New Year, New You!

In 2009 I declared it MINE with a giveaway.  I was determined to get these 30-40 pounds off that year.  I love looking back at that post because one of my favorite bloggers Meghann (even though she’s young enough to be my daughter!) had a goal of dating that year – and she’s been with her boyfriend for over a year and a half now!

Then in January of 2010, I wrote out my goals from getting from 165 to 135.   And guess what?  Its 2011 tomorrow and I still have the same goals – but I have a better plan.  I think going back to Weight Watchers is going to get me to where I want to be.  Want to know how I know?  Check out my second weigh in – in three weeks, which included my 10 year anniversary and Christmas, I’ve lost 4 pounds! Woot!

In 1999 when I lost 70 pounds, I never gained once during that whole year – some weeks I may have only lost .2, but I never gained.  I hope I can continue that streak this time 😀

Tony and I had to pick up some stuff at Sam’s Club yesterday, which happens to be near our favorite breakfast joint.  My plate: 1 cup egg beaters, 3 slices of bacon and fresh fruit.  7 Points.

Then one of the most important things I needed to pick up:

Whew, crisis averted – I now have a 12 ounce bottle next to the stove – I had about a drop left in my old bottle.

I knew Hannah and I were going to work out when she got home from work.  We ate such a late breakfast, and I don’t like to eat a ton before working out, so I had a slice of my MIL’s banana bread – totally worth the 5 points and perfect fuel – after our workout my blood sugar was 90 – nice! 😀

Hannah and I decided to swim for our exercise.  She’s an awesome swimmer – me?  Not so much.  I never really learned the right breathing techniques for freestyle, so I end up doing the breast stroke most of the time and the back stroke.  I was looking at the other lanes of people who made it look effortless!  Just to show how slow I am it took me 25 minutes to do 20 laps of 25 yards.

Then Hannah and I went to a different pool, put on floaty belts, and jogged in place for 15 minutes – I have to thank TJ for that idea – its harder than you can imagine!

So I was really hungry for dinner – 4 ounces of pork roast, 6 ounce baked potato, 1 tablespoon light butter, 1 tablespoon bacon bits, a slice of whole grain bread and a cup of green beans.  Dinner was 17 points.

the secret to the best baked potato is to wash your potatoes in advance, make sure they are completely dry, then rub with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. Bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees. You get a nice crispy skin that way 😀

I love these pork roasts from Sam’s Club.  While its $14 for the whole roast, I cut it in half so each roast is 2 pounds, and freeze the second half.  It’s enough for one dinner, and at least two leftover lunches for me, so that’s a pretty good deal.  Oh, and Hannah will actually eat this meat which is a bonus!

I actually cooked this on our gas grill - the bacon on top gets nice and crispy

nice and juicy! Hannah always requests the ends 😀

I got this bread at Sam’s too – its a 9 grain bread and a serving size is 2 ounces for only 3 points!

I have to show you something – Tony loves playing practical jokes on me – I hate spiders and bugs in general – and living in the “sticks” we have spiders – he’s always just barely touching the back of my head while we are watching t.v. to make me think something is crawling on me, and while I know it’s him, the one time I don’t react is when there will be something on me!

He loves to trick me with this:

So yesterday I am working on organizing all my kitchen stuff – I have it in five different places right now and its driving me nuts.  So I am up and down the basement stairs while Tony was on the computer.  I hear something fall and I said “what was that?”  Tony said he didn’t know.  Fast forward 30 minutes and the dog needs to go out, and I open the back door, and the door hits the rubber mouse so it looks as if I’ve caught a real mouse under the door!  Scared the crap out of me!

Okay, so let’s get on with it already – giveaway time!  Not only to celebrate my 400,000 page view, but to help jump start our fitness and weight loss goals for 2011.

The Loot!

  • food scale
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • glass measuring cup
  • hand sanitizer for gym bag
  • lip balm with SPF 15
  • a sweat band
  • pocket calendar for your purse
  • assortment of dips (just need to add fat free sour cream)
  • snowmen!  (the last three items were donated from my co-worker Cassie – thanks!)

oh - and 20+ magazines 😀

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what your number one goal is for 2011.  I’ll be keeping track of you this year to make sure you continue your path to reach your goal! 😀  I’ll pick a winner on Monday morning, January 3rd. Good luck! 😀

Final Hot 100 Update! I always forgot to do that on Fridays!  I am doing great – getting the exercise in is really helping me reach my goals – I still want to take more group classes in 2011, my new gym has about 20+ classes to choose from, including Zumba, Spin and Body Pump classes!

And thanks again for stopping by when you can to catch up on My Bizzy Kitchen.  Here’s to 2011!  Let’s make it a great year! 😀


The Domino Effect

Is it just me?  I find that if I am in control of my eating and workouts, the rest of my life follows suit.   All the little projects that just seem to be on my list of things to do, suddenly have the need to be crossed off.  One thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while is clean out my wallet.  I save every receipt for at least a week (weird, I know!), but after a while, you can’t even close my wallet its so full!

And I have gift cards that I have no idea if the have $1 or $100 on them!  Look what I found out?

  • $108.09 to Whole Foods
  • $4.13 to Target
  • $19.27 to Nike
  • $3.26 to Starbucks
  • $64.75 at AMC Theaters

Isn’t that crazy?!  If I don’t pay attention to my food or exercise I just become all around . . . lazy.  I don’t feel good about myself, I keep telling myself, you know what to do, yet still chose to drink my wine and watch t.v.!

But I have to say I’ve done pretty well in the past few weeks.  I am going tomorrow for my second WW weigh in – I missed last week because of Christmas, but didn’t want to miss two weeks because of New Years.  I had a few indulgences, but I never ate more than my daily points and flex points.  I decided I am saving my activity points for when I have to resort to food to bring up my blood sugar in a hurry like last night.

Do you find that the rest of your life is more organized when your food is in control?

Breakfast was another addition of breakfast nachos – I know I will have this a lot so I made it a recipe in eTools so I can just type “Breakfast Nachos” and my 6 point recipe pops up. 😀

Breakfast Nachos 

Course: main meals
PointsPlus™ Value:    6
Servings:  1 

Preparation Time:  5 min
Cooking Time:  20 min
Level of Difficulty:  Easy


1/2 cup(s) Egg Beaters Refrigerated Egg Whites
1/2 slice(s) cheddar or colby cheese
1/4 cup(s) canned refried black beans
1 serving(s) Hot Sauce
2 item(s) corn tortilla(s)


Heat oven to 350. Cut each tortilla into four, giving you 8 chips.
Spray with Pam and sprinkle with salt if desired. Bake for 10 minutes, or until chips are crispy.
Heat refried beans in microwave for 30 seconds. Divide beans between 8 nachos.
Microwave egg beaters for 2 minutes. Add taco seasoning or Tabasco to egg white mixture. Divide between 8 nachos.
Sprinkle 1/2 ounce of cheese over nachos and broil for a couple minutes, just until the cheese melts.

These are so addicting!  And yes, I splashed each chip with a liberal dose of Tabasco 😀  Nothing like a burning spicy mouth first thing in the morning to get your day going!

So I basically have not left the house with my new camera yet, so the rest of this post is with Old Blue.

Last week my store had apples on the $1 rack, so as soon as I got home I just sauteed the whole bunch.  My pre-workout snack – sauteed apples with 1/2 teaspoon chocolate ice cream topping and 1/2 teaspoon of chopped nuts – 1 point (left over from an ice cream birthday celebration at my office).

I tested my blood sugar before working out, and it was only 156, so that limited what kind of exercise I could do.  I ended up doing 50 minutes on the treadmill, 3.8 mph, with the 6 pound medicine ball tossed back and forth.  I wore a fleece over my t-shirt and I was pretty sweaty by the end – pretty soon my arms are gonna be ready for the gun show! 😀

Lunch was leftover beef stew – 8 points, followed by 3 small clementines later in the afternoon (no pic!).

Since it was my Friday night, Tony and I decided to make it a date night 😀  We went to The Lucky Monk in South Barrington -probably the 7th or 8th time we’ve been there.  The food is always really good.  I, in usual fashion, read the menu ahead of time and had picked out that I would have the apple bacon smoked gouda flatbread appetizer for my entree.

Well, as luck would have it, my blood sugar was 46 as we sat down.  I took one look at the menu and said “we’ll take the Trappist Trio to start.”   Fried dill pickles, truffle french fries and onions strings. I know you know we don’t like onions, but we can handle the tiny deep fried ones 😀

Let’s just say Tony didn’t want anything to do with the fried pickles.  So I at them.  All.

Oh my word.  Perfection in a cup – lightly battered, crispy coating, and the dill pickle still had a bite on the inside, not mushy at all.  I’ve only had fried pickles a handful of times, but these were by far the best.  Guess the points?  (I didn’t find this out until I got home!).  15 Points! Worth every one in my book.

But I still had the flatbread on my brain, and we had time before the movie (we saw Social Network – good movie!)  – I ate 2/3 of this – it was delicious – thinly sliced apple, thick smokey bacon with smoked gouda – I will try to recreate a more healthy version at home.  8 PointsPlus.

And to wash it all down?  Two of these beers and a Blue Moon:  12 Points.

So I had a 35 Point dinner and guess what?  I am okay with that.  This is a lifestyle, and part of a lifestyle is indulging every once in a while.  The old me would just strap on the feed bag and think “well, I fucked up with this meal, so I may as well eat like shit the rest of the week (or month, or months!).

But it’s one meal.  Today is another day.  I have good food planned.  Hannah and I are going to the gym when she gets off to work (and maybe laugh our asses off trying to play racquetball!) 😀

Stats for Wednesday

  • 52 PointsPlus (still have 17 flex points left and 25 activity points left for the week)
  • 50 minute treadmill, 3.8 mph, 6 pound medicine ball
  • average blood sugar 92

Come back tomorrow!  Not only is it the last day of the year, but my little blog will have reached 400,000 page views! I plan on thanking all of you who stop by my little corner of the world with a great giveaway – everyone needs tools to succeed, so I will be offering some cool tools to give away tomorrow! 😀

Make it a great day!

Breakfast Pizza and Crab Cakes

Can I just say that my title doesn’t sound like diet food at all?  I thought I had homemade pita breads left in the pantry, but I think Hannah used them all.  So the only thing I thought I could use quickly was an Arnold Thin.  I preheated my oven to 350.  On each half I put 1/4 cup tomato sauce, sprinkle of oregano, 1/2 cup baby spinach, 1/2 of one cooked egg diced, 1/2 ounce of goat cheese and 1/2 ounce of cheddar.   I actually loved the extra tang of the goat cheese 😀   7 PointsPlus.

For some reason I always want to take food pictures as close as possible – so now I give you a close up of my breakfast (and I really couldn’t decide which picture to post!)

My before workout fuel was one of the oranges my parents-in-law sent from Florida – the box they sent me is half gone already!  When I checked my blood sugar before working out and it was 202 – perfect!

I decided to do a 5k, but it was a rough run.  I think I tried to start out too fast at 5.0 to start, and in the first 15 minutes had to stop at 30 second intervals to walk.  After a 5 minute warm-up, I did the 5k in 40:14, then did a 5 minute cool down – love that the gym is a mile from my office and I can change back to my work clothes really quick!

When I got back to my office, my blood sugar was 57 – eek!  But my protein rich chili and carb baked potato helped – I only took half my insulin after I ate half of this plate.  This is one cup of my Buffalo Chicken Chili (6 points) with 4.5 ounce baked potato (3 points) and 1/2 ounce 50% reduced fat Cabot Cheddar cheese (1 point).  10 Points.

I got my January issue of Eating Well and one recipe jumped out at me almost immediately.  This was our side dish, although I just tossed the cooked broccoli in the Parmesan sauce.  Except for Cabot cheese I use real cheese for everything – its worth the points 😀

Broccoli with Creamy Parmesan Sauce

(from Eating Well Jan. 2011)

Course: main meals
PointsPlus™ Value:    3
Servings:  4 

Preparation Time:  5 min
Cooking Time:  15 min
Level of Difficulty:  Easy


1 pound(s) broccoli
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
1/8 cup(s) dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg


Steam broccoli pieces for 5-7 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, wisk flour and 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl until smooth. Heat the remaining 3/4 cup milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
Whisk in theflour mixtrure; cook whisking, until thickened – between 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; add cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Drizzle over the broccoli.

Here is the cheese I used – pretty sure I have at any given moment at least six cheeses in my fridge:

I always weigh my cheese to make sure I get the most for my points.

My second side dish was crab cakes because I had leftover crabs from the Crab Rangoons I made for Christmas.  One thing I like about the Recipe Builder is that you can manipulate the recipe while you are typing it in – like reducing the amount of butter or mayo in a recipe.  This crab cake recipe was based off of a few I saw on Tastespotting, but I reduced the butter to 1 tablespoons for the pan fry – the original recipe called for 1/8 cup of butter AND 1/8 cup of olive oil!

And when I got home, I realized that I only had 5.5 ounces of crab, not 8 ounces like I wrote in the recipe, but I just kept the points the same – not that big of a difference.

Crab Cakes 

Course: main meals
PointsPlus™ Value:    4
Servings:  4 

Preparation Time:  0 min
Cooking Time:  0 min
Level of Difficulty:  Easy


8 oz lump crabmeat
1/4 cup(s) dried bread crumbs
1/8 cup(s) cilantro
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg yolk(s)
1 Tbsp regular butter
1 Tbsp mayonnaise


Combine all ingredients except for egg yolk until well combined.
Add egg yolk and blend just until mixture holds together. Cover with wax paper and chill for 30 minuts.
Heat non-stick pan over medium heat. Add butter and Pam spray and when the butter is hot – cook the crab cakes for 4 minutes on each side, until the outside is crisp and browned.
Points are for one crabcake.

be sure to let them cook without touching for the first 4 minutes so it doesn't break during flipping

only one of mine broke - not bad!

Since Tony doesn’t like spicy, these were a bit bland for me (well, for him too!) so next time I would add fresh parsley and crushed red pepper flakes for more flavor.

I defrosted one of our $3.25 New York strips to split.  It was kind of thick so I cooked each side initially for 5 minutes a side, then just 2 minutes each other flip.  I am a sucker for the grill marks!

I ended up letting the steak rest for 5 minutes while I put everything else together.  This actually wasn’t a bad weeknight meal time wise, I was done in just 30 minutes.

perfect medium rare 😀

My plate: I ended up eating 4 ounces of steak, one crab cake and the broccoli side dish.

Sadly, I gave myself too much insulin and as I was cleaning out my pantry after dinner, I could feel the sweat pouring down my neck – my blood sugar got down to 33 😦  So I ate 1/2 a blueberry muffin (3 points) and two pears – and I was still full from dinner!

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 33 points
  • 40 Flex Points remaining
  • 50 minute treadmill – total of 3.5 miles
  • average blood sugar 99

Today is my Friday – let me tell you I could get used to 4 and 5 day weekends! 😀  Make it a great day!

Question of the Day: Can you eat meat rare or does it half to be cooked gray before you’ll even touch it?

Family – Christmas Part II

Okay, I realized all 164 photos I took with my new camera were on the highest resolution, which took them a long time to load on my blog post yesterday.  Hannah showed me how to reduce the picture size from 14.4 mega pixels to just 3.5, which is what I used for the pictures below (except for my lunch pictures which were taken with Old Blue – my old camera!).  Much quicker to load – and I think I’ll keep it at this setting for the time being until I figure out more how it works out.

Thanks for all of your wonderful comments, its slowly sinking in that I deserve a camera like that.  Other than my wedding ring, I am positive that’s the most expensive gift I’ve ever gotten! 😀

there she is! I've actually figured out how to take the lens on and off 😀

I didn’t post any family pictures yesterday from our Christmas.  I love this picture of my Mom – Hannah actually took this one:

And Hannah took this one too – my kitchen was so messy though (much to Hannah’s dismay!) so I made the picture black and white, then put the color back for just me and my Mom – hopefully the mess is less noticeable! I seriously have to be the messiest cook out there. 😀

And thanks to Tony’s family for spending the afternoon with us! (Hannah wanted me to say that her shirt is just wet from washing dishes!)

So over the long weekend I did pretty good.  I basically counted points in my head, my blood sugar numbers were normal, and I exercised every day but Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I need to find out if there is a WW meeting on Thursday or Friday, because I don’t want to miss two weeks in a row of a weigh in.

I had a lot of leftover twice baked potatoes from Christmas, so I did my eggs in a potato jacket.  This half of a potato is 4.5 ounces (3 points), with 1 scrambled egg (2), 1/3 cup chopped broccoli (0), 3/4 ounce cheddar cheese.  I scrambled the scooped out potato with the egg and broccoli, then tossed in the cheese just to melt.  I stuffed it back into the potato shell, then nuked it for about 45 seconds, just to warm up the potato – with a pear on the side – breakfast is 8 PointsPlus (including 1 point for SF coffee creamer, which I never counted before!)

My blood sugar was 156 before working out, and I like it to be in the 200-220 range, so I ate this on the way to the gym for 2 points.

I ended up doing 45 minutes on the treadmill at 1.5% incline, 3.9 mph while tossing a 6 pound medicine ball back and forth.  I saw that on a Biggest Loser episode, and by the end I could hardly keep my arms up – great way to get cardio, upper and lower body in one work out.

Lunch was a turkey sandwich on an Arnold Thin with baby spinach and jalapeno mustard (5 points), carrot and cucumbers (0), 1/2 cup 2% reduced fat cottage cheese (2) points, and a veggie dip of 1 tablespoon FF ranch mixed with 2 tablespoons hot taco sauce (1) point.  Lunch is 8 points.

this took me about 30 minutes to eat 😀

In looking over my journal, I realized I needed to add more dairy, so I think my new plan is to have a SF vanilla latte in the afternoon – 2 points 😀

My goal was not to go grocery shopping at all since we have so much food in the house, but I did stop and pick up a couple things for our chicken fried rice – fresh bean sprouts and a can of water chestnuts.  I prepped all the veggies and then let Tony take over – the Wok chef!

While he stir-fried, I opened a bottle of chardonnay my Mom brought over – I had 5 ounces with dinner for 4 points.

it has grapefruit notes which I love

Tony served his dish, then added my hot sauce to my dish – I need to get more of this but I found it at Tuesday Morning and sometimes its hit or miss there.  Its a super flavorful hot sauce.

While Tony cooked the chicken, he added a touch of House of Tsang Classic stir fry sauce:

Then added the cooked brown rice (2 cups total) and added the scrambled eggs:

My bowl – my guess is that it’s 11 points – 0 for veggies, 4 points for chicken, 5 points for brown rice, and 2 points for sauce.

So delicious – thanks for cooking Tony!

Stats for Monday:

  • 35 points (42 flex points remaining for the week)
  • 8 activity points earned with 45 minute treadmill at lunch
  • average blood sugar was 109

Just curious if you count points if you counted everything over the holiday or just started again on Monday?   Make it a great day!

How to Make a Grown Woman Cry (Part I)

Buy her something for Christmas that she would never expect in a million years.

Yep, I am posting this even though I am not wearing a bra, haven’t brushed my hair and still have my glasses on.  I still cry just watching it!  My family completely surprised me with a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera with 18-55 mm lens.   Being completely shocked is an absolute understatement.  When I saw the size of the box, I was like “oh, Hannah got me a new pair of slippers!”

A huge thank you to Tony, Hannah, my parents-in-law, my SIL for pitching in for this gift.   I absolutely love it and can’t wait to figure out all it can do.  The good part is that my husband bought it at a small camera store, so I can bring it in and get all the help I want – they even have free two hour classes every Saturday – how cool is that?  So all the pictures on this post are from my new camera – I have a feeling they are really big, so hopefully they won’t take too long to download.

For Christmas breakfast we had corned beef hash, eggs and my MIL’s banana bread – I wish I could describe how good this bread is!

Then it was time to put my bread in the oven.  I love this bread because it only takes minutes to put together, yet needs to rise 8 to 18 hours.  Don’t let that long rise time stop you from making this bread.

Almost No-Knead Bread (courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen)

  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3/4 cup (7 ounces) water, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (3 ounces) beer (feel free to drink the rest of the bottle like I did!)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.  Add water, beer and vinegar.  Using a wooden spoon, fold the mixture making sure you incorporate all the flour.  It’s going to be slightly sticky, and don’t worry if you don’t think it’s rising fast enough – the beer and vinegar are doing their magic.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for a minimum of 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

Put parchment paper on the counter.  Take the dough out of the bowl and knead 10 or 15 times with a bit of flour.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours.**  For the last 30 minutes of rising, heat oven to 500 degrees and put your dutch oven in the oven with the lid.  After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 425 and using the parchment paper, carry your dough to the dutch oven – the parchment paper will be on the sides of the pot, just put the cover on and bake for 30 minutes (and try to remember that the lid is hot!).

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook an additional 20 minutes.  Yum!

it's super crusty on the outside, yet tender on the inside

All cut up for our dinner table – I love seeing all the holes in the bread 😀

I also made drop biscuits – but kicked them up a notch for Christmas.  This calls for a whole stick of butter, so these are a once in a while treat.

Gruyere Rosemary Drop Biscuits (adapted from here)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 ounces shredded Gruyere
  • 8 ounces cold butter, divided (2 tablespoons are melted for brushing over the top)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • flaky sea salt is optional for sprinkling over the top (I omitted this)

Preheat oven to 425.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the chilled butter (just 6 tablespoons) and using a pastry blender, cut the butter until it is the size of peas.

Add the chopped rosemary, and Gruyere.  Stir in the buttermilk just until the dough is moistened.  Here is where I deviated. I used my 1/4 cup measure and just dropped the biscuits on my cookie sheet lined with parchment paper – so much easier than rolling out.  I also didn’t put butter on top until after they came out of the oven – so the hot biscuit just absorbed all that wonderful butter.  Bake for 2o minutes.  Cool slightly before serving.

I absolutely love the texture of these biscuits – light, tender and flaky – um, pretty sure the melted butter on top helped too 😀

I have Robin Sue to thank for one of my appetizers – she made crab rangoons, but used frozen Fillo cups, which I absolutely loved using – and a 15 pack of cups only cost $1.77 at Wal-Mart.

It helps to start with good crab – we bought this container at Sam’s Club for $17 – I used about half for our appetizers, and plan on making crab cakes with steak later in the week for a variation on surf and turf.

The cups only take about 10 minutes to thaw too, which makes this a quick appetizer from beginning to plate.

Bake for 7 minutes – delicious!

Alright – for some reason I am having technical difficulties – I think I need to resize the rest of my pictures.  Come back tomorrow for Christmas part 2!  Thanks again to Hannah and Tony for getting me the camera of my dreams!

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend – looking forward to catching up with you all! 😀