Wednesday, December 31, 2008

La Madeleine's Tomato Basil Soup

La Madeline is one of my favorite places to eat. It is a french bistro type place. They are famous for their tomato basil soup, so when I found a recipe for it I had to give it a try. I was surprised how much it tasted like the real thing! Definitely a keeper. It makes quite a bit of soup so I halved the recipe since it was just two of us. There was still plenty for leftovers. I bought a panini press during the Black Friday sales. It is my new favorite toy. So I made some turkey paninis to go with it. The dinner was a huge success. My husband gave it two thumbs up!
Here is the original recipe:
La Madeleine Tomato Basil Soup
4 cups canned whole tomatoes, crushed
4 cups tomato juice
12 to 14 Basil leaves, washed
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 lb (1 stick) sweet, unsalted butter
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
Combine tomatoes and juice in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Cool slightly, then place in a blender or food processor and process with 12-14 basil leaves to puree. ( This might have to be done in small batches).
Return to sauce pan and add cream and butter, stir over low heat until cream and butter are incorporated. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.
Serves 8
WW Points per serving: 6pts.
For the paninis: I used Sourdough bread and spread spinach dip on each slice. Then placed turkey, tomato and asiago cheese slices. Put together and placed on panini press for 1-2 minutes. Enjoy!

Hamburger Casserole Crock Pot Recipe

I know I have been really bad about blogging lately, but things have been crazy with the holidays. I do have a couple new recipes to share though.
I absolutely love my crockpot. I work long hours most days so it is nice to come home and have dinner already ready. This recipe didn't turn out looking really pretty but it tasted great. A perfect hearty meal for a cold night.

Hamburger Casserole Crock Pot Recipe

16 oz. extra lean gr. beef (or turkey)
2 cups sliced raw potatoes
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots (I used frozen)
1 cup chopped celery ( I omitted)
1/2 cup chopped onion( I omitted)
1 cup frozen peas –thawed
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn – thawed
1 10 oz. can healthy Request Tomato Soup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 can mushrooms ( I omitted)
Salt and Pepper

In large skillet brown meat, onion & celery mixture and mushrooms.

In slow cooker - sprayed with a butter flavored spray (or a non-stick cooking spray), combine meat mixture, potatoes, carrots, peas, and corn. Stir in tomato soup, water, parsley flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.

Serving = 1 cup Each serving = 5 Weight Watchers Points

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Domestic Goddess

Ok, well not actually a Domestic Goddess but I am kind of proud of myself. As a kid, I was really domestic. I loved to help mom cook and I enjoyed sewing. I made quilts and even clothes for myself ( they definitely weren't fashionable, but still). Somewhere along the way of growing up, I lost that passion for new interests. They all started coming back though, once I met my now husband. I started to learn how to cook again. Now it is one of my favorite hobbies. My mom mentioned that I should make some curtians for my kitchen since I was having a hard time finding some that I liked. So here I am again, in front of the sewing machine. I was nervous at first since it had been so long but they turned out pretty cute. Check it out!

Pasta Roll-Ups with Turkey and Spinach

Here is yet another recipe from my Clean Eating magazine. I am on a roll. Jeff said it needed more salt, but other than that he gave it a thumbs up. I wasn't real crazy about the sauce, but all in all a good dinner.

Pasta Roll Ups with Turkey and Spinach

Serves 8
4pts per serving

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey breast
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
1 tsp salt
8 sheets dried high-protein or whole-wheat lasagna
1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 15-oz container non-fat ricotta cheese
1 egg
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Turn heat to medium-high and add ground turkey, breaking it up with a spatula until meat shows no sign of pink. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg, then add tomatoes and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring and breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse and allow to cool in a colander.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Squeeze all remaining moisture from thawed spinach and place in large bowl. Add ricotta cheese, egg and a 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese to bowl. Stir until combined.

Spread 1 cup of cooked tomato sauce into bottom of a 9" x 10" casserole dish. Lay a cooked lasagna noodle flat in front of you. Use your fingers to spread 1/8 of ricotta mixture across the noodle and roll it up. Place the rolled pasta seam side down, into the casserole dish. Repeat with remaining noodles. Spread remaining tomato sauce over roll-ups, then top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.

Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for 5 minutes or until the rollups are browned and bubbly

NUTRIENTS PER SERVING: 234 Calories, 3g Total Fat, 5g fiber, 7g Sugar, 28g Protein, 508mg, Sodium

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Broiled Eye Round Steak

Steak was on sale the other week, so I decided to pick some up. With the weather so cold, I wasn't sure how I was going to cook them having only cooked steak on the grill. I came across this recipe in my Clean Eating magazine and thought I would give it a shot. The steaks came out very juicy and tender, just the way we like them, but I wasn't too keen on the flavor the marinade gave it. I will definitely broil steaks again in the future, especially since it was so easy and quick, but will probably go back to my old ways of marinating. At least I tried something new, right? I served it with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

Broiled Eye Round Steak
From: Clean Eating magazine Jan/Feb 2009

4 3oz eye round steaks
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped (used onion powder)
1/4 tsp sea salt


Trim fat from steaks

In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, pepper, garlic, onion, and salt, and mix well. Massage marinade into meat for 5 minutes before refrigerating it. Marinate meat in mixture overnight.

After marinating, preheat broiler. Broil meat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, turning once.

(If you have an indoor grill, you can opt to use it instead of broiling the steaks. Simply preheat grill and cook meat for a total of 4 to 7 minutes, depending on desired level of doneness)

Serving Size: 3-oz
WW Pts: 4pts per serving

Lemon-Artichoke Chicken

Like I promised, I am finally writing about some of the new recipes I have been trying. This one I got from my Clean Eating magazine. It turned out pretty good, but I probably would use less lemon and pound my chicken breast a little thinner. It would be perfect over a bed of pasta. I had roasted zucchini and squash with a touch balsamic vinegar as a side. Trying to lower my carb intake and all.

Lemon-Artichoke Chicken
From: Clean Eating magazine Jan/Feb 2009

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp sea salt or course kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning ( to taste)
1 lb think chicken cutlets
Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced (omitted since DH hates onions)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into sixths
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice ( about 2 lemons)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

In a shallow bowl, thoroughly combine flour, oregano, pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. Dredge each chicken cutlet in flour mixture, shake off excess and place on a plate.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium to medium high, so skillet is hot but not smoking. Add 1/2 of the chicken cutlets and cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a clean serving plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets, coating skillet once more with cooking spray. Cover your serving plate with foil to keep chicken warm.

Adjust temperature to medium-low and heat oil. Place onion in pan and cook, stirring frequently until soft and golden, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly; then chicken broth, bringing it to a simmer; followed by artichokes, lemon juice, and zest, simmering for 2-3 minutes until heated through and slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour artichoke mixture over chicken cutlets, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serving Size: 4 oz chicken, 1/2 cup artichoke mixture
Approx Weight Watchers Points: 4pts

I didn't forget

I know I have been really bad about updating my blog lately. The truth is I have been on a little hiatus on the cooking front, well just have been lazy and haven't been cooking much. But that is over and I am back. I have several new recipes I am trying this week. So far the ones I have tried haven't been a huge hit, but I'm not giving up. I am going to update you with them soon. I promise! I am at work right now and don't have the recipes and pictures with me. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Goulash Night

Weather is starting to turn cold here in Texas and I wanted to make something warm and filling for dinner (and something I could take to work the next day). So I turned to my trusty Pauly Deen cook book. The lady knows how to cook! I found this recipe for goulash and it was perfect. My DH couldn't stop raving about it at dinner. Definitely a remake this winter. ( I halved the recipe so we wouldn't have too many leftovers)

Bobby's Goulash
From: The Deen Bros. Cookbook

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 lbs ground beef (I used 1.5 lbs)
2 large onions, finely chopped (I omitted)
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes (I used 1 can)
1 29 ounce can tomato sauce ( I used one 15 oz can)
3 Tablespoons soy sauce ( I used a little over 1 tblsp)
2 teaspoons dried basil ( I used 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons dried oregano ( I used 1 teaspoon)
3 cloves garlic, minced ( I used 2, I love garlic)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt ( I eyeballed it)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( I eyeballed it)
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni ( I used about 1 1/2 cup-love my pasta)

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in the oil about 10minutes, breaking meat up with a fork as it cooks. Add the onion; cook and stir for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients except the macaroni. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the macaroni; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Let goulash stand for 20 minutes before serving.

I served it with some crusty bread and a little cheese on top.

** The original recipe makes 8-10 servings. By halving it, I estimated that it makes about 5 servings. The WW points per serving (for 5 servings) is about 5 points. **

Ravioli Night!

Pasta is one of my favorite things in life, so I am always on the look out for new and yummy recipes. I found this one and thought I would give it a try. It turned out great- rich,filling and easy to make. After dinner my DH informed that although he liked the dish, he wasn't a big fan of ravioli ( a bad childhood memory or something). I probably won't make it again since he is my leftover King, but I do highly recommend it. I also altered the ingredients a bit to make it more figure friendly. My changes are in red.
Ravioli Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
( I don't remember which blog I got this off of-Sorry)
1 lbs pre-packaged 4-cheese ravioli, cooked and drained (2 pkg Bertoli light 4 cheese Ravioli)
1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets, defrosted
1 pound of boiled skinless chicken strips, diced (Pkg of Tyson pre-cooked, diced chicken)
Alfredo sauce (a jarred light Alfredo sauce)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

Coat the bottom of an 8 ×8 glass baking dish with a thin layer of Alfredo sauce. In a medium bowl, mix the ravioli, broccoli, chicken, garlic, Alfredo sauce, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese until combined. (Be careful not to mix too hard that you tear the ravioli.)

Place mixture into baking dish and top with the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly. Set to broil for additional 5 minutes if you want it more toasty!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Homemade Rolls... Yummy!

Bread is one of my major vices. If I were stranded on an island, I would only need bread and Dr. Pepper and I would be a happy camper. So when I found a new recipe for homemade dinner rolls I had to give them a try. Boy am I glad I did! These were so good my husband (and myself) kept going back for more!

Homemade Dinner Rolls
Picture and Recipe from:
3 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 egg white
2 tablespoons water
Place the bread flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, water, butter, and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Set on Dough cycle; press Start.
Remove risen dough from the machine, deflate, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces, and form into rounds ( I made mine a little smaller to make more rolls). Place the rounds on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a small bowl, mix together the egg white and 2 tablespoons water; brush lightly onto the rolls. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bark-B-Q Biscuits

I have two wonderful yorkies, Macy and Mason, who are also known as my children. They have been out of treats for a few weeks, and have been bugging me to make some more. These are one of their favorites.

Bark-B-Q biscuits

2 Cups whole wheat flour
1/2 Cup oatmeal
1/4 Cup wheat germ
1/2 Cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 Cup water
1 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix oil, water, honey, & tomato paste. Add to dry ingredients.

Roll out dough to 1/4″ thick, cut with a cookie cutter & place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes 2 375 degrees.

** I made a little glaze with an egg white and a little barbeque sauce and brushed it over the tops before I put it in the oven.

Crock Pot Chili

This is one of my tried and true recipes. My husband absolutely loves this chili and it is so easy to make! I work long 12 hour days, so it is perfect to just throw in the slow cooker and have a hearty meal ready when we get home. I am not sure if the recipe came from my mom or my sister, so I am going to give both of them credit (they are both awesome cooks).

Crock Pot Chili
1lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 can pinto beans with juice
1 can Ranch Style beans with juice
1 can stewed tomatoes with juice
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg dry Ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup water
1 can or frozen pkg corn (optional)

Brown meat; drain fat. Throw everything into a crock pot and let cook all day on LOW or at least 3 to 4 hours. Serve with crackers or cornbread.

Easy as pie and so delish!


I read this poem on a blog off the WW message boards and really liked it. So I thought I would post it on mine.

When you've eaten too much and you can't write it down,
And you feel like the biggest failure in town.
When you want to give up just because you gave in,
and forget all about being healthy and thin.
So What!
You went over your points a bit,
It's your next move that counts...
So don't you quit!
It's a moment of truth, it's an attitude change.
It's learning the skills to get back in your range.
It's telling yourself,
"You've done great up till now.You can take on this challenge and beat it somehow."
It's part of your journey toward reaching your goal.
You're still gonna make it, just stay in control.
To stumble and fall is not a disgrace,
if you summon the will to get back in the race.
But, often the struggler's, when loosing their grip,
Just throw in the towel and continue to slip.
And learn too late when the damage is done,
that the race wasn't over...they still could have won.
Lifestyle change can be awkward and slow,
but facing each challenge will help you grow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
the silver tint in a cloud of doubt.
When you're pushing to the brink, just refuse to submit,
If you bite it, you write it....But don't you quit!

- Author Unknown

Friday, October 31, 2008

Weigh-In Day

This was a good week! Fridays are my weigh in days and I am down 1.8lbs this week!! Yea! I didn't hit my goal by Halloween but I'm ok with that. This is a learning experience for me, one that isn't easy and I know it will take me time. I just need to stay focused. The weightwatchers plan does work, if I just stick to it. Anyway, I am going to enjoy my small victory and hope for another one next week!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

To get into ths spirit of the holiday, my DH and I decided to carve a pumpkin. Considering he is the artist of the two of us and I had not carved a pumpkin since elementary school, I wasn't real sure how it would turn out. But I love the finished product! I know alot of people make unique, detailed pumpkins these days, but we opted to go a little more old school. Here he is:

He was so cute, I decided to name him Wilson!
Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Going to be a good day

I have to be honest. I have not been doing well on the diet front. Things have been busy with work, my side business, and things just popping up. I know that is no excuse. I could have atleast worked out on my two days off, but instead I was busy running around getting things done. But today is going to be a good day. The food plan for the day is:

B: Frap on the Go (1pt)
Cereal with 2% milk (4pts)
S: Bananna (1pt)
L: Sandwich (4pts)
Progresso Soup (2pts)
S: Orange (1pt)

I have a meeting up at church tonight, so will be going trait there from work. This menu leaves 10pts left for dinner, so will most likely just pick something up on my way. Not sure what yet. So that is todays plan.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jeff's Birthday Bash

My husband turned 28 this weekend and wanting to keep things simple we decied to have a poker night. Everyone had a blast, including the birthday boy (even though he didn't win). I decided that finger foods would be best to serve for this event. With the help of some friends, the menu included: pinwheels, bacon-wrapped jalapenos, mini chicken salad sandwiches, spinach dip, a veggie tray and then just plain ol' chips and dip. Everything turned out great. Here is some are a couple of the reciepes I used.

Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip
From the Deen Bros. Cookbook

Butter for coating dish
2 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained and coursely chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, all excess water squeezed out
6 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients except the chips. Spoon the artichoke mixture into the prepared casserole. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Serve hot or warm with chips.

* After it cooked, I spooned it into a small crockpot to keep warm throughout the night.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies

Fresh Jalapenos
Cream cheese (softened)
Thin, regular bacon (sliced into thirds)

Cut jalapenos in half, length wise. With spoon, remove seeds and white membrane (the source of the heat). Smear softened cream cheese into each jalapeno half. Wrap jalapeno with bacon and secure with toothpick through the middle. ( At this point you can freeze in a ziplock bag for later use).

Bake on a pan with rack in a 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. (You don't want the bacon to squeeze the jalapeno. If the bacon doesn't look brown enough, turn on the broiler for a few minutes to finish it off. )

Serve hot or at room temperature.

These were a hit and were all gone by the end of the night!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bad Weigh In

I have my weigh in on Fridays. I always do it first thing in the morning after waking up. I knew that there was a pretty darn good chance that I did not lose this week, but probably was at the same place I had been at recently. I was wrong! I gained 2lbs! I only have myself to blame. I did not workout Wednesday or Thursday like planned. Went to dinner with my best friend on Wednesday which lead to drinks which lead to me sleeping in instead of going to the gym Thursday. I also did not watch what I ate. So with the combo of the two, it was not a big suprise.

A postive out of this huge negative is that it has opened my eyes. I need to get my stuff in gear. This is by far the largest I have ever been and I am not fond of it. So todays plan is:

B: Oatmeal (3pts)
S: Banana (1 pts)
L: Smart One (6pts), Apple (1pts)
S: 100 calorie Popcorn (1pts)

That leaves 11pts for dinner. We are having friends over for poker night for my hubbys birthday. I have made some finger foods for everyone to munch on while we play. Some healthy, some not. I am going to post the yummy display with some recipes of the dishes I made soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Running, Day 1

I decided to make another attempt at running. I have always wanted to run a 10k or half marathon, but never got far in the training. One could say running is my nemisis. After reading several posts on the Weight Watchers message boards and seeing how they were successful, I decided to try again. I am doing the C25k program. Today was day 1 and I have to say it wasn't that bad. My legs started to hurt toward the end, but I finished. I know that as the program progresses it will get increasingly harder but I am welcoming the challange.

I have currently have worked out twice this week, so only two more days to go. The diet on the other hand isn't going as well, but tomorrow is a new day. My goal for tomorrow is to do Day 2 of the program and to stay within my points. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 20, 2008

To be Successful, one must have a plan....

I would like to lose about 20lbs that I have gained since college. I have joined Weight Watchers online to help with the diet side of the processes. I have several friends who have found much success from WeightWatchers and I decided to give it a try. (I love the community boards, they are so helpful with recipes and tips!) I plan on posting our weekly dinner menu and possibly my daily breakdown of what I ate ( help me stay accountable and OP). I also would like to workout 4x week. I am thinking about trying the C25K program, but right now sticking with classes at the gym. I bought Jillian's 'Making the Cut' book, and am reading that as well.

I usually start out well, but get off track just after a couple of days. Wish me luck!


Hi! This is my first attempt at blogging. I, like many, am trying to lose weight and follow a healthier lifestyle. ( I am going to Cancun in November for a wedding-big movtiation). I am hoping this blog will help keep my accountable and also provide some yummy, healthy reciepes for others. Please bear with me as I learn more. I would love to hear any comments you may have. Thanks!