Homemade Pickles

Why do weekends have to go by so fast?  Seems like I just get into the groove of getting stuff done, and in the blink of an eye, its another work week.

I did have a great weekend though!  Tony and I went out to dinner Friday night, and while it was a crappy day, it was a perfect day to be bizzy in my kitchen.  One fatal flaw though – I made the three hour baguette bread again, only I forgot to add the salt. Sad smile 

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They looked pretty but the taste and texture was off – luckily I have a friend who is on a low sodium diet, so I dropped the bread off at her house yesterday.

One of the dishes I am making for me and my SIL this week is The Sandwich King’s turkey burgers with homemade pickles.  Why I have never thought of making my own pickles before is beyond me – I especially love dill pickles.  The only thing I changed from the original recipe is that I used regular distilled vinegar instead of champagne vinegar and I actually have pickling spices from Williams & Sonoma – I am ignoring the fact that these were supposed to be used up by December 2011!

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First I put my cut cucumber and dill in my jars:

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Then I needed to pour the hot vinegar mixture into the jar – I had twice as much vinegar for the one cucumber that I used – but I had another idea for the rest of the vinegar you’ll see later on.

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It was kind of hard to hold the camera, pour the hot vinegar mixture in and not burn myself or drop the pot.  I didn’t realize until I’d filled up the jar that some of my seasonings kinda bunched up at the top.

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No worries!  A quick shimmy of the jar and the seasonings disbursed nicely.

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Then just top them off with a lid – let come to room temperature and refrigerate 24 hours.

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These were delicious!  They were crisp and perfectly dilly – not even sure that is a word, but I am sticking with it. Open-mouthed smile

With the rest of the vinegar brine, I chopped up some jalapenos and radishes.  It looks so pretty!

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I did the same thing – let them come to room temperature and then refrigerated them.  The next day, the radishes turned the brine pink!

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I also deep cleaned our bedroom closet (its been years since I did a full clean out people!) and got all our laundry done – not only washed, but dried, folded AND put away.  That never happens! Open-mouthed smile

Hope you all had a great weekend – off to do my 30 minute stretch – I haven’t done it since Friday and my heel is telling me so!

Make it a great day!


Weekly Menu and Weekly WI

I’ve had such a lazy morning!  I didn’t wake up until 9:15 this morning, and seriously could have spent the whole morning in bed just watching movies.  It’s chilly out, rainy.  But the last WW meeting was at 10:00 this morning so I got my ass moving.

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Yep – up .2.  I’ve been hovering around 165 for weeks now.  I keep saying I need to step it up, but saying and doing are two different things.  So this week my mantra is:


Yesterday I had a delicious breakfast – 6 ounce baked potato hash with spinach, 2 ounces of breakfast sausage and egg beaters.

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I couldn’t walk yesterday at lunch – my blood sugar was only 85 and I didn’t want to have to eat just to work out.  It actually worked out perfect because I bought my grocery store flyer with me and in an hour I had my whole meal plan for the week and grocery list done.

Lunch was the last of my spicy tomato soup with meatballs – so good!

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Tony actually felt up to going out to eat last night – he LOVES sushi.  The raw stuff, tuna, shrimp heads, fatty tuna being his favorite.  This restaurant used to be in a funky strip mall, but they moved it to a brand new stand alone restaurant about a half mile from where it was.

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I realized after I got home that I never took any pictures of our dinner!  But here’s basically what it looked like from another trip.


Right now I am cooking down some tomatoes for pasta sauce and baking bacon.  Have you ever baked bacon?  Just bake it at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness.  I bought some apple smoked bacon in the discount bin – 75% off thank you very much.  I just store it in the fridge until I need it, or I can chop it up for bacon bits.

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baked bacon

So what’s on my menu this week?  For me and my SIL’s lunches:


I am also going to make more of the three hour baguettes – they didn’t last long last week!

Check out this cheese I found at the grocery store – blue cheese sliced cheese!  Wouldn’t this be delicious on a burger?!  Have you ever seen this cheese before?  I got four slices for $1. 😀

I probably won’t blog tomorrow, but come back Monday to see how the dill pickles turned out!  Enjoy your weekend!

To Be 20 Again

I am happy to say that Hannah has gotten a verbal acceptance froim Roosevelt University as a transfer student!  She won’t get the official letter until she completes this semester and sends them her final transcripts, but it’s a done deal.

I am so excited for her.  To be 20 and have your whole life ahead of you full of possibilities.  I wish I had known what I wanted to do way back then.  I wasn’t the best student, so after they dropped the field hockey program I was in after my freshman year, I was going to “take a year off” and just get a job.

Well, here I am, 25 years later, and I never went back.  It’s probably the biggest regret I have was not graduating from college.  I wish I would have know back then how much cooking would have given me so much joy.  I could have gotten a degree in home economics, become a recipe developer, worked at a magazine like Cooking Light.

Instead I make copies and have to wait until I get home to start cooking – which is really when I feel my day begins. Sad smile  So proud of you Hannah – I know you’ll do awesome!  We have a campus tour and meet with her advisor on May 16.

Guess what?  I didn’t have a breakfast parfait yesterday – I know shocker!  But you know what the good news is?  I wrote a couple days ago that I bought Stoneyfield Farms Greek yogurt and it didn’t taste anything as good as Chobani, so my good friend Emily at Chobani is gonna hook me up with some yogurt – she asked which flavor I wanted and I said “anything!”  Thanks Emily!

I had an everything bagel – it started out at 4 ounces, but I picked out the inside dough of the bagel and brought it down to 2.5 ounces – still get all the great bagel flavor.  I had it with a slice of mortadella, egg beaters and 1/2 an ounce of swiss cheese.

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It was partly cloudy, but chilly when I started my walk.  By the end the sun came out and I didn’t even need my jacket.  I ran/walked for 50 minutes at lunch.


We had a work lunch I had to pick up at Panera so I decided to pick up their Thai Chopped Salad.  This is so good – it’s described as:

All-natural, antibiotic-free chicken, romaine, Thai cashews, fire-roasted edamame, red peppers, carrots, fresh cilantro & wonton strips all tossed in low-fat Thai Chili Vinaigrette and drizzled with peanut sauce.

The vinaigrette and peanut sauce make this salad – the whole thing comes in at 470 calories, 19 fat, 45 carbs, 5 fiber and 36 protein.

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I had chicken parmesan on the menu, only to realize while putting it together, I had no bread crumbs.  My stuffing mix from Thanksgiving that was in the back of the pantry?  Saved the day.  I just put it in my mini chopper.  Tony loves buttered noodles, so I made bow tie pasta on the side.  Although he accused me of not putting enough parmesan cheese on his noodles – if it were up to him he’d have parmesan cheese with a side of noodles. Open-mouthed smile

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Why I made us two chicken breasts I have no idea – they were huge.  We both ended up eating only half, and now I have to figure out how to use the leftovers.  Any ideas?  I added a tablespoon of red pepper pesto to my noodles – a bit of spicy goodness.

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I was super snacky yesterday for some reason.  I had a cookie and two cinnamon twists at work yesterday – simply because they were on a table right by my desk and I just picked them up as I walked by.  And last night I had some snack mix – CVS sells generic brands of snacks – this bag of snack mix and generic funyuns are both $1 each!


While it’s a small bag, Tony and I (well, mostly me) ate almost the whole bag last night while watching t.v.   I need to drink lots of water today in the hopes of getting rid of all the sodium before my weigh in tomorrow.

My brother posted this on facebook:

And now, for your reading pleasure, it’s the complete cancer story, told only as Charlie Hills can tell it, in IMAX 3D. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll wish you’d spent five minutes doing something else.

Check out my brother Charlie’s Blog post – he’s started writing again!  You can keep up with him and how his cancer treatment is going at his blog, Back to the Fridge.  I love you Charlie!

I loved everyone’s comments yesterday about difficult bosses you’ve had – but I think Skippy’s takes the cake!

Stats for the day:

  • 1608 calories, 63 fat, 176 carbs, 11.5 fiber and 68 protein
  • 45% calories from fat, 34 from fat and 21 from protein
  • 50 minute walk/run at lunch

Question of the Day: If you were 20 again, what would you change, or would you change anything?

Make it a great day – Happy Friday!

Administrative Professional Day?

I have been a legal secretary for over 20 years.  Somehow my job has had many titles over the years:

  • Legal Secretary
  • Executive Assistant
  • Assistant Paralegal
  • Litigation Intake Specialist

Call it anything you want but I mostly type documents, make copies and scan.  It’s not glamorous, and when not preparing for a trial the daily tasks are pretty mundane.  The day before yesterday my boss, who likes my cooking but rarely appreciates it, asked if she could pay me to bring her lunch yesterday because she was tired of lean cuisine.

Not a big deal – I had chicken tacos on my lunch menu with my baja fresh salsa and crock pot refried beans.  I also had some tortilla chips in my desk drawer

At about 9:45 one of the other attorneys goes into my bosses office and shuts the door fast.  A few minutes they come out and the other secretary happened to be at my desk and they said “happy administrative professional day!”  Let’s buy you lunch!

I explained that I already brought food for me and my boss, and my co-worker had already planned some errands to run at lunch.  Turns out they forgot, but it was nice to be acknowledged. (??)

I had some tortilla chips in my desk drawer, just enough left for our lunch, when my boss comes out at 10:15 declares she’s hungry and reaches for the chips.  I tell her she can’t have any because there is only enough for lunch, so I bring her some  crostini with hummus leftover from a birthday last week.

She took one bite of the crostini and said “Biz take a picture of the bite out of the crostini and put it on your blog that I asked you to make me something to eat on Secretary’s Day.”

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Just to give you an idea (Helen and Shelley have heard some stories via email before) I’ve worked for this woman for 7 years.  She’s never remembered a birthday, I usually get Christmas gifts in the first or second week in January, and before I worked for her?  In her 22 year career before me starting to work for her, she had 25 secretaries.  Yep.  I guess I just have the personality to work with her.  Lucky me!

It was rainy off and on, but I saw my window and went on my walk.  Again, my blood sugar was hovering around 150 so I couldn’t run.  The best part about where I work is that in just a 10 minute walk I am basically in farm country – its quiet, not a lot of traffic.

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About the last 10 minutes it started to lightly drizzle.  I didn’t care because I keep a hair dryer in the bathroom.  50 minute walk – done!  And yes, I realize I need to trim my bangs. Open-mouthed smile

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When I got back, while I was gone my boss ran and got me some flowers and she said she’d take me out to lunch next week.  The card read “Biz, thanks for all you do, From All of Us.”   I have to admit, they do smell good!

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As my boss was telling me “aren’t these just gorgeous?” I could feel my blood sugar dropping like a rock – it was 61.  So my hands were a bit shaky putting this lunch together – I used the Mission extra thin corn tortillas – love that you get two for 80 calories!

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Tony had dinner duty – smoked sausage and red beans and rice!  We’ve determined that Zatarain’s is the best boxed red beans and rice.  He cooks it in the rice cooker, sausage and all – but just runs it through two cycles and it’s perfect every time.

That gave me time to do my 30 minute stretch – now that I am back to recording Classical Stretch as a series, I have several to choose from.  Yesterdays was called “Help flatten the abs.”  Holy shizz was that hard – I think it was about 15 minutes of stretch and 15 minutes of abs – I was literally shaking at the end.

And for Chicagland readers, I was wrong when I said it was on WCIU – it’s actually Channel 20 WYCC if you want to search for it.  I just feel so good when I finish it – I know I never really stretched well enough before and can actually feel a difference when I miss a day.

Then it was time for dinner – just put in my bowl, splash with some Tabasco and I was good to go.

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I also had my classic breakfast parfait for breakfast, shocker!

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Stats for the Day:

  • 1343 calories, 40 fat, 188 carbs, 27 fiber and 69 protein
  • 57% calories from carbs
  • 27% calories from fat
  • 16% from protein
  • 50 minute walk at lunch
  • 30 minute Classical Stretch

Question of the Day:  Tell me the worst boss story you’ve had.  Could be some interesting reading!

Make it a great day! Open-mouthed smile

Celery Root Chips

Thanks again for your well wishes for Charlie.  He even emailed me yesterday to tell me that he couldn’t comment because he it didn’t recognize his email.  So he said “go into your settings on your dashboard and see if there is a box that says “must be logged in to leave a comment.”

Here’s the funny part.  In September this year I’ll have had this little blog going for four years.  I didn’t even know I had a settings on my dashboard!  So you can see how not technical I am – it’s a wonder I get a post up every day – I gave him my log in and password so maybe he’ll be able to fix the problem people have been having lately leaving comments.  Thanks Charlie! Open-mouthed smile

I’ve decided to use lower carb fruits in my parfaits – so yesterdays was sauteed apple and strawberries.  This one comes in at 314 calories, 2 fat, 56 carbs, 6 fiber and 21 protein.  I bought a container of Stoneyfield Farms plain Greek yogurt because it was on sale at my store for $1.99 – for the big container.  While the flavor is fine, it’s kind of watery compared to the Chobani.  I’ll have to stock up on Chobani next time they go on sale.

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I was really busy at work yesterday.  The one problem about being diabetic is that I have to worry about blood sugar and when I eat and when I work out.  I could see my window getting smaller and smaller and finally at 1:10 got up and said “I am going walking.”  I didn’t even change my clothes, just put my running shoes on and went on a 45 minute walk.

I picked off about 3 ounces of the chicken I made from Sunday dinner and used it for a stirfry.  The base was 3/4 cup white rice, 3 oz. chicken, 1 zucchini and broccoli.  My sauce was 1 tablespoon of Frank’s chili sauce with 1/4 cup of beef broth.  I finished it off with a big squirt of sriracha.  Gosh I love that hot sauce. Open-mouthed smile

Lunch comes in at 402 calories, 6.2 fat, 72 carbs, 4.3 fiber and 14 protein.

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The Sandwich King over the weekend made these smashed burgers so that all the edges get nice and crispy.  I’ve told you that ever since Tony’s colon cancer, he does not like thick cuts of meat, so these burgers fit the bill.  You basically start out the burger in a ball, sear on both sides, then smash it down with your spatula.  Everyone will tell you “don’t smush down your burger, you lose all the juices!”  But because this cooks so quickly after you smush it down, they were delicious, and I got kudos from Tony. Open-mouthed smile

A couple weeks ago I made Yucca root chips, somehow thinking they were lower carb.  While I got three times as many chips as potato chips for the same calories, they were also about 40 grams of carbs.

So as luck would have it my store had a package of celery root on the $1 rack.  I actually had celery root on my list to buy, but when I saw the package I took it to one of the produce guys to ask what it was – he brought me over to the side and pointed to . . . celery root!

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Kinda ugly looking, right?  But it had a skin that was easy to peel.  I simply peeled two celery roots, sliced them thin and deep fried them.  I got a cup and a half of slices, which comes out be 70 calories and 16 grams of carbs.  Because our deep fryer holds the temperature, these were not greasy at all, but I added 1/2 teaspoon of oil that may have been absorbed.

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I bought these “bistro” burgers last week from the 50% off bin – two burgers that had a bit of shredded cheese in them and cracked pepper – two were a pound!  So I made 4 ounce patties that I added 1 Tablespoon of A-1 steak sauce, then just salt and pepper.  You need to wait to get a crust before smushing the burgers, otherwise they’ll fall apart.  And in case you are wondering, I super cleaned my oven after dinner. Be right back

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My plate – 120 calorie bun, 4 ounce burger, 1/2 ounce swiss cheese, 1 piece of cooked bacon and my celery root chips.  Dinner comes in at 518 calories, 23 fat, 39 carbs, 5 fiber and 35 protein.

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While the burger was good, the celery chips were delicious – nice and thin and crispy.

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Stats for Tuesday:

  • 1234 calories, 31 fat, 167 carbs, 15 fiber and 71 protein
  • 54% calories from carbs, 23 from fat and 23 from protein
  • 45 minute walk at lunch
  • only got 15 minutes of Classical stretch done – need to do the full one tonight after dinner

It’s kind of an icky day out – hope the rain goes away so I can get out at lunch.  Otherwise I may need to hit the gym on my way home from work and have Tony be on dinner duty – it’s okay, it’s one of his favorites – smoked sausage with red beans and rice – he cooks the whole thing in our rice maker!

Make it a great day!