Happy Halloween and Chicken Sausage Gumbo

Every year my office dresses up for Halloween.  In 2009 I went as Julia Child. I walked around our office saying “Bon Appetit!”  In 2010 I went as Paula Dean.  I handed out goodie bags and I said “love and best wishes from my kitchen to yours!”

This year?  I am going as:

Yep!  Guy Fieri.  We are grilling out and I am making thai burgers – you’ll just have to come back tomorrow for my costume and the recipe for this burger which is out of this world!

I was bizzy in my kitchen yesterday as usual.  I have to show you the size of the .99 cent a pound chicken breasts I got – I put an 8 x 11 sheet of paper behind these chicken boobs so you can see how big they are!

I’ve never made gumbo before and decided to make that for dinner last night.  Can I just say that I had no idea some recipes called for up to 1/2 cup of oil to make a roux out of?  So I combined several healthier recipes and came up with my version.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with Rice (4 servings without the rice: 268 calories, 6 fat, 20 carbs, 2.2 fiber and 32 protein – or 7 Points). 

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 6 ounces diced smoked kielbasa
  • 1 cup new potatoes
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt over chicken.  Heat oil over medium heat and stir in flour.  Cook, stirring constantly until the flour begins to brown.  Slowly stir in all the broth and using a whisk, cook for 2 minutes.  There shouldn’t be any lumps (I did have to remove a few lumps of flour that just never incorporated).

Throw everything but the kielbasa in the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the sausage and simmer for 20 minutes more.  Serve over white rice.

My broth never really thickened up as much as I would have liked – Tony and I both considered this more of a gumbo soup, but we liked it.  I’ll have to try again on another gumbo recipe – if you have one to share, please do!

With 3/4 of a cup of rice, dinner came in at 10 points.

In case you missed it – BSI is back!  I chose Pumpkin!  Just leave your pumpkin recipes in the comments section – winner will get a $10 Starbucks gift card. 😀

Alright, off to finish putting my costume together – have a wonderful Halloween!  What were you the last time you dressed up?

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Mini Cherry Cheesecake, BSI is Back and Holiday Challenge Update

So I was a bit discouraged at my WI yesterday, but guess what?  I weighed myself today and I had a loss of 2.6!  Just goes to show that you can’t always count on your weigh ins to show up when you want – hope that last sentence makes sense!  So we’ll see how that translates at next weeks WI.  So how was your week?

Here is a new product find – Tony found it when we were grocery shopping – they are delicious and 14 crackers comes in a serving. 😀

I also got two bags of chicken breasts – 20 pounds for just under $20!  Sweet!

I did a quick inventory of my pantry – I’ve had this can of cherry pie filling for probably a year?

The stats are pretty good too – 35 calories for 1/3 cup:

So I was thrilled when I found this recipe.  My changes are in red below.

Makes 12 – each one is 116 calories, 4.6 fat, 15.6 carbs, .4 fiber and 3 protein – or 3 points plus.

3/4 cup(s) graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp light butter, melted (I used real butter)
2/3 cup(s) low fat cream cheese
6 Tbsp fat-free cream cheese
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 large egg white(s)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup(s) sugar
3/4 cup(s) light fruit pie filling, cherry (I used no sugar added pie filling)

Instructions

Place 12 cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Spoon 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture into bottom of each liner and press down gently (I used a shot glass to push the crust down); refrigerate until ready to use.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat both types of cream cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice, egg whites, vanilla extract and sugar; beat until smooth.

Spoon cream cheese mixture evenly into muffin liners; bake until set, about 15 minutes (mine baked for 20 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Top each cheesecake with 1 tablespoon cherry pie filling (I somehow got 2 tablespoons of pie filling from the 3/4 cup) . Yields 1 cheesecake per serving.

These are a winner people!  You would never know that these are 3 points each – and this is a nice make ahead dessert for Thanksgiving or Christmas. 😀

I also scored because roma tomatoes were only .69 cents a pound so I made salsa so I can make crock pot chicken salsa this week.  Love the char!

It was a gorgeous day – our front yard tree is so pretty now – in a week the leaves will probably be all gone. 😦

I also smoked a rump roast last night – it turned out so good!  I plan on using the leftover meat to make beef and barley soup. 😀

So I am bringing back BSI!  It’s wierd because I got about 10 emails in just the past week asking if it was coming back.  I stopped it with the summer challenge, but decided to bring it back.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient) is a recipe contest – each week a host picks an ingredient, during the week (or it can be an archived recipe) you have to post a recipe with that ingredient – and then the host picks a winner and sends that person a token gift – it can be cookies, or a $5 starbucks gift card.

You can check out all the previous hosts and ingredients here.

So this weeks Secret Ingredient?  PUMPKIN!  Leave your recipe link in the comment section, or send it to me at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com.  Next Sunday I’ll pick a winner and announce the new host.  Let me know if you are interested in hosting next week!

Have a great Sunday!

Weekly Weigh In and Sushi!

Even with all my exercise this week, I still had a gain on the scale.

I am going to chalk it up to the Japanese food I had yesterday for lunch.  (and maybe I had a bit too much fried food this week?! :D) Tony had a friend in town and we met him here.  It’s literally five minutes from my office.

Um, I did not get Japanese noodles with ketchup – ew!

I ordered something different – it was a cold soba noodle dish – it had a vinegar dipping sauce that had stuff you could add to it – like radish and wasabi.

I ate about half of the noodles, and all of the tempura – so light and crunchy!

Tony and his friend did full metal jacket sushi – the piece on the far left is Tony’s favorite – fatty tuna!

It was nice getting together with Tony and his friend for lunch!  And it made my afternoon go by really fast – it’s so sad that its almost dark by the time I get home from work already:

You guys will be JEALOUS!  Check out the price for chicken breasts this week – its scary!!

I have planned for me and my SIL – blackened chicken wraps, crock pot chicken salsa, beef enchiladas and shrimp korma, to name a few things.

And I think I’ll put the deep fryer back in the basement this week!

Stop by tomorrow. . . BSI is back!  I’ll host this week with . . . pumpkin!  Full details in tomorrows post – what do you have going on today?  Make it a great day!

Pork Wontons and thanks!

Thanks for all your comments yesterday on my speedy run – one of my co-workers thought I had sped up my feet somehow!

For those of you who missed it, here is the video again, um – maybe with Tony’s commentary?

He sent it to me at work yesterday and I just about peed my pants.  Thanks Tony!

I love canned potatoes. They are cheap and quick to make a quick dish with – yesterday I made a zucchini, mortadella, potato hash – omg, this was so tasty.  I just sauteed the potatoes in about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and Pam, when they started to brown I added in the rest of the ingredients.  This bowl, with the mini arnold thin, comes in at 9 points.

Over the weekend I was doing an inventory of my freezer and fridge.  A couple weeks ago I thought it was a good idea to buy a 3 pound bag of cole slaw mix from Sam’s Club – I swear those prices make me throw shit in my cart I normally wouldn’t buy!  And I had ground pork in my freezer and wontons in the fridge . . . so I made pork wontons. 😀

Pork Wontons  (makes 36 – each wonton: 55 caloires, 2.5 fat, 5 carbs, .2 fiber, 2.4 protein – or 1 WW Points each)

  • 12 ounces ground pork
  • 2 cups cole slaw mix
  • 1 tablespoon peanut sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 36 wonton wrappers (3.5 inch size)

Mix all the ingredients (except wonton wrappers!) together and salt and pepper.  Using a tablespoon, add mixture to middle of wonton wrapper.  Have a bowl of water nearby, dip your finger in the water and outline the edges of the wonton, then press the two sides together.  This process takes a while – if you have more hands to help, it will go faster!

 

I decided to make a quick wonton soup for lunch.

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 5 pork wontons
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 1 shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

I just threw all of this in a pot and let it cook for 15 minutes while I showered yesterday morning.  The only thing I would do differently would be to add the wontons at the very end.  After cooking the wontons in the soup and then reheating it at lunch, the wontons kinda fell apart – but it tasted good!  This whole bowl of goodness is only 9 points.

You can see the insides of the wontons fell out!

It was a bit chilly yesterday – before I went on my bike ride weather.com said it was 48 degrees, but with the wind felt like 44.  I dressed well, but it was still cold!  And somehow the wind was at my face the whole 10 miles – it took me 55 minutes to do the ride, about 5 minutes longer than normal.

At least it wasn’t raining! 😀

My store had chicken legs on sale for .29 cents a pound and I just can’t pass up a deal like that.  I found another recipe for fried chicken and this one is a winner.  Super crunchy, the chicken was so tender and juicy.  The only thing I changed was I reduced the amount of cayenne pepper and hot sauce – Tony can’t handle too much spice.

The secret is the triple coat of flour:

I used the rest of the can of potatoes for our side dish – um, think I am lacking in the veggie department on this plate – but the chicken was so good!  I put “fried chicken leg” into eTools and it said 5 points – with the potatoes (and some bacon bits!) dinner comes in at 9 points.

Stats for Thursday:

  • 26 points (still have 21 flex points left and tomorrow is WI!)
  • 10 mile, 55 minute bike ride
  • average blood sugar 138

Happy Friday!  Make it a great day!

Six Minute Mile – for one minute!

I am usually a fly by the seat of my pants, water off a ducks back kinda person.  Two of my bosses were going to be out yesterday, and I had my whole day planned, figured out what projects I would complete and get off my desk.  Um, didn’t happen – blackberry’s weren’t working, software wasn’t installed on some computers – it was crazy busy!

By the time I had breakfast it was 10:00 a.m.!  Two mini Arnold thin sammies with egg/salami and cheese – 10 PointsPlus for both.

Hannah didn’t have work or school yesterday, so we decided to have lunch together.  We were going to go to The Lucky Monk for their awesome spinach and parmesan pizza, until Tony reminded me of Nozumi – and we made a quick change of plans.

So happy Tony made the suggestion – they have the BEST calamari I’ve ever had – tender, slightly breaded and paired with the wasabi vinegar slaw and spicy mustard sauce, it is just an explosion of flavors.

We then each got a bento box – mine was spicy chicken.  I ate all the chicken because it was grilled, ate a tempura shrimp, 2 tempura veggies, the salad and a couple bites of rice, my estimate is that lunch comes in around 16 points.

I was so full from lunch I didn’t eat dinner when I got home.  Hannah and I went to the gym.  I watched Biggest Loser on Tuesday.  One of the contestants, Vinny, was on the treadmill.

Bob asked him what the fastest he ran on the treadmill and he said “6.0 mph.”  Well, over the course of several 15 second sprints, Bob got him up to 10 mph!  That’s the equivalent to a six minute mile pace.  He’s 372 pounds!  That got me thinking, if he can sprint at a six minute mile pace for 15 seconds, I could at least try to do 30 seconds.

Um, guess who did it for 1 minute?

Half way through I thought I heard Hannah say “do you want me to start filming?” and that’s when I said “are you filming??!!”  Ha!

It really is mind over matter – I think that I keep telling myself that I can’t, when my body is trying to tell me that I can. 😀  Like Helen, I keep thinking “I wonder how much faster I can go when I am 30 pounds lighter?”  Did you read her last blog post?  Go check it out – very inspiring!

I have an interesting opportunity coming up – I’ve been offered a personal trainer for six weeks beginning November 7 through December 19.  More details will be coming, but mixed with WW, I think this is just the thing I need to get through the holidays this year – and get me to 150 pounds when I begin 2012.  😀

You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be. – David Viscott

That’s the plan!  How are you going to push yourself today?

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 36 points
  • 45 minute jog (includes 1 minute at 10 mph!)
  • average blood sugar 122

Make it a great day!

I love music!

I was reminded the night before last night how much t.v. is an intregal part of our daily life.  While I love all types of music, Tony is more of a talk radio/sports radio fan.  Our t.v. is pretty much on 24/7 when we are awake.  Sometimes if we aren’t even in the room!  (or rooms – is it sad that we only have 4 rooms in our house and we have 4 t.v.’s??!!).

After Hannah and I had dinner and watched Househunters International Monday night, at the stroke of 8:00 p.m. is when the worst happens – its recording 4 shows at the same time, so you either have to watch a recorded show, or turn off your t.v.  Since Tony was out to dinner, all the shows that were being recorded were ones we watch together and I turned off the t.v.

And we listened to music!  Hannah was doing some homework, I was making pumpkins scones, and it was nice.  That’s why I have been loving Pandora – its turned me on to artists I had never even heard of.

Want to know my eclectic Pandora stations so far?

  • Adele
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • Pink
  • India Arie
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Harry Chapin
  • James Taylor

When I put the station on “Quick Mix” you can imagine the variety of music I listen to!  Well here is a new favorite artist of mine:  Laura Marling.  Never heard of her, but coincidentally I heard it on my Pandora yesterday and then heard it on Chicago’s WXRT station on my way home from work.

I think she has such an interesting tone to her voice.  Can’t wait to check out more of her songs.

So I’ve been dreaming of Nicole’s pumpkin scones since the day she posted them.  Last night was the perfect night to make them.  Although I followed her recipe to the T, I felt the dough was a little dry, so I added a couple more tablespoons of half in half.  I should have just kept kneading the dough, because then it was too sticky.

I didn’t want to add more flour, then I’d be eating pumpkin hockey pucks (no pun intended – Nicole plays ice hockey!).  So I ended up using my 1/3 cup and made scone “drop biscuits.”  So while they don’t look anywhere near as pretty as Nicole’s, the taste was fantastic.

And because I used my 1/3 cup measure, I got 8 scones instead of Nicole’s six – so each one comes in at: 281 calories, 9 fat, 45 carbs, 1 fiber and 4.1 protein – or 7 PointsPlus.

I was concerned that I was going to be starving before lunch, but this held me pretty well – I think next time I’ll pair it with a cheese stick or egg white scramble to bump up the protein.  Thanks Nicole! 😀

Checked the weather channel before heading out for my walk/run.  Said 50% chance of rain, and I debated about even going.  Then I thought about my post and said “I will get wet – so what?!”  I drizzled for the first five minutes, and then the sun came out.  I had mapped 3.2 miles, and at the half way turn around point told myself “just run as far as you can before stoppng to walk.”

Um, doesn’t everyone have these internal discussions in their head? 😀  I have no idea if it was the cooler temperature, or being warmed up after the first 1.6 miles, but I finished the last 1.6 miles in 18 minutes!.  That’s an 11:15 pace – woot!  Here is a cool pace calculator by the way – just enter the time and distance and it will give you a pace.

I am trying to incorporate more veggies into the mix – still struggle with that a lot of the time.  Enter the acorn squash.  I’ve made acorn squash bisque (um, only 2 WW points per cup people!), but I’ve never had just the vegetable.

I sliced and baked these for 45 minutes over the weekend.  Then as I was putting the squash in my tupperware, I sprinkled taco seasoning over the top – I used about 1 tsp. of olive oil and salt and pepper per squash – so this side serving is only 1 WW point.  On the side were three chicken and spinach tacos – all together lunch comes in at 9 points.

Dinner was my 10 point stuffed peppers.  The quick version is to poke a hole in the top of the peppers, then microwave on fresh vegetable.  They cook through but still retain the shape before being stuffed and then baked.

I recently found a seasoning that I am loving – I found it at Penzey’s Spice store in Oak Park – it’s called Italian sausage seasoning – I added about 1/2 a teaspoon to my pepper mixture.

STATS FOR TUESDAY:

  • 29 points (includes 1 oz. of pretzels after dinner)
  • 45 minute, 3.2 mile walk/run – 18 minute 1.6 miles 😀
  • average blood sugar 141

TONY’S JOKE OF THE DAY: 

  • Q:  What are two things you can see from outer space?
  • A:  The Great Wall of China and the Lazy-Susan I bought at the thrift store over the weekend.

I don’t care – I still love it! 😀

Sometimes I am Cheap. And Pork Thai Stew.

We had a really big toaster oven.  We don’t have a very big kitchen, and why I thought I needed a toaster oven that had a bun warmer, I have no idea.  I think I used the bun warmer twice?  This is what it looked like:

We had it for years, and then to me, it seemed that it took twice as long to get to temperature, and realized we were really only using it as a toaster.  So one day I unplugged it and threw it out.  Let’s call it an executive decision, shall we?  So I promptly replaced it with this piece of shit toaster:

This Hamilton Beach toaster oven couldn’t even fit rye bread – you would have to flip the bread around half way through.  The “bagel” setting barely warmed the bagel, let alone toast it.  I kept hearing Tony say “it would be really nice to have a toaster oven, but oh yeah, you threw it out!”  But my thought was, why spend xx amount on a toaster oven if all we use it for is as a toaster?  I can be cheap like that sometimes. 😀

I hate to concede.  But. Tony was right.  Yep, I said it Tony!!  We get Consumer Reports magazine, and they recommended this toaster oven:

The Oster Digital Countertop Oven with Convection – Model: TSSTTVMNDG.  This was on sale at our local Wal-Mart for $79.  After toasting bagels over the weekend, Tony used the convection oven to make a Homerun Inn frozen pizza and declared it delicious.  The cheese got nice and bubbly and he said that the crust was perfectly crisp.  Nice! 😀

Breakfast was a mini bagel sammie – 1 egg, baby spinach, 1/2 ounce hard salami, 2/3 ounce cheese – 8 PointsPlus.

I thought I was going to be too swamped to take a walk at lunch but luckily found a window – perfect weather!!  Sunny and 60.  I walked/ran for 50 minutes – it felt really good!

So my grocery store sale flyer had pork stew for $1.99.  I asked Tony if he had ever had it before and his answer was “not intentionally!”  So I decided to make a dish I know I would like and my SIL would like . . . and guess who else loved it?  Hannah!  Yep, my mostly non-meat eating daughter thought it was delicious.

Thai Pork Stew (4 servings / 4 oz. pork mixture with 1/2 cup of sauce is 276 calories, 12 fat, 15 carbs, 2 fiber and 26 protein = 7 PointsPlus).

  • 1 pound pork stew (alternatively 1 pound cut up pork chops or tenderloin)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups red peppers
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cream peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 cups chicken broth

I heated my oven to 300.  I just put everything in together (don’t worry, the peanut butter melts into the sauce) and baked it for 90 minutes in my dutch oven, stirring every half hour.

I don’t have any pictures when it came out of the oven because it was already dark out.  When I reheated my portion, I tossed it with 2/3 cups cooked white rice and a cup of steamed veggies – broccoli/carrots and peapods.  Sorry about the quality of the photo – but this was really delicious!

This was so filling!  It took me a while to eat too – the pork was super tender and I loved that there was a lot of sauce – my lunch comes in at 10 PointsPlus. 😀

Now the sun is setting on my drive home – they sky was so pretty!

And then I turned that sky picture into something cool – I always forget I have a “fisheye” effect on my camera!

I thought I was going to have to work late last night, and Tony had a dinner out so I had nothing really planned.  Um, left to my own devices, I am sure no one is shocked at what I made for me and Hannah.

We made pizza!  Um, someone put red onions on her half – ew!

Yep, my 14 point half of pizza really hit the spot – I had 1.5 ounces of sausage, 1/2 ounce pepperoni, roasted red pepper, baby spinach, 4 ounces of pizza dough, and 1.5 ounces of asiago cheese.  Yumz.

Stats for Monday:

  • 36 points (includes 4 points of tasting while cooking last night – I may have had half a pumpkin scone!)
  • 50 minute walk/run
  • average blood sugar 132

Have a great Tuesday – make it a great day! 😀