.  My friend is an amazing cook, and when she asked if I was coming I asked “did you make buffalo chicken dip?”  Her answer was yes, so I was there!

this is a crack dip its so good!

And I may have had a few of these too:

Stats for Friday:

  • I have no idea how many calories I had!
  • 45 minute walk at lunch

Thanks to Christina for sending me a coupon for a free bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce – its getting to be Chex Mix time!  Do you make Chex Mix for the holidays?  It’s also Christina’s birthday – go on over and wish her a great day!

Happy Saturday!

I got a new car!

But first you have to read about my breakfast and lunch 😀

But before I go any further THANK YOU for all of your suggestions on a lower sodium diet – the links and ideas are extremely helpful and will be put to good use – thanks!

I made my co-worker a loaf of rosemary bread – this loaf has no salt in it at all, but I did sprinkle 1/8 of a teaspoon over the top – adding 200 mg. of sodium to the whole loaf.

When I handed her the bread and soup I was like “the soup is good, but it needs salt!”  😀

Breakfast pizza was on my brain – yesterdays was 3.5 ounces of bread dough, 1 serving precooked bacon, green pepper, 1 ounce goat cheese and  1 egg:

no runny yolk for me - 456 calories, 46 carbs. 23 protein, 22 fat and 4.8 fiber

I worked out early – I ended up doing 45 minutes on the elliptical on level 10 😀  It was a perfect fall day – the air is a bit crisp, and nothing but blue skies!

I got back to my desk, was about to make my lunch, when Tony called and said that Hannah’s car was stalled.  She had work and school yesterday afternoon, and he took her car to run errands.  So after I picked him up, we came back home and figured out what to do.

We have three cars, but our Explorer needs a new transmission ($$$).  So Tony took charge, called to reserve a rental car, called a repair shop and talked to the tow truck people.  So Hannah took our working car, dropped us off at the rental car place and then went on to work and school.  It’s funny, because before we decided to rent a car or not, Tony was like “do you have to go to school tonight?”  Which of course, being Hannah, she replied “I really don’t like missing class if at all possible.”  Had that been me, I would have blown off school in a heart beat!

So while Tony was on the phone, I wasn’t sure what we were doing, other than I was hungry and needed something quick:

Ball Park all beef hotdog with jalapeno mustard: 286 calories, 21 carbs, 15.2 protein, 15 fat and 1.1 fiber

We got the rental car, then went to where Hannah’s car was to call and wait for the tow truck.  Can I just say that it happened to be by one of my favorite thrift stores??  I had to kill time before the tow truck came, didn’t I?”  Well, it’s already decorated for Christmas!  So many snowmen, but I am proud that I didn’t buy any.  I’ll wait until I go by myself and then mingle them into all the other snowmen things I have – Tony will never know! 😀

I did come very close to buying this though!

Then it was off to the repair shop.  We just followed the tow truck.

So here is my new car!  Well, until next Thursday 😀  It’s a Hyndai Elentra – quite roomy!

By the time we finished all that, it was 4:30 by the time we got home.  I ended up taking an impromptu 1/2 day off yesterday.  I did cardio at lunch, so I had time to do some weight training – this is the first time I’ve seen this offered on Exercise TV.  I was actually expecting to be a bit sore this morning, but I feel good 😀

I didn't have a kettlebell, so I used my 4 pound exercise ball - worked just fine

And since I thought dinner wasn’t going to take too long, after that decided to take our dog for a walk.  He LOVES going on walks, all I really have to do is put my shoes on and a jacket and he’s ready for me at the back door!

he looks for ducks on the river - no ducks though 😦

I liked this flower – or whatever it is – it looked pretty among the fallen leaves:

So I had stuffed peppers on my menu – usually I never eat them, but I make them because Tony does.  Well, I decided to eat them too and they were delicious!  I didn’t have a real recipe – I defrosted a combination of ground sirloin and Italian sausage – I added about a cup of leftover rice, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  I usually always cook the meat mixture, then stuff the peppers and bake.  This time I stuffed them raw.

I blanched the peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Let cool slightly, stuffed them, added an ounce of mozzarella cheese on top and then baked them in the oven with some marinara sauce on the bottom.  The only thing I wasn’t sure about was how long to cook them – I went to Simply Recipes and saw that I needed to bake them at 350 for 40 – 50 minutes.

Ours took almost an hour to get to temperature – but definitely worth the wait!  Dinner comes in at 531 calories, 58 carbs, 27 protein, 21 fat and 7.6 fiber.

I am submitting this to Christina’s Friday Firsts – first time I ate a stuffed pepper! 😀

Today is also the Hot 100 Update.   I had a great week, but again, looking back through my online food diary, I need to get my percentage of calories of fat around the 25% mark, and need to up my fruit and veggie intake – not sure I can count a cilantro garnish as having greens! 😀

Stats for Thursday:

  • 1,273 calories, 126 carbs, 65 protein, 58 fat and 13.5 fiber
  • 40% of calories from fat (due to my delicious hot dog!)
  • 45 minutes elliptical on level 10
  • 33 minute Jillian Shred with the 4 pound ball (includes warm up and cool down)
  • 15 minute walk with the dog

Happy Friday!

I almost forgot!  Some of my local Chicagoland blogger friends are getting together before the craziness of the holidays – we are meeting at Big Bowl in Schaumburg on November 21, at 12:30 – please feel free to join me, Christina, Mara and Jennifer for lunch!  If you’d like to join us, just shoot me an email so we get a big enough table: