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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coconut-Almond Macaroons

A dessert post, shocking, I know! I am not a huge macaroon person, my Grammy loved them, she died a month ago at the age of 90. I have been thinking of her a lot lately and she would have loved for me to bring these to her. I was flipping through the new Rachel Ray magazine and came across this and felt compelled to make them. It didn't hurt that they had such few ingredients and the recipe seemed like a cinch. Plus anytime I can find a gluten free recipe that is a dessert I am all in :) These were so easy it was ridiculous and my kids loved them!
My grandparents June and Burt Rose, I miss them so much!

3 Egg Whites
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups Sweetened Coconut(recipe calls for shredded, I used shaved)
1 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together egg whites and salt. Gradually add sugar continuing to whisk until thick and fluffy, about 2 minutes. I used my standing mixer for this with the paddle attachment on high and it worked great! Next fold in coconut and almonds. Drop rounded tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 16-20 minutes. They burn fast so watch carefully after 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 minute before moving to a cooling rack.

My sweet boy was helping me in the kitchen today and he let me take his picture, big deal for me!

Adding the sugar here, not sure why but I just loved this picture, but I do.

After beating the egg whites, salt and sugar it should look like this.

After being folded together.

Little mounds of sweetness, now quick get them in the oven, but don't forget them!!!

They were great on day one and two but by day three they got chewy so eat them up!
Weight Watcher Friends: This recipe makes 20-22 macaroons they are 2 points a piece. I wish you luck eating just one :)

Source: Rachel Ray Magazine

Monday, February 27, 2012

BBQ Pork (In the crock pot)

Out of the 70+ recipes on this blog this is the first crock pot recipe!! Don't get me wrong, I would love to use the crock pot more, I love that you can 'set it and forget it', I also love how it makes the evenings easier but I just feel like everything in the crock pot tastes the same...mushy! I use it as a warmer more than I cook in it. However, this meal was a total exception to my rule of mushy-crock-pot-meals. It was very yummy and NOT mushy!!

Whole Pork Roast, fat trimmed 1.5 lbs
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Light brown sugar
1/4 cup Ketchup
1 Red Onion, chopped
2 T Dijon Mustard

Seasons for Pork (as much as you like):
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

Season pork roast with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder and any other spices you like, then place the roast in the crock pot, top with the chopped red onion. Whisk together, vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup and mustard and pour over the pork roast, cover. Turn the crock pot on low and cook for at least 6 hours. Shred in the crock pot with a fork when you are ready to eat. Serve on slider buns, or on top of cole slaw. We had it with my broccoli slaw the recipe for that is here.

If you have a pork rub you love, you could just use that instead.

I sprinkled a few onions under the roast for extra flavor

Now put the top on and leave it alone!

After 6.5 hours it smelled amazing and was perfectly ready

And just like that, it's ready!

I served it on slider buns for my family with, my broccoli slaw.

The day after, I put some of the pork into a quesdadilla for lunch and it was super delicious!

Weight Watchers Friends: The pork with the sauce should be divided into 8 servings. Each serving has only 4 points.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Great Start... (Planning Ahead)

It's hard to have a bad week, health wise, when you start it out so well!! I have been a Weight Watcher member either active or lifetime for the past 10 years so I have a little bit of experience in how my weeks go. When I put too much on my plate (of life) I have a harder time making good food choices. (Figuratively and literally) However when I plan ahead, I do much better. All WW members who attend meetings know -planning ahead- is a big topic.
When I first started this blog a year ago my intention was to post my weekly menu. At the time I was on a role, <I had a rough Fall (the season) I lost my father-in-law (whom I loved dearly) and my dog (Bella, AKA, my first child) within a month it was hard times around my house. I was so busy taking care of my husband, mother-in-law and everyone else, I quit taking care of myself and gained 15 lbs from October 14 to January 25. It was not cute! On January 25 I headed back to WW where I had to start paying and start working again. But by mid March I was back to my goal weight, ahhh free again! I worked hard and planning was a huge part of it.> I digressed, like I was saying, I was on a role, menu planning and using what was on sale to plan my menus, creating healthy meals on Sunday mornings then heading out for a big grocery shop then coming home and prepping my meals which made my weeknights much easier. I was doing all this and wanted to share it others. Clearly after a year of blogging this has never happened. Maybe one day soon I can start a Sunday post that has the week of recipes.

Well this weekend my husband is on a ski trip with his buddies and having a blast! I am at home with the kids and far more organized than I usually am, not sure how it is happening with me running this ship solo. But I tell you my kids have been fed, bathed and in bed earlier than normal and my house is clean. I even cut the grass  weeds today.  And I did all this....
I have a giant chopped salad made (some will be for dinner tonight, the rest as I want it during the week) fruit chopped and veggies.
Chopped salad, full of all the veggies I had in the fridge! This one has three hearts of Romaine, one English cucumber, red bell pepper and grape tomatoes. Lots of yummy and healthy with 0 points!
I like to save and re-use these salsa containers to put individual servings of veggies in so I can grab and go as I need them during the week!
I know the 30 minutes I spent cleaning and chopping up all the veggies will be key to a great and healthy week for me and my kids! We have already been munching on them throughout the day. You may wonder if this is how I start all my weeks, well heck no! I wish it was however the reality of kids and life just happens and good planning doesn't always; but when I can make it happen, it's a good thing!
Cheers!! I wish you all a happy, healthy and organized week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Broccoli Slaw with an Asian Flair

Have you ever had that kind of broccoli slaw where you take the package of Ramen Noodles and use the season pack mixed with some vinegar and sugar and then crunch the noodles on top?? Yeah I have too and I love it, have made it several times in the past and find it particularly delicious. But have you ever read the label of a Ramen noodle pack and the season pack? If any of you know what even half that crap is, let me know! I can tell you that if I can avoid feeding things like that to my family I will every time! My general rule of thumb is, 'if I can't pronounce it or just go buy it as an ingredient then I am not feeding it to my family.' Anything that cost 19 cents after being made(proccessed), packaged and shipped/trucked to a grocery store and still costs only 19 cents is probably not great for you right???
Last week I was craving that kind of broccoli slaw and was going to make it with a package of ramen but as I stood in the store trying to figure out what those ingredients were I decided I would try to make it on my own. And I have to tell you, if you like that kind, you will love this version. It is made with all ingredients you have on hand and can easily pronounce!!

1 Package Broccoli Slaw
1-2 cups Broccoli Florets
1/3 cup Apple Cider vinegar
1 T Brown Sugar
1/4 t Onion Powder
1/4 t Garlic Powder
1.5 T Soy Sauce (I used Gluten Free Tamari)
2 T Sunflower Seeds
3 T Sliced Almonds
1/3 cup Dried Cranberries

Whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, soy sauce, until smooth. Pour over the broccoli slaw and florets and top with sunflower seeds, almonds and dried cranberries. You can serve right away or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Weight Watcher Friends: This amount makes six 1 cup servings and each are 1.5 points.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Red Beans and Rice with Sausage and Peppers

I threw this together last week with random things in my fridge and it turned out great!! I used two different kinds of sausage because I love Turkey Kielbasa but my husband acts like eating it is torture! He is such a pork guy. So I bought two packs, the kids and I ate the turkey and he ate the spicy pork. I usually don't do that, typically he just has to eat what I cook or he can make something himself so you would have thought he won the lottery the way he acted when he realized he got his own sausage! For the recipe I am posting I am only including the Turkey Kielbasa.

1 package Turkey Kielbasa Sausage
2 cups cooked rice (I cook mine in chicken stock for better flavor)
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 large green bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of red beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 t of Cajun seasoning (if you like spicy, add more)

Using s skillet on medium high heat, brown sausage on each side about 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and add the peppers, onions and garlic and Cajun seasoning. Saute for about 3-5 minutes (depending on how crisp or cooked you like your veggies, we like them crisp). Once your rice is cooked and still hot, gently stir the beans into the rice. To serve, add 1 cup of the rice and bean mixture to the plate top with the cooked veggies then with the sausage.

A great one as leftovers!

Weight Watcher Friends: This makes 4 servings and each are 8 points plus.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thai Peanut Chicken Stir-Fry

This recipe has been a work in progress for the past few months, it is a mixture of about 3 different recipes I found, combined and added my own twist. At first it had way too much peanut butter flavor for my family (not really for me, there could never be too much peanut butter for me!) But my daughter said it tasted just like a peanut butter sandwich the first time I made it!  That was not exactly what I was going for :) After making it a couple more times I finally have a recipe I am excited to share with you all! I have to say this one takes a little bit of work but the end result is so worth it! I have broken the ingredients down into parts to make it easier to prepare.


Chicken & Marinade:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
1 T Sweet Thai Chili Sauce (I use Trader Joes)
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T Soy Sauce (I use Tamari, Gluten Free)
1 t sesame oil
1 T fresh garlic, minced
2 t fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 t canola oil for frying in the wok

Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups Chicken Stock (I have been using the Kroger brand, it's more than $1.00 cheaper per box)
2 T Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 T Sweet Thai Chili Sauce (I use Trader Joes)
2 T Honey
2 T Soy Sauce (I use Tamari Gluten Free)
2 t fresh ginger, minced
1 T fresh garlic, minced

Veggies and Noodles:
1 bunch of spring onions, slice the green and whites
1 cup matchstick carrots (I just cut baby carrots into strips)
1 package broccoli slaw (in the produce section)
2 cups rice noodles, cooked

1 Lime
2 T fresh cilantro chopped

First step is to get the chicken marinating. Take the ingredients for the marinade; the chili sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and sesame oil, combine them in a bowl and mix well. Next, pour the marinade over the chicken strips. I let this all marinate in a plastic bag. This can be for as short as 20 minutes or as long as 8 hours.
Next, make your sauce; in a small sauce pan over low heat combine the sauce ingredients, stock, peanut butter, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce. Whisk together until smooth then add the garlic and ginger. Let simmer on low heat for at least 10 minutes.
(This picture is from the 1st time I made this and this sauce has 3 T of Peanut butter yours should be a little lighter than this with only 2T but it still gives you an idea)
Heat your wok (or large non-stick skillet) until very hot, add oil then the chicken, saute on high until cooked through. Tip: when you 1st add the chicken just pour it in and let sit for at least 1-2 minutes to ensure the meat doesn't tear when you try to move it around the wok/pan.  Once the chicken is cooked move to a plate and cover it with foil.
Using the same pan add the carrots and broccoli slaw. Stir fry for about 2 minutes. I like my veggies slightly cooked and still crisp. (If you feel you want to add more oil for the veggies you can always use a splash of chicken stock to keep the calories low.) At this point I turn the heat to low and add the sauce and chicken back to the wok mix, next add in the green onions. Remove from the heat, squeeze the fresh lime juice and top with cilantro. Serve immediately!
The whole wok full!

Weight Watcher Friends: This makes 5 servings each one has 7 points. Delicious!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chili with Butternut Squash

I love butternut squash, I eat it roasted all the time. I love the sweetness and texture of it! I have been wanting to make a chili with butternut squash for a while but knew my husband was not going to like it...he hates all squash, since my kids and I love it I usually make it and he just doesn't eat it. But I this afternoon I decided to send him a text to warn him of what I was going to make (just in case he felt the need to stop for a burger on his way home) it went like this:
Me: honey I'm just wondering if you are going to die a slow death if I make chili tonight with butternut squash in it? I really want to make it but don't want to listen to you moan about it.
Him: I'll be okay
So I went for it! Adding a hardy squash like butternut to a classic chili is great way to add sweetness to a savory dish and the bonus is it's a super healthy addition. I am so glad I made it because it was really delicious! Just in case you're wondering, he did eat it, but picked around the squash...when it comes to squash he is worse than a kid!!

1lb lean ground beef (93% lean)
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can light kidney beans, drained
2-3 t salt
2 t ground cumin
3 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
fresh cracked pepper to taste
(If I would have had a green, red bell pepper I would have added that too)

Optional Toppings:
Grated cheese
Sour Cream
Diced red onion
Diced green onion

Using a large pot, brown the ground beef, drain if needed. Add onion (and pepper if you add it) and garlic, cook for 3 minutes, next add the butternut squash, continue to saute/cook for 3-5 minutes. Next add both cans of tomatoes and all the spices/seasonings. Stir to combine, cover and let cook on a low simmer for about 30 minutes.  Next, add beans and cook for another 10 minutes. Make sure you taste it, you may need more salt, cumin or chili powder. These are the amounts that made it taste good to my family, since my kids like to eat it I try not to make it too spicy; if I was only serve it to adults I would add more chili powder.
Weight Watcher Friends: This makes 8 servings each around 1.5 cups. Each serving has 5 points. Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Honey Mustard Spinach Salad with Chicken

At least once a week I make some kind of dinner salad. My family loves fresh spinach so I try to use it often since it is so good for them! I threw this one together tonight, using things I already had on hand and it was a big hit!

1 bag of fresh spinach
8-10 baby carrots (sliced lengthwise and thin)
1/2 seedless cucumber, sliced
6-10 grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, sliced
4 slices of bacon
2 chicken breasts, sliced thin making 4 pieces
8 T Honey Mustard (I used Ken's Light)

Place spinach in a large bowl, top with carrots, cucumber, tomatoes & onion. Cook bacon, then drain on a paper towel and drain the grease from the pan but don't wipe it clean. Season chicken breasts with your favorite spices (I used salt, pepper and garlic powder). Using the same pan you cooked the bacon, cook chicken on each side for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. The bits of bacon with help to flavor the chicken. Once the chicken is done, allow to cool then slice diagonally and place on top of the salad. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of honey mustard on top. Serve warm or cold.

The Veggies...
The Bacon...
The finished product...YUM!
This is a picture of my husband's salad, he wanted some hard boiled eggs on his!

Weight Watcher Friends: This recipe makes 4 large salads. If each has one 3oz chicken breast, 1 slice of bacon and 2 T honey mustard then each serving would be 6 points. If you use a different dressing you will have to adjust the points the Ken's dressing that I used has 2 points per serving.
I usually make my own dressings because I don't like to eat ingredients that I can't say, but this is one that is pretty good and I know what each ingredient is :)