Thursday, March 30, 2006

The More You Know

While watching The Office tonight, we noticed in our Fast Forwarding of the commercials, that they had some "The More You Know" spots... but the best was that they were super sarcastic ones with some actors from The Office...

The first one was about office relationships starring Kelly and Ryan... Kelly was for them, Ryan against...

The second one was just Kelly "Some boys think they are so smart... but here's the deal: they're not." So funny!!

You can find more here!

Pineapple

My hands smell like the pineapple I cut up this morning... I swear I washed my hands... Chad and I love fresh pineapple, but I hate cutting them up... I think I may need to invest in a pineapple slicer/corer.

Every Season

Every Season on American Idol, the bottom 3 contain totally the wrong people... Last night I only disagreed with 1 - Catherine McPhee... not that she did great, but Bucky was not part of that at all... Proof that this was a really blah week... no one did really great...

On another note, I love how they have shortened their time in announcing who is bottom 3.. it's not so tedious... I'm sure that will end when we get down a few more "idols".

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Beef Noodle Casserole with Cheddar-Crumb Topping

Busy cooking week! We're eating well at our house!

I found this in a book I got at the library. It sounds great. I wasn't that impressed. It was very burnt on the edges after less than 9 hours in my crockpot, and then the topping was a little dry too... of course I didn't leave it the full 30 minutes they suggested, because it was already burnt... don't know... Chad liked it... maybe if I could be home and watch it on a weekend... Plus even though I prepared most of it last night, it's still kind of fussy for a casserole, let a lone one in the crockpot...

Beef Noodle Casserole with Cheddar-Crumb Topping
From The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, by Judith Finlayson, p 90-91

2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1# lean ground beef
2 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dry mustard
1 can (10 oz) condensed beef broth (undiluted)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
4 oz cream cheese, softened and cubed
8 oz egg noodles, cooked and drained

1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp melted butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring and breaking up with the back of a spoon, until no longer pink. About 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain off liquid in pan.
2. Add remaining oil to pan, return to element and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and celery and cook until softened. Add garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and mustartd. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add beef broth, tomato sauce, and cream cheese and cook, stirring until cheese is melted.
3. To assemble casserole: Spoon ½ cup tomato sauce mixture in bottom of slow cooker stoneware. Cover with a alayer of meat, then noodles. Repeat finishing with a layer of sauce. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, until mixture is hot and bubbling.
4. To make Cheddar-Crumb topping: In a bowl, combine bread crumbs and butter. Add cheese and stir to combine. Spread over casserole and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and top is bubbling.

MAKE AHEAD:
This dish can be partially prepared the night before it is cooked. Complete Steps 1 and 2, chilling cooked meat and onion mixture separately. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning, continue cooking as directed in Steps 3 and 4. To facilitate preparation the night before you plan to cook this casserole, shred cheddar cheese, cover and refrigerate.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Turkey Sausage Fajitas

This is as easy as they get! And the delicious factor is amazing! Chad said they are as delicious if not more delicious than any other fajita recipe I have tried before. This also comes from my Weight Watchers’ Stir It Up Super Skillet Cookbook. I topped the fajitas with cheese, which I know you don't all enjoy... Without the cheese though each fajita is only 4 points!!!

Turkey Sausage Fajitas
From Weight Watchers’ Stir It Up Super Skillet Cookbook, p. 123

Serves 4

1 tsp canola oil
½ pound Italian Turkey sausage, cut into ½” thick slices
2 green bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 (8”) low fat flour tortillas, warmed (I used whole wheat)

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and onion; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Spoon the sausage mixture down the center of each tortilla and roll the tortilla up around the filling.

Eating Style

There is an interesting article in my new Health magazine (which I love reading every month) that I just got yesterday. It is Know Your Eating Style and how changing different aspects of your eating style can help you lose weight. The quiz breaks it down into where you need the most help. I need to eat more fresh foods (duh!) and stop worrying about my weight. Not that I really feel like I need to lose weight, I just wish it was easier to maintain where I'm at right now...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Pasta With Lentil Sauce

Uff Dah! My dinner made me full. But it was good!

I don't know that I've ever had lentils before, but they were delicious in this recipe. So easy, tasty, yet super inexpensive and filling!!! I did make some adjustments, because I knew it may turn out to be a long day in the crockpot, and 1 can of sauce and tomatoes was not quite what was called for, so I added extra an extra can of tomato sauce. I would highly recommend these adjustments, as the consistency seemed perfect after 9 1/2 hours in the crockpot!

Pasta With Lentil Sauce
From Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

½ cup onions, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
2 cups diced tomatoes in liquid (I used a 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes with garlic)
1 cup tomato sauce (I used 2 - 8 oz cans)
3-4 oz dried lentils, rinsed and drained
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups angel-hair pasta, hot, cooked

1. Mix all ingredients except pasta in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours, or on high 3-5 hours
3. Cook pasta according to package directions
4. Place cooked pasta in large serving bowl and pour lentil sauce over top. Toss to combine.

Weekend Review

Friday:

Left work about an hour early. Stopped at SuperTarget for some pre-game snack foods. (Cheese, sausage, grapes, rice krispie treat ingredients) Came home, prepped food. Went downtown with Chad. Hung out at Hangge's before heading over to the Metrodome, to spend 5 hours watching my husband text message Rome for most of the games... Also ate more crappy food. After game, spent another hour at Hangge's.

Saturday:

Woke up way before I was totally rested, and still not feeling well after eating so much sausage and cheese. Could not fall back asleep. Got up to run errands including some shopping at a VERY busy MOA. Made my first visit to MAC, will go back! Ended up coming home really crabby! Spent time reading and then a nap. Watched the first half of Must Love Dogs, then got booted from the TV, because Chad was home and bball was on. Went to the gym. Ran 2 miles on the track in 17 minutes!! Came home and go ready to go out for Anne's birthday dinner. We went to Pepito's in South Minneapolis. It was a lot of fun, always fun to catch up with her and her friends! But came home before bowling to get caught up on some sleep!

Sunday:

Got up finished watching Must Love Dogs (cute movie, liked the book and the movie). Went to late church. Had lunch at Spectator's. Had a yummy chicken Philly Sandwich. Came home. Ran some errands, groceries and DSW found 2 pairs of shoes (both were great deals)! Watched Oprah from Friday... another good show on America's Debt Diet (Super interesting, I am sucked in, because it is amazing how some people have chosen to live and just ignore some major financial issues... like if you can't pay a bill, do you stuff it in a box somewhere, or eating out every meal and every day!) And then did some major cleaning of my closet and organizing of clothes. Then did some vacuuming and cleaning up of the kitchen.. Then to bed..

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pope Joan

Has anyone out there seen my Pope Joan book? I loaned it to someone quite a while ago, but I have no idea who???

Jemima J.: A Novel about Ugly Ducklings and Swans


I finished reading Jemima J.: A Novel about Ugly Ducklings and Swans, by Jane Green last night. It was another good book from her. I got really into it and even though I was really tired yesterday, I put in some good time just to finish it, because I was waiting for the happy ending. I've really enjoyed everything by Jane Green that I've read so far! Good Chick Lit... I keep saying I have to get past that, and I have one from the library right now! Unfortunately it's not next up, because my next book has only a 2 week check out period, because it's in demand!

Mexican Casserole

I tried this yummy recipe last week! It was very good, even though it did get a little over done in my crockpot. It says cook for 8-9 hours, so I don't know if that was wrong or if it was because I used a crockpot that was a little bigger than it needed to be. It was still good, and very easy, I'll just have to limit it to being a weekend meal so it doesn't get overdone...

Mexican Casserole
From Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef (I used ground chicken)
1 medium-sized onion, chopped (I used 1 cup frozen chopped onion)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
16-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
8 ox can tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1 tbsp chili power
1 1/3 cups instant rice, uncooked
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese

1. Brown ground beef and onion in nonstick skillet
2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker except rice and cheese.
3. Cook on low 8-9 hours.
4. Stir in rice, cover, and cook until tender.
5. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook until cheese is melted. Serve.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Anne!

Today is Anne's birthday! And I want to wish her a very happy birthday! We are going out to celebrate tonight! Unfortunately I don't have any recent pictures of Anne, and I don't know if she'd appreciate me posting one from high school!!
Happy Birthday, Anne!!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Project #2 Finished!


Yeah, I finished my apron! And I think it was a success! I didn't put the pocket on, because it didn't look just right and I didn't want to mess it up, but I like it!

Fountain Diet Coke - I Knew I Wasn't Crazy!!

People often wonder why I would prefer Diet Coke from fountain instead of from a can or bottle... And according to the Diet Coke entry Wikipedia, a difference does exist!! Fountain pop may contain saccharin and Nutra-Sweet as the bottled version only contains Nutra-Sweet. It also goes on to say that the Coca-Cola Zero version which I never knew is similar to the European version which uses a blend of different sweeteners.

And I'm disappointed that Diet Coke with Splenda is not doing that well, because some days I really prefer it... although I would still take a fountain Diet Coke over Diet Coke with Splenda any day! Unfortunately they have not come out with a Caffeine-Free version with Splenda.

The only other soda I know that uses Splenda is Diet 7-up now, and it is YUMMMY!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Small World

Here's a small world coincidence that I discovered last week in the lunch room here at work! A friend of mine from college that I had lost touch with probably right after I graduated works here! I even went on spring break to Mexico with her one year and haven't seen her for 7 years! Small world! It took a minute to figure out how I knew her, and she didn't recognize me until I talked to her... but crazy!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sewing Project #2

This afternoon I picked Chad up from the airport. He had been in Dallas for the NCAA tournament. So I was home early from work and he was asleep on the couch, so I started with sewing project #2. I bought fabric this weekend for an apron. I bought an apron last spring and it's so cute, unfortunately when I washed it, the black totally bled into the white trim even though I washed it in cold, so I am trying to create an apron just like it but with different fabric... Unfortunately I bought the wrong type of bias tape for the trim, so I will head to the fabric store tomorrow and maybe I can get some time in tomorrow... but here are the pieces all cut out...

I like simple things like aprons... size and fit is not as important. Actually this morning I was thinking how I didn't even think to measure how my current (store-bought) skirts that fit... I am just out of practice. I probably should have called my talented mother before I started, she probably would have reminded me of some of those helpful hints!

PS. It is so awesome that my cutting board fits perfectly across my two card tables. I used to always use the dining room table, but now I have a whole room that I can just leave my stuff set up in... at least until it drives Chad totally nuts!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

All Is Not Lost

Today I attempted to make a skirt with the fabric and pattern in the picture. I was inspired by a catalog where I saw a SUPER cute cotton skirt, but it was $88! And I thought I could do that... So I tried... Unfortunately with my weird measurements, I am different sizes through the waist and hips, so I tried to make the right adjustments, but I misunderstood my hips, and it was too tight even after I let out the seams as far as I could... at least I got some fabric on sale, and I think I can try again with the same pattern (which was super easy), just need to make the hips the next size up, which actually makes me feel more normal as my hips are only 1 size smaller than my waist... (yes I'm a bit deformed, unfortunately I don't carry weight in my hips, so there is not much chance of it getting bigger there.. only in my waist which is not where the skirt needs it.)

But it was still a good day. It gave me some good quality time to listen to my new CDs. Liz Phair's Somebody's Miracle and the Soundtrack from Grey's Anatomy.. (which is on tonight!!) I really enjoyed both CDs, so I'm excited to get some new music on my MP3 player, which has been getting a lot of use since I'm back in the office and spending some quality time on the treadmill lately!

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Mermaid Chair

I finished reading The Mermaid Chair this week. It was pretty good. Sue Monk Kidd also wrote The Secret Life of Bees, which I may have enjoyed more, but that may be because I read that on a beach in Jamaica.

It was still a really good book. Definitely fiction, because while the story was easy to get into and follow, to me it wasn't something I related to directly.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Polynesian Pineapple Chicken

Oy... I'm behind. Here is the recipe from Monday's dinner! It was very yummy though. Another great recipe from my Weight Watchers' Stir It Up Super Skillet Cookbook!

Polynesian Pineapple Chicken
Prep: 15 min
Cook: About 15 min
Serves: 4


1/3 cup ketchup
3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tsp canola oil
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into ½” cubes
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp minced peeled ginger
½ lb fresh snow peas, trimmed
¼ cup sliced almonds (I’m allergic, so I left out)
1 (8-oz) can water chestnuts, drained
1 (8-oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained

1. Whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch in a bowl until smooth; set aside.


2. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

3. Heat the remaining 1 tsp oil in the skillet. Add the carrots and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the snow peas, almonds, water chestnuts, pineapple, and the chicken. Cook, stirring frequently, until the snow peas are crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the ketchup mixture; bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly until thickened, about 1 minutes.

Only 7 points!!! (9 when served with ½ cup brown rice)

Monday, March 13, 2006

"Limp Brisket" Chili

The chili cook-off went well. "We", as Chad says, got second place. He thinks that tasting throughout the day counts as helping! :) And he felt robbed of the first place honor. We only lost by 1 vote, so next year I will invite more of my friends!

The name came from needing to be clever... so it really doesn’t define anything about the chili.

On to the recipe... basically I read a lot of recipes online and here is what I came up with. I apologize if it’s hard to follow, as it was sort of an experiment and I did a lot of things on the fly when I made this!

Limp Brisket Chili
(my very own creation)

Ingredients
3 lbs. beef brisket, trimmed of fat
2 large onions, seeded and chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
1 orange pepper, seeded and chopped
3 chili peppers, seeded and chopped
29 oz. tomato sauce
red hot cayenne pepper sauce
5 cloves garlic
approximately 3/4 cup chili powder
2-3 tbsp cumin
1 beer
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
about 4 cups whole tomatoes mashed with juice (large can)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 limes
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup + 2 tsp brown sugar

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Step 1 -

Preparing the brisket.

Preheat oven to 325.
Rub the brisket with salt, pepper, some chili powder, cumin and place the brisket in a baking dish.
Cover with about 1/2 cup of chopped onion, 1-2 chopped chili peppers, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1 chopped green pepper.
Mix together 12 oz (1 1/2 cups) tomato sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, beer, and about 2 tbsp chili powder and 1 tsp cumin.
Cover pan with tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 3 hours.
Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes.
Let the brisket rest while preparing the rest of the ingredients. If you want you can attempt to skim the fat out of the sauce and add it to the chili later, but this is difficult for me, so I just threw out most of the sauce.

Step 2
In a skillet, heat oil to sauté spices, onions, and peppers. Once oil is heated, add 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tsp crushed red pepper and heat to bring out the flavor a little. Add 1 chopped green pepper, 1 chopped orange pepper, 1 chopped chili pepper, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic and sauté until tender.

Step 3
In a crockpot or large pot, mix the rest of the tomato sauce (17 oz), 4 cups (large can) of tomato, and can of diced tomatoes. Add the sautéed vegetables, 2 cans of chicken broth, juice from 2 limes, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper sauce, ½ cup ketchup, 1 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp crushed oregano, ½ cup chili powder, 2 tsp brown sugar, and 2 tsp cumin. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile shred the meat and add to the chili. Once it’s at a boiling point, reduce the heat and let it simmer for several hours. Season to taste. About 45 minutes before it is ready to be served add the beans.

Home Again!!!

Yes, they closed the office, but we could stay if we wanted to.. I just figured if I stayed it would get worse, so I followed a co-worker in her Ford F150 back to Burnsville. I could however not get up the driveway so I had to blow it out AGAIN! and it's still snowing...

Here's some pictures taken from inside... (hence why you can see the screen)





What Was I Thinking!



I need to listen to the radio or get online in the morning when it is snowing. Even though I was out and snowblowed the driveway, I didn't realize how bad the roads would be!!

35 going south to Lakeville wasn't plowed... but the Corolla made it! I had a very nice SUV behind me that didn't tail me or try to pass me.

I should have stayed home... now there is talk that they may close the offices and I may have to drive home in this stuff!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Chili Preparation

I am getting ready for the Chili Cookoff tonight at Chad's friend Wandell's. Two years ago our chili took first place. Last year I was out of town for a girls' weekend and left Chad with ingredients, instructions, and a crockpot. So this year I've been researching and today I'm working on a recipe I've compiled from other recipes and hopefully I can re-capture my title!

We do have to come up with a name for the chili that can't elude to who we are, since voting is done anonymously... Maybe after it's finished and I've tasted it, I'll know...

Tomorrow if it's a success I'll type up how I did it, but not yet, as there may be spies!!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Birthday Girl!

Happy Birthday to Kris today!

I believe she's 30 today and it's her first birthday as a mom!
She was a Math Girl with me at Stout. (pictured far right)


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pilates BodyCircles

Today I bought a set of Pilates BodyCircles™. I was out looking around on Gaiam's website, because I have been doing a couple of new pilates DVD's that they sell. Both that I have feature Ana Caban and I've really enjoyed them. Well while I was looking I found the BodyCircles, and when I read the following review, I thought they might help with a lot of my shoulder stiffness that I develop when I'm stressed:

"I purchased the Pilates BodyCircles hoping to relieve shoulder pain from repetitive stress syndrome and build up my shoulder muscles. When I do the exercises regularly, I find that I experience less neck, shoulder and back pain during the work day." - Terri Lesser, Islip Terrace, New York

So I found them at Target, but they only came with VHS, so I headed to SportsAuthority, where they told me they don't carry the stuff on their website in their stores and they are separate but just share a name!?!!?!?? seemed weird, but whatever... So then I headed to Dick's Sporting Goods. Unfortunately the one in Burnsville isn't open yet, so I headed to Richfield, and once I figured out how to get around Best Buy's corporate campus, I was able to buy the last set (with DVD) when I got home I did the 14 minute DVD. And I need a lot of practice! :)

But it's something new, and I'm excited!

America Got it Wrong!

American Idol tonight determined who went into the Top 12 and they almost got it right. I think they have been right every week until the last person tonight. Gedeon was maybe the best vocalist of the men, and he got sent home....

Super annoying that Bucky and especially Kevin got through!

As for the rest I was glad to see Will, Kinnik and Ayla go buh-bye, not that they weren't good, I just liked the others better.

Southwestern Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

Another yummy recipe from my Stir It Up! Super Skillet Meals cookbook!

Chad loved it. It's very similar to goulash, but with a chili flavor. Yum!

Southwestern Skillet Macaroni and Cheese
Prep: 10 min
Cook: About 25 min
Serves: 6

1 cup elbow macaroni (again I used whole wheat organic)
1 lb ground skinless turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4 1/2 oz) chopped mild green chiles
1/2 cup water
1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (preferably extra-sharp)

1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions omitting the salt, if desired; drain.
2. Meanwhile, spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chiles, and water, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes. Add the macaroni and the cheese, stirring to combine.

Each serving is only 6 points!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Recipe Recipe Recipe

Sorry for the delay and my absence. I've been busy enjoying my time at home, I guess!

Definitely check out my recipe updates!

What else is new... running. Chad and I have both been treadmilling at the gym. Yesterday I did 25 minutes at 10 minute mile pace... with random hills! Quite the good workout. Chad has been doing around 6 miles each time he's there, and he comes back completely gross, but it's good for him... I just have to keep up on the laundry better!

Did I tell you that I'm home for 6 weeks? It's weird going in to the office, but there is plenty to keep me busy, so I'm enjoying it!

Hoisin Pork Stir-Fry

I just made this recipe for dinner. It was delicious! I got it from Weight Watchers new book, Stir It Up Skillet Cookbook. It's not for sale yet on Amazon or anywhere, but eBay and Weight Watchers centers. But it's only $10, and if 1/2 of the recipes are as good as this one, it'll be a SUPER bargain!

Hoisin Pork Stir-Fry

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: About 10 minutes
Serves: 4

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking white rice (I used quick brown - not sure why it says white)
3/4 pound boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into thin strips
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp Asian (dark) sesame oil
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp honey

1. Cook the rice according to package directions omitting the salt if desired.
2. Meanwhile, combine the pork, sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a large bowl, set aside.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Add the sesame oil to coat the pan, then add the broccoli and bell pepper. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the pork mixture and stir-fry until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the orange juice, hoisin sauce, and honey; cook, stirring frequently, until the pork is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve with the rice.

Points: 6 per serving!!!!

Candied Popcorn

Here is another recipe I made on Sunday. I found the recipe in a magazine in a Splenda advertisement. Yummy, but it sure seems like 13 cups of popcorn is much more than it really is.

Candied Popcorn

13 cups freshly popped corn
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Granular
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 325. Spray 15" x 10" x 1" pan with cooking spray. Put popped corn in large bowl. Set aside.
Combine egg white, honey, vanilla, salt, and Splenda Granular in mixing bowl, whisk until blended. Stir in peanuts. Pour mixture over popped corn, toss to coat. Spread mixture in prepared pan.
Bake 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from oven, spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Macaroni and Cheddar Cheese

I made this recipe on Sunday. It comes from Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly. It was ok. I was a bit disappointed, because I've had a lot of luck with other recipes from this book. But since it calls for low-fat cheese, it doesn't melt as smooth as the full fat stuff, and it has a shorter cooking time than I prefer for crockpots. I like the "all day" recipes, so I can use them during the week.

I also added onions (first fried in butter spray), as that is kind of something I enjoy in "real" macaroni and cheese and I used whole wheat (organic) macaroni.

Macaroni and Cheddar Cheese

2 1/2 cups fat-free or 2% milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
3 cups low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed
8-oz pkg macaroni, cooked al dente

1. Combine all ingredients except macaroni in slow cooker.
2. Cook on high for 1 hour.
3. Add macaroni. Cook on low 4 more hours.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Six Weeks at Home Starting Now!

Yesterday I was packing up my computer at work and getting ready to head to the airport to fly back here for the weekend, when the team lead asked if I'd rather stay home this coming week, as they didn't really need so many people in Chantilly... Ummm.. "OK??" of course, I would love to stay home! So now I am home for 6 weeks in a row, which I really need, because I have to lose 3 pounds to get back to my goal weight and that is hard to do when eating out 2-3 times per day!

And it was amazing how much it changed my weekend plans! Last night we went to a surprise birthday party for Kyra, and I was fine for staying out for an extra drink with Carl (chocolate shake at Applebee's did not help with those 3 pounds though!) And then this morning when I woke up and was tired, I didn't feel bad about rolling over and going back to sleep! Plus I get to think about what I'm going to do all week! And I have a new cookbook and I will be cooking this week!