We have a Chinese Restaurant!

When we first moved out her almost 10 years ago, the first thing you do in any new town is find the best pizza and best Chinese restaurants.  We found a Chinese place almost immediately – the shrimp toast was by far the best we’d ever had, each dish that came to the table was so fresh and flavorful.

But after that first visit, each and every subsequent visit got worse and worse, until the last time we went, Tony ordered a beef and broccoli dish and the the beef was actually raw – so gross!  Needless to say, they are no longer in business.

Last week Tony was waiting for an appointment and overheard some ladies talking about going out to dinner.  In Tony’s usual sense of humor, he butted in and wanted to know where they were going and what time should he be there.  They mentioned a Chinese place that Tony and I have probably passed by 100’s of times and never gave it a second glance.

Here is our new Chinese restaurant!  Gourmet House in Algonquin.  First sign of a good restaurant?  It is busy.   Second sign of a good restaurant?  It was clean. Third sign of a good restaurant?  Attentive service. Fourth sign of a good restaurant?  The manager asking how everything was.

They have a lunch menu that includes choice of soup (sweet and sour or egg drop), egg roll, rice and entree – and almost all of the lunches cost:

yep, $5.50!

Neither Tony or I are huge fans of egg drop or sweet and sour.  We ordered the sizzling rice soup for 2 – $4.95.  It was enough soup for each of us to have a bowl and one serving was brought home.

I love that Tony automatically asks any server no matter where we go, if there is hot sauce 😀  This one did not disappoint.  A little went a long way.

So the server brought the soup – put the rice (which we later found out was deep fried) and then added the broth and the rice did sizzle.  I’d never had that soup before but I loved the texture of the rice, the broth was not too salty, and the shrimp was so tender.

I do tend to play it safe the first visit to any restaurant – but there are several dishes I can’t wait to try – one that Tony pointed out was a Chef’s Specialty – Combination Hot Pot:

Shrimp, chicken, beef, scallops, bbq pork and tofu with vegetables – all for only $12.98!

I stuck with my stand by of Kung Pao Chicken.  I love that it came with brown rice (I didn’t ask for brown rice) and the chicken was so tender.  And I ate the whole egg roll – it had a nice crunch, and wasn’t greasy at all.

Can’t wait to go back – and Mom, next time you come out here, we’ll have to go!

I had a great grocery shop – we only spent $49 and I got chicken wings, a 4 pound pot roast, ground turkey and bone-in pork chops.

You know I couldn’t have the weekend go by without being Bizzy in the Kitchen!  I made a cauliflower and cheddar cheese soup.  It is really good – tastes like I used heavy cream but I didn’t, and the added lemon zest brings this soup all together.

Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese Soup (printer friendly version)

Course: main meals

PointsPlus™ Value:    4

Servings:  6 (1 cup each)  (7 Plus Points for 1.5 cups)

Preparation Time:  10 min

Cooking Time:  20 min

Level of Difficulty:  Easy


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1 large head)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • oops – forgot to add 4 ounces cheese of your choice 
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in large stock pot.  Add garlic, and cook for a couple minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower, 2 cups milk, chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes.
  4. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with the flour in a small bowl.  Add to soup and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Using a stick blender, puree the soup.  Remove from heat, add cheese and lemon zest and let sit 10 minutes until the cheese melts.

I used an extra sharp white cheddar I bought at Whole Foods - it has bits of cranberry in it, but I could't taste it in the soup

I love cauliflower - yet I didn't even try it until a few years ago

next time I'll have this with a hunk of artisan bread 😀

We had made plan to go out to dinner with our neighbors prior to everything else going on in our lives, but we both felt up to it.  I mean, how can you pass up a Jewish deli??

I like to think that besides Allison, I am the #1 aficionado when it comes to Reuben sandwiches.  The bread can’t be too soggy, the corned beef has to be nice and tender.  This one fit the bill – grilled marble rye on the bottom, delicious kraut, melty cheese – my guess is that this open face sandwich is about 14 points – so worth it!  I ate half a potato pancake, so dinner comes in at 19  points.

this picture doesn't do this sandwich any justice! heaven on a plate 😀

And this place had a full deli and bakery.  It was all I could no not to leave with this!

Stats for Sunday:

  • 32 points
  • 30 minute Biggest Loser on Demand (Tara from BL was actually the leader!)
  • Average blood sugar??  I didn’t test once yesterday – oops!

Check out Dana’s BSI Couscous round up here – lots of cool recipes!  And then check out Debbi Does Dinner Healthy for this weeks BSI.  Um, pretty sure this ingredient screams me – Buffalo Sauce/Hot Sauce! 😀

This week’s weather is going to suck.  Here in Chicagoland we are expecting up to 20 inches of snow by Wednesday – um, not the way I wanted to start February!

Question of the Day:  Is a good pizza place or Chinese restaurant more important to you?

Pasta Primavera

I normally don’t post on the weekend, but wanted to share this recipe with you – it was so good!   The other night I showed you a new Green Giant product (new to me!).  The whole 11 ounce bag is only 3 points!  I had leftover chicken and leftover cooked pasta, so my version of pasta primavera was born! 😀  My lunch portion was only 5 points, but I rewrote the recipe for two servings for a dinner portion.

When I cooked this at work yesterday, while the vegetables are in a light sauce, it wasn’t saucy enough for me.  I looked in the work fridge and found my spicy red pepper hummus my Mom had given to me because it was too spicy for her – just adding a tablespoon to my serving was the perfect touch – it coated the pasta nicely and gave the whole dish a nice kick.  I imagine garlic hummus would be good too!

Pasta Primavera (printer friendly version here)

Course: main meals

PointsPlus™ Value:    8

Servings:  2

Preparation Time:  5 min

Cooking Time:  15 min

Level of Difficulty:  Easy


  • 11 oz bag frozen Green Giant Healthy Colors vegetables
  • 4 oz cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp Tribe All Natural Hummus Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • 1 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 6 oz cooked pasta
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning


  1. Microwave the vegetables according to package instructions.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan.  Add diced cooked chicken and cook for a few minutes to reheat.
  3. Add cooked vegetables from microwave, the pasta and hummus and stir for a couple minutes.
  4. Add mozzarella cheese and stir until melted.  Sprinkle with parsley and Italian seasoning, stir and serve.

3 points for the whole bag

This would be an easy week night meal too – you could just throw in any leftover meat, or maybe shrimp?

In other news, I went to WW today, down another pound so I’ve lost 6 pounds!  Only thing is that they couldn’t print out my results, because last week I went to the meeting on Sunday, which starts their week, so the computer had already “counted” my weigh in for the week.  So my goal is to lose another pound this week to show -2.0 next Saturday!

Tony and I are trying out a new to us Chinese restaurant at lunch today – its so hard to find good Chinese food places in the suburbs!

Enjoy your Saturday – its in the 30’s today so it almost feels balmy! 😀

Chemo and Radiation?

I met Tony at his doctors appointment to meet the surgeon.  Um, turns out our GP didn’t set up an appointment as his nurse had told us, so they had no idea we were coming.  So we waited about a good hour while they had all of his charts and lab work to be faxed to make up his file before seeing the doctor.

Even with that set back, when we finally got into the doctor, we immediately both liked the surgeon.  He went to undergrad at Madison in Wisconsin, then went to Stanford and did his surgical residency at Rush.  The only piece of the puzzle he’s waiting on is the results of the ultrasound test Tony did on Monday, which would pinpoint exactly where the tumor is.  If it’s high up in the colon, they just do surgery – all of their surgeries start out laproscopically, and only if there is a complication do they do the more invasive surgery.

However, if the tumor is lower in the colon, they do six to eight weeks of chemo and radiation.  We had both just wrapped our brains around him having a possible invasive surgery, but chemo and radiation never crossed our minds.  I know he has cancer, but we both had surgery on our brains.  When we heard chemo and radiation, it make it seem that more real that Tony has cancer.  It’s hard to describe!

The other piece of the puzzle will be next Wednesday, when they do a full body scan to make sure that the cancer hasn’t spread anywhere else, and then we’ll form a game plan at the end of next week.  Bottom line is the surgeon doesn’t want to waste any time.

There’s just one more thing.  This surgeon is a Chicago Cubs fan.  I told him that on the day of surgery, don’t be surprised if I have written “Cubs suck” and “100+ years without a World Series Title” all over Tony’s body! 😀

I had to be to work early yesterday, so I had McDonald’s oatmeal – I really like it!  And my co-worker said that you can ask for it without the maple, and it would reduce it to 6 points, but I still don’t think 7 points is too bad for a breakfast.

All of a sudden I looked up and realized I had 15 minutes to eat before leaving for the doctor appointment.  I brought my Split Pea with Smoked Turkey soup – 1 1/2 servings for 8 points.

um, maybe splashed with some Tabasco 😀

The smoked turkey was still really tender – I still have four more servings in the deep freeze too 😀  I never even tried split pea soup before just because of how it looks – missed out for so many years!

the perfect bite

Since I didn’t do a full grocery shop this week, I decided to hit up my store’s 50% off bin on the way home.  I scored and got a one pound bone-in New York strip for $4.30 and this package of veggies – Green Giant’s Healthy Colors.  While I wouldn’t spend $3 on this package, I didn’t mind spending $1.50.  Each serving is only 1 point.

My plate: 8 points

I have a full-proof gravy recipe for you.  I know I’ve talked about having the .50 cent packets of gravy mix in your pantry is nice to have on hand, but I didn’t have any more so had to make it from scratch.

Super Easy Gravy (makes 4, 1/4 cup servings – 2 points each)

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup broth (I used beef, but you could use any broth to suit what you are making)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in sauce pan.  Add flour and stir for one minute.  Slowly add the beef broth and continue cooking for 5 minute or so, making sure the flour is combined and the gravy gets thick.  I added sauteed mushrooms for Tony and put that gravy over his steak – he loved it! 😀

This was the first time I’ve had yellow carrots – I actually never knew they existed!  I am submitting this side dish to Christina’s Friday Firsts:

I did add pepper to the veggies at the table, but these were really good.  Maybe I can use the remaining bag in a stir fry for my lunch today.

But later on in the evening, I was really hungry – I realized I’d only had 23 points for the day, so I made an unphotographed cheese and cracker tray for me and Tony – my guess is it was around 8 points.  Turns out I like cheese! 😀

Stats for Thursday

  • 31 points
  • no exercise
  • average blood sugar 134

Hope everyone has a great weekend – I’ll “see” you on Monday!






Chicken Cordon Bleu

The other day when we announced that Tony had colon cancer, MaryBe left a comment that said “if pink is for breast cancer, is brown for colon cancer?!”   I laughed when I read that!  Tony took it seriously though, and came up with our badge:

it's now on his Facebook page too! 😀

We are both a bit nervous for today’s doctors appointment with the surgeon.  Sometimes there is too much information on the internet – we both thought that taking out this tumor would be routine surgery, but it is anything but that.  We are hoping that they can do laproscopic surgery, which would reduce his hospital and recovery time.  If they have to go through his abdomen, its a 10 day hospital stay and six weeks of recovery.  I guess I am kind of glad we know a little more before going in, but its still scary. 😦

I ended up making a breakfast pizza on a Flat Out bread.  Not as huge a fan using it this way – the dough in the middle was really “raw” tasting, and it was hard to eat.  I ended up eating it like a taco.

8 points

And while I don’t think I’ll ever like a runny egg yolk, I didn’t cook this egg as much and I liked it!

I was reading Renee of My Kitchen Adventure’s blog the other day and she had a great idea.  Using a box of cauliflower with cheese sauce to make a quick mac n cheese.  My store routinely sells these packages 10 for $10 and a had a couple left in my freezer.

I had 4 ounces of leftover pasta from the night before, and this came together really quick.  I liked it, but I don’t think there was enough protein because I was really hungry when dinner time came around, and I didn’t eat lunch until after my treadmill workout at around 1:30 in the afternoon.   It also had a very Velveeta tasting cheese to me – I am used to my mac n cheeses with Cabot cheese, so I guess I am a bit spoiled.  😀

8 Points

I have to tell you that when I told Tony we were having Chicken Cordon Bleu, he immediately thought of a bland, “diet” version that I’ve come up with in the past, not the frozen ones that he used to eat as a young adult – you know the ones that after you cook them and cut into them, a pool of butter oozes all over your plate?

So while there is not any butter in this recipe, I believe they score high because of the crunch factor – and I only used a tablespoon of oil and Pam to fry them in before hitting the oven.  Tony still misses the butter though!

Chicken Cordon Bleu (printer friendly version here)

Course: main meals

PointsPlus™ Value:    10

Servings:  4

Preparation Time:  10 min

Cooking Time:  25 min

Level of Difficulty:  Moderate


  • 1 pound(s) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin to about 1/2 an inch
  • 2 oz lean deli-sliced honey ham
  • 2 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheeses
  • 2 item(s) egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup(s) seasoned bread crumbs


Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten out 4 pieces of chicken to about 1/2 inch thick.

Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs on separate plates. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put a slice (1/2 ounce) of ham onto each piece of chicken, then 1/2 an ounce of mozzarella cheese, and carefully roll the chicken breast up.

Dip the chicken in seasoned flour, then the beaten egg, and finally the breadcrumbs.

Heat olive oil and Pam in non-stick skillet to medium-high heat.  Place chicken in the hot oil, seam side down, and fry for 3 minutes or until golden brown.

Transfer to an oven safe dish (or cook in cast iron skillet that is oven safe) and cook for 15 to 20 more minutes.

Dinner with a cup of green beans and 1/4 cup cooked brown rice - 11 points

I thought these were delicious – the chicken was crunchy on the outside, yet tender on the inside, and I got the salty taste of the ham and cheese in each bite. 😀

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 27 Points (first time I didn’t use all of them!)
  • 45 minute treadmill workout – 5 mph run/5 minutes
  • Average blood sugar 107

Have a great day!

I didn’t want Tony’s Comment to go unnoticed . . .

Here is Tony’s comment from yesterdays post:

Mr. Biz (Tony) says:



It’s been a long time since so many people discussed my ass.

Thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers!! I am constantly amazed how wonderful and thoughtful you all are during times like this.

This cancer picked the wrong ass to attack. I have begun eating hot foods, nuts, and bran. If this cancer thinks it can hang around enjoying itself, it is sadly mistaken! I gave the tumor the finger when I saw it outlined on the butt monitor. Soon it will be cut from me, and if I am allowed to I will spit on it.

Thank you to all of Biz’s “friends” in the blogosphere. You will never know how much it meant to her and I.

FUCK cancer!!!

I could not have said it any better honey – I love you! 😀  (and yes, I’ve been using WordPress for 2 1/2 years and just noticed the quotation marks in the tool bar!)

After seeing a couple people having savory oats recently, I realized I haven’t had them in ages.  My bowl: 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese, 1 fried egg in Pam and lots of Frank’s hot sauce and Tabasco 😀  9 PointsPlus


oh, and an ounce of chopped ham 😀

 Before the gym my blood sugar was 150, and I’d rather it be over 200 so I don’t bottom out.  I ate two of these pears and that worked perfectly – I think these are Bosc?  They never get super ripe, but are so sweet.

At the gym I did 40 minutes on the treadmill, toggling between walking at 3.5 mph for 5 minutes, then running at 4.8 mph for 5 minutes.  I still have a bit of a stuffy nose, but definitely worked up a sweat. 😀   I am not liking the lunch time viewing on FoodNetwork – its Ina Garten for a solid hour and her voice sometimes puts me to sleep.

As most of the long time readers will know, Tony does not do leftovers.  I was looking in my fridge and saw that I had leftover pork tenderloin.  I actually got the idea for this chili off of eTools on the Weight Watcher’s website – they have a feature that you can add what you have and it will suggest recipes.  I didn’t have as many beans as the original recipe, and I also added frozen corn.

This is a very mild chili – I had to seriously spice my bowl up with some Tabasco, but Tony loved it – as he can’t handle the heat! 😀

Pork and Black Bean Chili (printer friendly version here)

Course: main meals
PointsPlus™ Value:    4
Servings:  10 (1 1/4 cup each)

Preparation Time:  5 min
Cooking Time:  120 min
Level of Difficulty:  Easy


1 1/4 pound(s) Pork, tenderloin, cooked
2 cup(s) canned black beans
2 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced (medium)
12 oz cooked frozen yellow corn
4 cup(s) canned diced tomatoes
2 cup(s) water
1 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper, (optional – leave out for mild chili)
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp table salt


Dice up leftover pork roast.  Set aside.
In a large stock pot, heat oil and add garlic, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, paprika and Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant.
Pour in the two cups of water, stirring the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, black beans and cayenne and bring to a simmer and let cook for 2 hours.
Twenty minutes before serving, stir in chopped pork and frozen corn. Season with salt and pepper.  (my serving was closer to 1 3/4 cups for 7 points)

with tortilla chips, lunch comes in at 10 points

I didn’t do a full menu/meal plan this week because I really had no idea what was going to be going on with Tony.  We meet with a surgeon tomorrow and will have more information then.

I had defrosted Italian sausage the night before for our stuffed peppers and needed to use that up.  When I was at Whole Foods last time, I picked up two boxes of this pasta, pretty much the same stats as regular pasta – 5 points per cup.

It looks like this dry:

I really liked this pasta, it didn’t taste gluten free at all.  My plate: chopped mixed greens on the bottom, 1 cup pasta, 2 ounces Italian sausage (that I thought would be 3 points, but turned out to be 5 points), pasta sauce and 1/4 ounce shaved parmesan cheese.  Dinner was 11 points.  And just as I was taking a picture with my new camera, the battery died, so Old Blue had to step in:

I may have added some crushed red pepper flakes to my dish 😀

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 31 points
  • 40 minutes on treadmill
  • average blood sugar 117

Thanks again for your continued support – we appreciate it!

p.s.  Don’t forget that this weeks BSI is couscous over at Dana’s Food for Thought. You have until Sunday to submit a recipe, and remember, it doesn’t have to be a recent recipe you’ve posted!  I am going to submit my Quinoa Meatballs.  And yes, I thought if I used red quinoa, Tony and Hannah wouldn’t notice, but they did!  Um, apparently I don’t know the difference between couscous and quinoa!  Ahem, this is the recipe I am submitting to BSI this week – Shrimp Salad with Honey Jalapeno Lime Dressing.  It’s 11 points for a very generous serving! 😀

Off to make breakfast pizza – have a great day!

Wow – thank you!

Thanks for all your wonderful, heart felt comments yesterday! (and Twitter shout outs!) As I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for Tony to have his procedure, every time I heard the “ding” of another comment, it felt as if I was getting a virtual hug from you!

Some good news!  The tumor will be removed with surgery within the next two weeks.  We aren’t quite out of the woods yet, as he still needs to get more blood work done and get a body scan to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread, but the train is in motion to just get the cancer out.  Can I tell you Tony was concerned that he might be in the hospital during the Super Bowl and was worried about not having football food?!  😀   At least our shitty Bears (Cutler has to go!) won’t be in the Super Bowl!

So over the weekend I did what I normally did – which was be bizzy in my kitchen.  It helped me keep my mind off of everything else going on.  I had one banana and exactly 1 ounce of roasted pecans, so banana pecan pancakes were born.  These are super easy because I used Bisquick for the batter.  While these are on the high side per pancake, when I put them on my points tracker, 3 is 11 points, not 12 and I had this as breakfast and lunch.

Banana Pecan Pancakes 

Course: breakfast
PointsPlus™ Value:    4
Servings:  12

Preparation Time:  5 min
Cooking Time:  25 min
Level of Difficulty:  Easy

1 large banana(s)
1 oz pecan halves, finely chopped
2 cup(s) pancake mix, dry
1 1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil


Heat oven to 250.
Mix all ingredients together until well combined.
Pour batter into a pan with Pam using a 1/4 cup measure . Flip after 2-3 minutes, or when bubbles start forming on the top. Cook 2-3 more minutes on second side.
Place cooked pancakes on baking sheet in oven until finished making all the pancakes.

I thought these were delicious – every other bite had a banana or pecan – yum!

I took our dog for a couple walks.  Unfortunately he’s getting so old, about 10 minutes is all he can handle before he’s spent – the distance between our house and the river.  It’s frozen over and people snow mobile over it – scares the crap out of me because there are spots that don’t freeze over because of the current.  Luckily there haven’t been any deaths on the river in the last few years.

We decided to make sub sandwiches for the Bears game.  I absolutely love our local deli – I think I ordered 10 different kinds of meat and cheeses.  Tony left me at the deli – he thinks its rude to the other customers to order more than three things at a time at the deli – me?  I have no problem asking for 10 things!

And I went to Weight Watchers on Sunday morning.  I got my 5 pound loss sticker – and a Bravo sticker for handing out a recipe 😀

I am really trying NOT to emotionally eat while we are going through this.  When we got back from the hospital yesterday, I immediately put my work out clothes on a did a 40 minute boot camp on exercise on demand – it was nice to get sweaty!

Dinner was easy – my simple stuffed peppers.  I use 1/2 pound ground sirloin, 1/2 pound Italian sausage (out of the casing), 8 ounces of tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  I brown the meat first, pour off any fat, add the tomato sauce and let it cook for about 10 minutes.  I blanch the peppers in boiling water (Tony likes soft peppers) then stuff the peppers, added 1/2 ounce of mozzarella cheese to the top of each pepper, then bake at 350 for 15 minutes, and finish it off under the broiler for a minute or two.  Each half pepper is 9 points.  I served mine on a bed of mixed greens.

I added crushed red pepper to mine for an extra kick 😀

Stats for Monday:

  • 31 points
  • 40 minute boot camp
  • average blood sugar 122

Thanks again for all of your support – love the blogging community – we appreciate it!

Fuck Cancer

Although Tony and I could see it in the doctor’s eyes at his appointment last week, Friday night at dinner time we got the call that Tony has rectal cancer.  And while we both kind of saw it coming and had a couple days to digest it, I know both of us were hoping for better news.  We’ve decided that our mantra is going to be:  “Fuck Cancer!”

Not gonna lie, Friday night was rough – we had a pity party for two!  But we woke up Saturday with a positive purpose.  We don’t exactly know what we are dealing with, other than he has a cancerous tumor.   Today we go to a hospital in Chicago where they will do an ultrasound to figure out the exact size and depth of the tumor.

We both are going to rely heavily on our sense of humor to get us through this.  All weekend Tony would say something like “can I have a glass of iced tea?  I have ass cancer!”  And I, who never replaces the toilet paper, replaced it yesterday and as I was walking the toilet paper into the bathroom, I pointed it out to Tony and said “I am replacing this because you have ass cancer!”

Thanks for all your well wishes prior to this diagnosis and keep sending your positive thoughts our way – we can use all the help we can get!


Biz and Tony