Happy New Year . . . and the Story of Errighn

My Weight Watchers location made a move this week and this was the first week of meetings in the new space.  It’s bigger and more modern, and only about 1 mile away from the old place.

Is it me or is every Weight Watchers location sandwiched between food related businesses?  The last place?  On the tiny strip mall was a bakery, Dairy Queen and Fat Guys Burgers.

This location is sandwiched between a Pizza Palace and Pablo’s Mexican restaurant!  So I hadn’t weighed in for two weeks:

Notice the weight – 164, which is 5 pounds up from my lowest weight in early December.  The emotional eating I did while Tony was in the hospital caught up with me, but I have recognized it, and will move in the right direction.

Yesterday for breakfast I had an egg sammie and a giant tangelo – so juicy and delicious!  Breakfast comes in at 9 points.

I spent the better part of an hour yesterday deep cleaning our bedroom.  Our dog sleeps on the floor at the foot of our bed, and I think one whole canister of the vacuum was just dog hair – ew!  So it is nice and clean now. 😀

I had a couple errands to run, and knew I could fit in a quick workout at the gym.  I ended up doing 45 minutes on the treadmill – 5 minute warm up, 5 minute cool down, then 35 minute run at 4.7 mph on a 4.3 incline hill – felt great!  Here is a blurry blackberry photo to prove it!

It was nearly 3:45 when I finished my errands and I was hangry!  So I picked up McDonald’s – Tony always gets either $1 burger or $1 chicken sammie and the $1 fries – I ended up with the Southwest Grilled Chicken salad – on eTools it says its 8 points, but not sure if that includes the dressing?  It was actually pretty good.

Tony still doesn’t have much of an appetite.  What’s weird is since his colon cancer surgery, the idea of a thick burger or thick pork chop makes him want to gag – and those were two of his favorite things!

So I ended up making us a plate of stuff around 8:00 last night.  Shrimp, carrots (later I added a sliced pear) some meat, cheese, garlic toast.   It was perfect. 😀

Guess what?  Tony has a guest post!  Here it is:

Biz has asked that explain how Errighn became part of my life. As some of you know I had Colon Cancer earlier in the year. While they attempted a less invasive Laparoscopic surgery, they were forced to open me up. As it turned out I had two tumors, and they were tough to get to.

I am not a person who is unfamiliar with surgical procedures; I have had my fair share.  While this was a fairly simple procedure, the recovery was by far the most difficult I have ever endured. It was months of being sick, afraid to leave the house and complete loss of control of anything in my life. I do not feel as though I was prepared for any of the post surgical nastiness.

As normalcy slowly returned to my life something began to grow within me. My left stomach was oddly distended and felt very different than the right side. Time and time again I questioned the surgeon; he only commented that it was something I would have to live with.  I was not satisfied with that answer so I met with my regular Doctor. He and I went to high school together and I trust him implicitly.  ( I don’t think you have truly lived until a high school acquaintance holds your testicles and asks for you to cough.)   He and another Doctor felt my stomach and agreed, there was something amiss in Tony.

Finally the Surgeon relented and an MRI was ordered. When he reviewed the results he apologized. It was one of the largest hernias he had ever seen.

While this is not me, this picture represents what it looked like. Mine was actually larger than that baby.

While I was enthused that I was correct, it dawned on me that yet another surgery was forthcoming.

I hate hospitals. Nothing good happens there. Sure they save lives but you pay for that in pain and misery.

This surgery was no exception. Instead of a two day stay it was a six day stay. I had to share a room with a gentleman whose snoring was almost as loud as his constant IV alarms. I almost unhooked myself and escaped on day 5.  Finally I made a deal and escaped on day six.

As it turns out they tried to go in and put a piece of material in to stop the bulging. As is always the case they ended having to cut me open. They removed a very large chunk of scar tissue, and sewed me back up.

A week or so later Biz and I were watching one of those women giving birth shows. It then dawned on me. I had given birth, and she was my long lost daughter Errighn. Errighn is gone, but she lives on is my memory and dreams. One recent evening where I had a terrible nightmare in which Biz was very mean to me, Errighn was there to comfort me.

I never had invisible friends when I was young. I think its ok that I do now.

P.S. My son has invited Errighn to his upcoming nuptials, we are both very excited!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I’ll be back on Monday with a New Years Post.  Be safe and have fun! 😀

Tikka Masala Soup with Shrimp and Cilantro

The sun was shining on my way to work yesterday. 😀  The sun just makes me happy in general, no matter what the temperature is.  Happily we had temps in the 40’s yesterday – so weird this close to January!

And the geese were all over our parking lot at work!

It was my third and final day of the broccoli bacon bake, and I don’t think I can eat the final serving – maybe it will freeze well?   This time with leftover steak from the kabobs the other night and a tangerine from my PIL from Florida – it was so juicy and delicious!  Breakfast comes in at 10 points.

With the sun shining, I couldn’t wait to get outside at lunch.  I ended up doing a 5 minute warm up walk, 35 minute run and 5 minute cool down.  Glorious!

I couldn’t wait to get back to my desk because I had Tikka Masala Soup on the menu.  Holy shizz you guys – this was SO spicy flavorful!  I found a new blog that is right up my alley – um, its called Soup Addict!  They had a recipe for tikka masala soup with shrimp, but it had direction with raw shrimp.

I had made perfect shrimp cocktail over the weekend, but we never ended up eating it on Christmas Eve – so I adapted my recipe from her tikka masala soup using what I had on hand.

Tikka Masala Soup with Shrimp and Cilantro (makes 4, two cup servings – 147 calories, 4.4 fat, 18 carbs, 11 protein and 2 fiber – or 4 WW points)

  • 1/2 pound perfect shrimp cocktail
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika if you have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 28 can of chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (or more per your taste – I like a lot of cilantro!)
  • cracked pepper to taste

Put everything but the shrimp and cilantro into a stock pot and simmer over medium low heat for 20 minutes.  Using a stick blender, blend until smooth.  Divide the shrimp among four bowls, divide soup over shrimp and garnish with cilantro.

This picture doesn’t do it justice.  It may seem like a super simple soup, but it is so complex in flavor and the epitome of a spicy yet flavorful soup.  This one is definitely a keeper. 😀

I didn’t really have anything planned for dinner last night since we had so many leftovers.  I ended up having a bowl of my beef and bean soup with some tortilla chips on the side – I actually think the flavors developed even more being in the fridge.

Tony and I watched about 4 episodes of Shameless last night on Demand – does anyone watch that show?  I think its on Showtime with William H. Macy.  It’s really well done.  I slept in until 9:30 this morning!  And I realized that tomorrow is my WI at WW – hopefully they are open on New Years Eve!

  • 27 WW points – no Chex Mix! 😀
  • 45 minute walk/run
  • average blood sugar 143

With it almost being the new year I have plans to organize this weekend.  I need to do a deep clean of our bedroom (i.e. move the bed and vacuum under there!) and I need to purge clothes I haven’t worn in a while.  And get rid of my size 14 pants.  I wore a pair of pants yesterday to work that were a size 14 and I didn’t even have to unbutton them to go to the bathroom, I could just pull them down!

Hope all of you have today off too!  I’ll be back for my WI tomorrow – make it a great day! 😀

Beef and Bean Salsa Soup (aka leftover soup!)

The sky was a blanket of clouds yesterday – so pretty!

When I got to work I had another portion of my broccoli bacon bake – this time served with a side of 6 ounce baked potato that I cut up and sauteed in 1 tsp. olive oil and sauteed apples.  I have no idea what apple this is because it came in a package of 7 apples that were on my dollar rack, but it was super sweet without any brown sugar added.  Breakfast comes in at 10 WW points.

Yup, even though weather.com said that the weather was 28, but with the windchill it felt like 20, I got my ass outside for a 50 minute walk.  Go me!

I only have to walk on a semi-busy street for about 5 minutes, then the rest of the walk is through a cul-de-sac, so hardly any traffic.  Unless you count geese!  Some lawns are just littered with them!

And you can’t tell from this picture, but that house above?  Five car garage – crazy!

I only ended up spending $49 at the grocery store last week – I knew since it was a short work week, I could come up with stuff for my lunches.  Here’s what I had on hand:

  • 1/2 pound of ground beef in my freezer (from God knows when)
  • 1 fresh green pepper
  • a container of baja fresh salsa I made about a week ago
  • 1/2 a can of Italian sauce leftover from last nights deep dish pizza
  • chicken broth
  • cooked brown rice
  • canned black beans

Beef and Black Bean Salsa Soup (makes 4, two cup servings: 8 WW points)

  • 1/2 pound ground beef, raw
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 24 ounces water
  • 3 chicken boullion cubes (my $1 store sells a jar for 24 cubes for a dollar – or just 4 cents a cup – double check my math skillz though!)
  • 1 cup baja fresh salsa (or any jarred salsa will work)
  • 1 cup Italian tomato sauce (or regular tomato sauce)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 can drained black beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large pot, combine the beef and peppers, and cook until the beef is cooked through.  I used 80% ground beef so I drained the fat, if you used ground sirloin, I wouldn’t bother.  Reduce heat to medium low, add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.  Could not be simpler and has just enough kick not to overpower the rest of the soup.

This was really delicious – and I love the flecks from the baja salsa – it adds a nice smokey flavor to the soup.

Another dinner Tony suggested for this week?  Fried Rice!  He seriously makes the best fried rice – I don’t really have a recipe for this one – its cold leftover rice, mixed veggies, soy sauce (which I almost always think he puts too much in but it turns out just right) and this time with thinly sliced pork.

 I put everything in place for Tony to do his magic:

 

 

Gotta love a cast iron wok! 😀

 

I ate 3/4 of this bowl, it was so good – thanks Tony! 😀 (even though he thought there were too many veggies!)

I am counting my portion as 10 points.

Stats for the Day:

  • 28 points (plus 6 damn points for Chex Crack Mix!)
  • 50 minute walk
  • average blood sugar 129

Check out this blog I added to my blog roll – Dining Alone – she and I have very similar tastes and I love the fact that just because he husband is a picky eater, she still makes stuff that only she will enjoy.  Check out her Reuben Casserole!

Last official day of work for 2011 – woot!

Question of the Day:  Do you go out for New Years Eve or Stay In?  Hannah is babysitting for 3 families (5 kids ages 6-10) overnight on New Years Eve – she starts at 5:00, sleeps over, then gets up with the kids while the parents sleep in and fixes them breakfast – they are paying her $250!  Wowza!

Weeknight Deep Dish Pizza – Holy Shizz

I guess I can’t really call my breakfast yesterday a quiche because there is no crust and I baked it in a square dish, so let’s just call it a breakfast bake?

Bacon and Broccoli Breakfast Bake (4 servings – each one is 5 WW points)

  • 3 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 carton of egg beaters (16 ounces)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Saute the broccoli and bacon together, until the bacon is crisp.  Let cool slightly.  In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together and mix well – then pour into an 8×8 inch square pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

My plate – 1 serving of the bake, 1 ounce of toast, and canteloupe – breakfast comes in at 8 WW points.

This actually kept me full for quite a while.  It was super busy at work because one of the other secretaries is out this week.  I don’t mind at all because I am busy and she does different stuff than I normally do, so its a nice change of pace.

It was overcast and chilly – around 30 degrees when I decided to go for my walk.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if the wind wasn’t so strong, and I need to remember to bring gloves today – that was the only part that was cold was my hands.

I walked for a brisk 50 minutes. 😀  I was happy to come back to the office for soup and salad – although I overdressed the salad and it was gross – luckily it was late in the day and this 7 point serving of chicken noodle soup held me over until dinner just fine.

Two tablespoons of Newman's Own light balsamic was a tad too much 😦

When I was doing our meal plan over the weekend I asked Tony if he felt like anything and he shocked the shit out of me by asking for deep dish pizza!  The original recipe found in this post is quite labor intensive, while not difficult.  It rises two times.  I wanted to see if I could make a simpler weeknight version, with equally delicious results.  Um, success!

Yesterday morning I made the dough (everything but the 2 tablespoons of room temp butter) – since everyone was still sleeping I just used a wooden spoon and some elbow grease and when it was almost all incorporated, put it on my floured counter and kneaded it for all of 5 minutes.  I put it in a bowl with olive oil, put plastic wrap on the top and set it on top of my stove for the day.

Dough  updated:  this dough makes 2, 9 inch pizzas, or 8 servings – the dough is 7 points per serving – with my toppings of sausage/pepperoni/mozzarella – each slice is 12 ww points 😀
  • 3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus 2 tablespoons, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (plus 2 teaspoon olive oil for the cake pan)

As soon as I walked in the door I set my stove for 425.  (My oven takes a while to come to temperature).  After kissing Tony hello and chatting for a couple minutes, I got to work.  I divided the dough in half.  I rolled half of the dough out, and with 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter, spread that all across the dough.

I then rolled it back into a ball, and rolled it out again to fit my 9 inch cake pan.  Be sure to be about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in your cake pan before adding the dough.

Then I put 6 ounces shredded cheese on the bottom, then 4 ounces of Italian sausage, 2 ounces of pepperoni, and then my pizza sauce.  I cheated and bought Dei Fratelli Italian sauce that I just doctored up with more Italian seasoning and garlic.  I added about 2/3 a cup of sauce over the top, then drizzled with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.

Dressed with the sauce and Parmesan cheese – ready for the oven:

The original recipe says to bake 20 – 30 minutes, I find 25 minutes to be perfect.  You do have to wait a minimum of five minutes before slicing, which let me tell you, is super hard to do.  I mean, look at this crust??!!

I cut this into 4 pieces, and after I ate one slice, I had 1/4 more, it was that good.  This weeknight version made a lighter version without the second rise in the refrigerator.  I got home from work at 5:45, and the pizza was ready to eat at 6:25 = pretty sure that’s faster than delivery!

I haven’t figured out the points yet, but my guess is around 15.  I’ll update it later when I figure out the points.  So worth the points though!  Mara, let me know if you make this weeknight version!

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 30 WW points
  • 50 minute walk
  • average blood sugar 142

Question of the Day:  Thin crust or deep dish?  While I love my supa crunchy thin crust, I think I have to give it up for this deep dish.  Next time I want to make a deep dish spinach pizza!

Make it a great day!

45 Degrees or Higher = Grilling Weather!

We have really lucked out weather wise in Chicago this year – I can’t even remember the last time its been this late into winter without a measureable snow!  Tony probably thinks I just jinxed it by saying that out loud. 😀

Seriously though, with a gas grill you can basically grill all year long.  It takes just a few minutes to get up to temperature and our front porch light is usually enough to see what I am doing.

I decided to make steak and chicken kabobs, then put them on a pita with tzatziki sauce.  The meat was really flavorful, even only marinating for a couple hours – next time I will definitely marinate these overnight.

Kabob Marinade

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon, dried
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, dried
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • cracked pepper
  • pinch of salt

I divided the above mixture into two bowls – I had 2 chicken breasts and 2 steaks and marinated the meat separately.

If you are using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them for at least 30 minutes, preferrably more, otherwise they will burn on the grill.

Best part though?  Leftovers!

Hannah and I ended up going to the gym yesterday – we ended up swimming for 45 minutes and then hitting the hot tub.  As deluxe as our gym is, I think we are going to switch gyms.  There is a new Charter Fitness that opened up near our house – only $1 to sign up and $10 a month per person.  Let’s just say I’ll pay less all year with that membership vs. the monthly fee at the deluxe gym!

While we will miss the pool and gym, it just makes sense.  Do you have to have a gym that has a pool?

Can’t believe I have to go to work today – although I shouldn’t complain having a 3 day work week this week. 😀

I have a broccoli and bacon quiche in the oven, you’ll have to stop by tomorrow for the recipe.  Hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend!  Make it a great day!

Classic Sausage Breakfast Casserole

I love making Jimmy Dean’s sausage breakfast casserole – its so easy and delicious.  I don’t let mine sit overnight, but you certainly can.  It was funny because Hannah’s bedroom is right off the kitchen.  She said she could hear me start to brown the sausage and had a thought to get up and help me, but then decided if she fell back asleep when she woke up again it would be done and ready to eat!

Jimmy Dean’s Sausage Casserole

  • 1 tube of Sage Jimmy Dean sausage
  • 6 cups mixed bread, cut into chunks (I had some stale bread that was perfect)
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

Brown the sausage.  In a large bowl, mix the eggs and milk together.  Toss in the bread and press down to make sure all the bread gets the egg mixture.  Toss in the cooked sausage and mix well.  Place in a large casserole dish.  Top with shredded cheese and bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Hannah bought me the mother load of hot sauces!  12 in all – one for every month in 2012!

I started with this one – it was really good!

My piece of heaven:

The weather wasn’t too bad for Chicago – it was in the low 40’s, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a whole lot of wind.  Hannah and I ended up going on a 45 minute walk – so refreshing!  This is us trying to say “Merry Christmas!”

Tony felt like he might be up for eating something more substantial for Christmas dinner.  Hannah and I went to the Fresh Market and I was walking back and forth trying to decide what to make.  I didn’t want to do any type of red meat, I thought it might be too heavy for Tony after eating such bland food.

I ended up buying a roasting chicken and decided to grill it.  I made baked potatoes on the side and it was perfect.  I brined my chicken the day before and then just put a dry rub on the chicken – it had a bit too much spice for Tony – lots of peppercorns!

Doesn't everyone have a snowman apron? 😀

The chicken turned out perfect – super juicy and tender.  And its going to make a mean chicken noodle soup today!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  Hannah and I are going to hit up the gym this afternoon when she gets home from work.  And we may end up in the hot tub! 😀

Make it a great day!

 

Winners! Super Crunchy Granola

Hope everyone is set for Christmas by now!  This year is a weird one for me – no one is coming over, Tony is still eating bland food and its weird not to be spending most of the day in my kitchen making a big feast!  Pretty sure I am not going to be making a crown roast for one, so I may just have a bowl of leftover chicken noodle soup and some crunchy bread.

I am making a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning, it would feel like Christmas without it. 😀

Now onto the winners of the Chobani!  I used random.org, and it chose these numbers:

13 – Amanda at Getting to Goal

15 – Joanne (blog reader) 😀

54 – Marie at Feeding Five (you need to check out her 2011 Christmas card – so cute!)

Congrats!  Send me your mailing address to mybizzykitchen@gmail.com and I’ll forward it to Chobani.

I knew I wasn’t going to have time to make my boss granola before I was off for the long weekend.  She tends to like really crunchy granola, but I hadn’t been too successful.

I decided to toss the granola in a sugar syrup before baking and it worked!

Supa Crunchy Granola

  • each 2/3 cup serving is 7 PointsPlus

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Combine everything but the water and 3/4 cup brown sugar and chocolate chips in a large bowl.  Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Put the water and brown sugar in a pan and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, stir occassionally for about 5 minutes – you want to make sure the sugar has all dissolved.

Pour the hot sugar mixture over the granola and mix really well.  Divide the granola between two jelly rimmed pans, and bake for 40 minutes, mixing the granola and switching the pans.  Once cool, add the chocolate chips and store in an air tight container.

This is the only granola I’ve made that’s stayed crunchy – usually its crunchy when its cooled, but when I’ve put it in a container before, it just gets soft again. Success!

I am going to make a similar version today, but with pumpkin and slivered almonds. 😀

I probably won’t post again until Monday – I just want to thank everyone who takes the time to stop by my little corner of the world, your emails, support and comments are much appreciated!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!