Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Thai Basil Chicken Wonton Cups. . . and Tony Dances!

I went to Weight Watchers this morning . . . I am up 1.6 this week.聽 Not sure if I didn’t guestimate the points on my birthday right, but I am not going to get discouraged – I’ll just keep on doing what I am doing, and maybe not have as much wine this week! 馃榾

My lunch was so good yesterday, I had to share.聽 I keep forgetting that it’s lent so my one friend could only enjoy the soup – no chicken wontons for her!聽 (on a side note, if you use chicken broth in a dish, is that considered a “meat” during lent?).

Pumpkin Coconut Soup

  • makes 4 servings: 1.5 cups for 3 PointsPlus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon canned chipotle pepper (this is still a good amount of heat!)
  • 2/3 cup potato buds (dried instant potatoes)

Combine the pumpkin, broth, coconut milk and chipotle pepper.聽 Simmer for 10 minutes.聽 Add the potato buds and puree with stick blender.聽 Really, its that simple!聽 The potato buds made it a nice thick soup and the sweetness of the pumpkin and coconut milk balance perfectly with the little bit of chipotle heat.

Thai Basil Chicken Wonton Cups

  • 4 servings: 5 wonton wrappers are 2 points, 1/4 of chicken mixture is 2 points

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces chicken breasts
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1 dried Thai red chili

Put everything in a food processor.聽 Cook in a pan for about 8-10 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked through.聽 Put 1/4 of chicken mixture in 5 wonton cups (the wonton cups are baked in a muffin tin at 350 for about 7 minutes, just until they are crisp – be careful, they go from crisp to burnt in a minute!).聽 So my lunch was 7 points and completely filling. 馃榾

I meant to bring cilantro to garnish, but I forgot - and a splash of sriracha on each one would have been good too!

So this morning as I am looking through the grocery store ads, making my meal plan, Tony sings me a lovely song – All I Need is The Air That I Breathe, and You by the Hollie’s.

I chose to videotape the next song he sang – 99 Red Balloons!

Enjoy your weekend – I love you more every day Tony! 馃榾

How’s Tony?

I love that people have been asking how Tony’s doing – either in comments or in side emails.聽 We are just over five weeks after his colon cancer surgery and I am happy to say that he’s doing a lot better!聽 This has been a hard recovery.聽 Since they removed so much of his colon, let’s just say that it takes a while for things to start moving, and sometimes there was no warning that things were moving.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that he still has a four inch hole next to his belly button – apparently they want the inside to heal before the outside does.聽 He sees the surgeon every Monday for check-ups – a couple weeks ago the doctor said “it looks good, but call us right away if your intestines come out of this hole.”聽 What??!!

Happy to report, his insides are staying inside!聽 I asked him yesterday if I could take a picture of him to post, and of course, he couldn’t give me a normal picture – but that’s my Tony!

I love you 馃榾

My camera battery was charging during breakfast yesterday – you didn’t miss much – I had a zucchini egg white omelet with a slice of toast – 5 Points Plus.

I called Tony before working out and he asked what I was going to do.聽 I said “I feel like running.”聽 He was like “I don’t think those words would ever come out of my mouth!”聽 So I ran.聽 I warmed up for 3 minutes, then put the treadmill on 5.0 mph, and then the last half mile I went at 6.0 mph – wow, that seemed really fast for me!聽 I finished in 38:08, which included the 3 minute warm up.聽 I am still looking for a local race.聽 But running outside is so much different than a treadmill.聽 I have a fear of starting out too fast, and then having to walk – with the treadmill you can keep a steady pace.

My deli just started selling a brand of deli meats and cheeses called Deitz & Watson.聽 They had a table display with some of their selections.聽 They had a lean corned beef that comes in at 1 point an ounce.聽 And this store sells a wide variety of local breads – this dark whole rye is 2 points!聽 So with 2 points of swiss cheese, zero point sauerkraut, and Dijon mustard instead of Thousand Island dressing – my skinny Reuben sandwich is only 6 points. 馃榾

I "fried" it in Pam to crisp it up - so delicious!

On the side I steamed 4 ounces of potatoes and 2 ounces of green beans, then just tossed them in 1 tsp. of prepared pesto – 3 Points, with strawberries for dessert.聽 LUnch comes in at 9 points.

When I got home, the sun actually made an appearance.聽 I took my new 55-200 lens outside – I took these pictures about 35 feet away.聽 Ed looks so serious!

Tony wasn’t hungry for dinner, so I got to have one of my favorite things – pork chops with sauteed apples and sauerkraut. 馃榾

When I took my pork chops out,聽 I didn’t realize I had bought pork “cutlets” so they were super thin.聽 Each one weighed 3 ounces before cooking, so I cooked two.聽 I heated聽 my cast iron skillet on high, then sprayed with Pam right before adding the pork.聽 These only took 2 minutes a side – I removed to a plate, then added 1 sliced Granny Smith apple, 3/4 cup of sauerkraut and 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds.

Once they were done, I added the pork chops back in, and added 2 tablespoons of spicy BBQ sauce – dinner was a delicious 9 points.

not the most colorful dish, but this was so good

I loved the addition of caraway seeds to the kraut

Stats for Thursday:

  • 33 points (including peanut m&m’s before working out and one glass of wine)
  • 0 flex points remain
  • I used 4 of 19 activity points
  • Weigh In Tomorrow – I am .2 pounds away from my 5% and 1.2 away from 10 pounds lost 馃榾

I get to wear jeans to work today – spring cleaning today.聽 馃榾聽 Hope everyone has a great weekend – I am probably going to post tomorrow because I have a pumpkin coconut soup and thai basil wonton cups for lunch today – can’t wait for lunch!

Any big weekend plans?聽 We haven’t any it will be a low key weekend for us – the weather is supposed to be cold anyway.聽 馃槮

 

Sneak Peak into Next Monday’s Giveaway!

Last month I had the privilege of giving away聽copies of聽Rocco Di Spirito’s new cookbook, Now Eat This.聽聽 Imagine my surprise when I got an email from the same publisher, offering me his new book Now Eat This Diet to my readers!聽聽 Now I know the world is all about green monsters and smoothies – I am quite possibly the very last food blogger not to try one.

But the publishers gave me a sneak peak at one of his smoothie recipes!

SERVES 4

Green Tea Watermelon Super Punch

Makes 4 servings: 176 calories, 0 fat, 37 carbs, 1 fiber and 6 protein (4 PointsPlus)

Ingredients:

2 cups ice

4 cups cubed seedless watermelon

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, such as 0% Fage Total

录 cup fresh lime juice

录 cup agave nectar

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple

4 teaspoons unsweetened matcha green tea powder

Method:

Toss all ingredients into a blender and blend for 5 minutes to increase volume.

Serve in glasses with a straw.

doesn't this look so refreshing?!

Here is my smoothie – believe it or not I already had everything at home to make this, except for the watermelon, which I picked up on my way home from work.聽 Hannah loves green tea ice cream and Tony bought some matcha green tea powder at a Japanese grocery store last fall so we could make green tea ice cream at home.

The verdict?聽 I really liked this.聽 It’s bright and refreshing.聽 Not sure why mine isn’t as bright looking as Rocco’s, but I guess that would depend on the green tea powder.

I did cheat and used canned pineapple 馃榾

I let the blender go for five full minutes - it was nice and foamy 馃榾

I definitely think when the weather gets warmer, I’ll be making more smoothies.聽 But our weather is . . . cold. . .windy. . . snowy. . .nasty.聽 So I was happy that yesterday was . . .

BAGEL WEDNESDAY! 8 Point Jalapeno Cheddar Bagel with 1/2 cup egg beaters and 1 ounce deli ham.聽 Perfect 10 point breakfast. 馃榾

For lunch I decided to shake it up a bit at the gym – I did the Stair Master and chose the “random” setting.聽 I really had no idea what that even meant, until I realized I had no idea what was coming.聽 The first 30 second intervals were pretty slow, and I almost changed the level when all of a sudden I was pedaling so fast!聽 I only did it for 20 minutes (2 minute cool down) and ended up doing 66 floors!

Next up was the bike machine – I had time to do a 3 mile bike ride.聽 My incentive was to beat the pacer bike by as much time as possible.聽 I ended up doing the ride in 12:36 minutes – beating the pacer bike by 8:08! Woot!聽 Then it was 5 minutes of abs and a few minutes of stretching.

My idea for lunch was based off of a Clean Eating recipe – a sweet potato steak wrap with a spinach blue cheese sauce.聽 I will be the first to tell you that I am not a sweet potato fan.聽 I am trying though.聽 I baked 3 sweet potatoes over the weekend.聽 I had to call my Mom and ask her if you ate the skin like a regular baked potato – turns out you can’t!

Since I had the fryer out last night for the fries, I sliced the sweet potatoes kind of thick, and flash fried them for about聽2 minutes to give them some texture.聽 I let them drain on a paper towel and just finished them off with salt and pepper.聽 While the sweet potatoes were supposed to go IN the wrap, I opted to keep them on the side. 馃榾

Spinach and Blue Cheese Sauce (adapted from Clean Eating)

  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup fat free half and half
  • 3 tablespoons blue cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of crushed red pepper

Put in a blender and puree.聽 Keep in refrigerator for up to a week.聽 Holy cow this sauce is good – although very mile on the blue cheese front – in fact there is just a hint.聽 My friends at work and I decided that we would add an extra point of crumbled blue cheese in the wrap to get that blue cheese taste.聽聽 I had this make 8 servings, for about 3/4 of a point per serving – about 1/4 of a cup.

The middle of the wrap is just two ounces of cooked steak, romaine lettuce, wrapped in a 4 point whole grain wrapper, heated in the microwave and then drizzled with the spinach sauce.

While I liked the wrap (I need to reduce the cooking time of the steak next time – the meat while still tender was well done) – guess what I loved the most?聽 The sweet potatoes! Although, I have to admit, I added a splash of Tabasco to them to balance the sweetness, and then I dipped them in the spinach sauce – lunch was a delicious 9 points! 馃榾

This made a lot of sauce – I think I am going to make a zucchini/cheese omelet for breakfast and drizzle this sauce over the top. 馃榾

I had pork chops on the menu last night, only to realize as I was driving home that I forgot to take them out to defrost.聽 So a simple pasta dish subbed nicely – I cooked 2 ounces of lean ground beef, drained any fat, then added a cup of baby spinach and marinara sauce and poured it over a cup of fusili – dinner is 8 points.

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 39 points (including 12 points for wine and Trader Joe’s sesame crack pretzels eaten while watching Top Chef)
  • 40 minute stair climber/bike ride
  • average blood sugar 108

I am off to put my breakfast and lunch together – can’t wait for lunch today: a skinny reuben sandwich with new potato/green bean pesto salad. 馃榾

Where is Spring?

I was hoping the weather would have been a bit better on my day off yesterday – we had temps in the low 40s and it was rainy.聽 That didn’t stop us from having fun though!

I did get up and go swimming!聽 I got to the gym at 7:40 and every single lap swim lane was open – I swam from 7:45 to 8:25 and I was the only one in the pool the whole time.聽 馃榾聽 And then I sat in the hot whirl pool tub for five minutes – it was the perfect way to start the day.

Before I left to meet my sister and Mom, I made half a bagel egg sammie – none of the pictures turned out (really, hardly any natural light at 9:00 in the morning??!!), but I have a new cheese that my store now carries – it’s like they asked me to make my own cheese!聽 My breakfast sammie was 6 points.

We met my sister at her office and went to a Chinese restaurant called Szechwan Beijing.聽 It had gotten good reviews according to their website – my dish was perfect.聽 I ordered the kung pao shrimp and asked for extra broccoli (which I think I got 5 pieces?).聽 The shrimp was not breaded, cooked perfectly and a nice spicy bite.聽 Hannah’s sweet and sour chicken looked more like corn dog battered chicken – she wasn’t a fan.聽 My mom’s shrimp in lobster sauce was salty, and my sisters chicken fried rice was just okay – oh well, can’t win them all!

I am guessing 10 points for lunch - does that sound too low?

I love this picture of Nana and Hannah:

And when I went to take a picture of my sister and my Mom, Hannah jumped in at the last second!

And here is a perfect example of how not to take a picture yourself:

My Mom, Jenn and me - I can't believe we have to wear winter coats!

We spent the afternoon going to three different thrift stores.聽 I bought a brand new pair of Gap lounging pants for $2.99, and some t-shirts to work out in.聽 We laughed when Hannah would all of a sudden break into dance without warning – so funny!聽 I’ll have to see if she’ll let me video tape it, because it’s hilarious. 馃榾

We then went to one of my favorite stores in Forest Park, called Flavour Cooking School. Not only do they have tons of cooking classes, but they have a retail portion too – while I drooled over the ridiculously expensive Le Creuset tea kettles, I walked out with some bamboo wooden spoons – I only had one wooden spoon at home!

We picked up my sisters son Mark from school and went out for ice cream – lunch didn’t stick with us that long.聽 They had a sugar free moosetracks, but it was mostly chocolate, and I am not a huge fan of all chocolate ice cream.聽 So I had a zero point cup of coffee. 馃榾

Once back at my Mom’s house, I went through all of my Dad’s photography drawers.聽 He was such an avid photographer, and while he didn’t make prints of every roll he took, he made a contact sheet, clipped the negatives to that, and then perfectly described the contents in a manila folder.聽 There literally are THOUSANDS of pictures.聽 I took a few folders home with me – you may be seeing some flashback Friday posts soon. 馃榾

Hannah and I made our way home.聽 We had one of Hannah’s favorite dinners – sliders and fries.聽 My burgers: 3 oz. lean beef, 2 refrigerator biscuits, 4 ounces of potatoes, and I count 1 point for the oil the fries were fried in.聽 Dinner is 10 Points.

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 37 points (including 4 points for rice crackers eaten on our way home and wine) 馃榾
  • eTools said I only earned 2 points for swimming – boo!
  • 10 flex points remaining, 9 activity points earned
  • average blood sugar 98

Question of the Day:聽 Has spring sprung where you live?聽 I just saw on the news that our temps will be in the 20’s tonight with a possibility of snow – WTH?!

 

Day Off!

I did a really good grocery shop over the weekend.聽 I only spent $61!聽 I am sure it was hard for Tony to be in the living room when I am cooking up a storm on a Sunday – but you guys – Tony doesn’t really like 75% of the food I make.聽 No joke.聽 I think he prefers Progresso over my homemade soups – and you know what a soup whore I am!聽 Just look at all the soups I’ve made!

So I made a batch of my buffalo chicken chili, four stuffed peppers (recipe below – and this is one dish Tony loves!), pumpkin and coconut soup with thai chili wontons, skinny reuben sandwiches with a potato/green bean pesto side dish, and a steak and sweet potato wrap with a spinach blue cheese sauce – don’t worry – recipes will follow this week.聽 I told my co-workers what was on the menu this week and they both loved what’s in store this week. 馃榾

For breakfast I just made a breakfast burrito – these whole grain burritos I found are 4 points but totally filling at 6 grams of fiber.聽 I sauteed some red peppers, deli ham, 1/2 ounce pepper jack cheese and baby spinach – 8 Points Plus total.

with some Taco bell hot sauce from our office condiment drawer 馃榾

I knew I wanted to do a 5k at lunch, but with my blood sugar at 165, I knew I needed some more fuel, so I ate 3 points of peanut m&m’s – it did the trick.聽 It’s amazing how just not working out on Saturday and Sunday how hard it is to get back in the groove – I ended up running the 5k in 8/2 increments – 8 minutes running, 2 minutes walking and finished in 39:11.聽 Not bad!聽 When I got back to the office, my blood sugar was 85 – nice!

So I found these peppers on my $1 rack – I have no idea what kind they are, but they are sweet, but in the shape of a poblano pepper which are usually hot to me.

I threw all the veggies in the food processor for the chili:

I had a work obligation, so all I had time for was to heat my lunch and go – so imagine it looked like this, with 1 serving of tortilla chips on the side – lunch was 9 points:

I snacked on a delicious apple later in the afternoon:

Not only did I buy those red peppers on the $1 rack – I also bought the same amount of green and yellow peppers, so stuffed peppers definitely made the menu this week.聽 I played around with some cooked brown rice that I had, and decided to add spinach to the mix too.

Stuffed Peppers

  • makes 4 servings – each pepper with 1/2 ounce of cheese of choice – 8 PointsPlus

Ingredients:

  • 4 large green peppers, tops removed
  • 8 ounces raw 85% lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces cooked brown rice
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces of cheese of choice (I used cheddar)

Direction:

  1. Heat a pot of water to a boil.聽 Blanche the peppers for about 5 minutes, or until slightly tender, but still crispy.聽 Drain and set peppers aside.
  2. In same pot, cook ground beef until cooked through – drain fat.聽 Add cooked brown rice, baby spinach and one cup of the marinara sauce and cook until spinach starts to wilt.
  3. At this point, I weighed the filling and divided by 4, so each pepper got 6.6 ounces of filling.
  4. Place remaining cup of sauce in an oven proof dish.聽 Put filled peppers on top of sauce and top each pepper with 1/2 ounce of cheese.聽 Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, until the pepper is tender and the cheese is browned.
  5. Serve with pasta on the side – optional.

the filling fully cooked

My plate: 1 pepper (7 Points) 1/2 ounce cheese (1), 1 ounce dried pasta cooked (3), sauce is zero because I made it from fresh tomatoes. 馃榾聽 11 points total.

this was so filling and delicious 馃榾

Stats for Monday:

  • 36 points (including wine)
  • 50 minute treadmill – 39:11 time for 5k
  • average blood sugar was 101

Hannah and I are not leaving for Oak Park until around 10, so I am scratching off one of my goals of swimming and heading to the gym this morning.聽 Looking forward to hanging out with Hannah, my Mom and sister.聽 Not sure where we are going to eat, but we’ll have fun! 馃榾

Check out this week’s BSI – host – Heather from Girlichef chose: Lemons!