Saturday, June 5, 2010

One Ingredient Ice Cream

I have seen many blogs recently feature this simple yet delectable treat and I knew I had to try it.  I have an ice cream maker attachment for my kitchen aid mixer, but it takes several days and multiple steps to complete that task.  Sugar, cream, vanilla, eggs, and about 72 hours later, you get to enjoy it.  Needless to say, I don't often make homemade ice cream. 

How could it be that just ONE ingredient could create creamy, soft, sweet and delicious ice cream?  I was so curious to see what that could be, and I bet you are too.



It's bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

All you have to do is freeze a few bananas (cut them into small chunks first so your blender doesn't die) and then blend those bad boys up for a few seconds.   I was so surprised that it tasted exactly like soft-serve ice cream, with banana flavoring of course.  I thought for sure that frozen bananas would be icy, flaky, and bitter.  Something about the little bit of fat that a banana has allows it to blend into a super creamy treat.  Make sure your bananas aren't green or too mushy.  A few brown spots makes them perfect!  Add in some chocolate syrup, or peanut butter, or honey... just experiment and enjoy!

The best part is, only 2 WW points per banana.  I would use at least 3 so that the blender has enough material to work with.  3 bananas would definitely serve 2-3 people.  Yum!

Chimichurri Sauce


I have an obsession with the chimichurri sauce at Los Ranchos and I love eating there just for the chimichurri.  This was an attempt to make my own.  Although it tasted good, it definitely doesn't compare.  I guess we will have to continue to eat there.  Oh well!  I served it tonight with pan fried chicken tenders, using PAM olive oil spray for less calories. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, or combo of both
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper sauce (hot sauce)

Directions

  1. Place the parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, cumin, salt, garlic and hot pepper sauce into the container of a blender or food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds on medium speed, or until ingredients are evenly blended.

Nutritional Information

3 WW points per serving, makes 12 servings

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 133 | Total Fat: 14.2g

With chicken, 5 WW points

Orange Cilantro Rice

My husband thought this was a bit to sweet for his liking, so next time I will use half the amount of OJ and more chicken broth.  I paired it with with chicken and chimichurri sauce (recipe in next post!)

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, and cook until tender. Mix in rice, and season with cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cook and stir until rice is golden brown. Pour in orange juice and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Remove cooked rice from heat, and gently mix in cilantro to serve.

Nutritional Information

3 points per serving, makes 6 servings

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 172 | Total Fat: 2g

Monday, May 31, 2010

The double BOGO


If you shop at Publix pretty often like I do, then you are probably pretty familiar with the buy one get one free items that they have.  They are on a regular rotation, so typically every 4-6 weeks you will see the same items go BOGO.  Well, usually the BOGO items are convenience packaged foods, and my husband consumes a lot of that stuff- corndogs, chicken patties, frozen pizzas, etc since I work late several nights per week.  I was reading on the internet about how you can buy coupons off of ebay, and I had never thought to check there before.  Lo and behold, I found a lady that was selling 10 coupons for buy one get one free Curly's pulled pork.  I remembered that I had bought it BOGO before from Publix or Winn Dixie (I sometimes shop there for BOGO items.)  Here is where the double BOGO comes in- if the item is already BOGO at the store, and you have a BOGO coupon, then you actually get both items free.  So for 99 cents, I bought 10 of the BOGO Curly's coupons.  I was taking a risk because they expire June 30 and I wasn't sure if the Curly's pulled pork would go on sale during that time.  Luckily, Wednesday came around and I saw that Curly's was BOGO at Winn Dixie.  I got my coupons in the mail Thursday night, went to Winn Dixie Friday morning, and picked up 20 containers of Curly's pulled pork for FREE.  At $5.99 each, it was a significant amount of savings.  I bought a few other BOGO items while I was there just so that my total would be a positive number.  All in all, I spent $17.05 and walked away with $150 worth of groceries.  The pulled pork came in handy for Memorial Day weekend, and I now have tons of meat in the fridge and freezer.  I won't do this often, but if it's a product I could really use and have the storage for it, I think it's a great way to stretch your budget.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Buttery Lemon Spinach

Ingredients

  • 2 (10 ounce) bags pre-washed fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Rinse the spinach and place the leaves into a microwavable serving dish. Add the butter, garlic and lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap. Steam in the microwave until the butter is melted and spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and toss to distribute seasoning before serving.

3 weight watchers points per serving, makes 6 servings

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fettucini Alfredo with Bacon


This recipe came from Cooking Light, and is definitely less fat and calories than traditional Alfredo sauce.

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh fettuccine (REALLY important to use fresh! Note: we used fresh tri-color tortellini instead because we had that on hand)
2 slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I left this out)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings. Add garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Sprinkle flour over garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly; cook 2 minutes or until bubbly and slightly thick, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in salt and reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta to pan; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with bacon, parsley, and pepper.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rainbow Cake

I felt like playing with food coloring and this is what I came up with!









Friday, April 16, 2010

Southwestern Turkey Burgers

I came across this recipe on the back of the Jenny-O Turkey Burgers box.  It's simple, tasty, and low in fat!

Grill the turkey burgers according to the package directions.  Toast the burger buns (or throw them on the Foreman grill like I did for 3 minutes.)  Mix together 1/2 cup of lite sour cream and also 1 teaspoon of taco mix to make a spread for the buns.  Top the burgers with a slice of cheese, 2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa (we love mango salsa) and build the burger!

8 points per burger (includes low fat cheese and bun)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coconut Cream Pops


Coconut Cream Pops

Servings: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Calories: 93
Points: 2 ww points
  • 1 can fat free evaporated milk
  • 1 14 oz can lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup of shredded sweetened coconut
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into freezer molds.
Freeze and Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf



Another one of Gina's fabulous recipes... I finally ordered the mini loaf pan to make the most adorable mini loaves!

Servings: 4 mini loaves Serving Size: 1 loaf • Time: 45 minutes Points: 4.5 ww points
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.3 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup ketchup + 2 tbsp
  • 2 tsp wosterchire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • salt
Preheat the oven to 350°. Saute olive oil and onion on low until translucent.
In a medium bowl mix turkey, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, salt and marjoram. Divide into four equal loafs and place each loaf into a non stick mini loaf pan or shape into small loafs on an un-greased nonstick baking pan.

In a small cup mix remaining 2 tbsp ketchup with wosterchire sauce and brush onto each loaf to give it a nice glaze.

Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes at 350°. After baking let it sit for 5 minutes serving.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hello World!

I haven't been to active on the internet lately what with 90 million things going on lately, most notably WEDDING SEASON! Not only do I have the pleasure of working with numerous brides through Classic Affairs, but my own cousin and good friend are also taking the plunge. My cousin Christina was married last weekend at the Red Fish Grill and the wedding was beautiful. The weather could not have been more perfect for a beach wedding. Having suffered a monsoon on my own wedding day, I was very nervous for her until I woke up in the morning and looked outside. The day before her wedding, my friend since Elementary School (!!!) and who lived 2 blocks away from me for most of my life, also had her bridal shower. It was great to see Shirley again, since it seems like lately it takes a wedding for me to see any of my old friends. After the bridal shower, I headed over to Christina and Alex's rehearsal and dinner, which was definitely a great time. I think the older I am, the more excited I get for family events. Maybe it's because the fearsome foursome of cousins that were never apart growing up now are living in Gainesville, the Carribbean island of St. Vincent (another !!!), Homestead, and Hollywood. Anyhow, when we get together it is always exciting. I felt pretty terrible that I couldn't stay the night with all the girls before the wedding at the gorgeous Mayfair hotel, but my nasty cold got the better of me and I decided to be nice and not infect everyone else. Also, I decided to sleep early so I could attempt to be a lively bridesmaid in the morning.

Although I eventually stopped posting the Love Dares every day, I did follow them religiously and I think it made a big difference in my relationship with my husband, although the benefits would have been amplified if he had been following it as well and reciprocating (just sayin'.) I cannot believe our first wedding anniversary is drawing near and that we won't really be newlyweds anymore. We are achieving some big things right now though and it feels great to move on to other stages of our lives together. Continue reading on for the newest happenings...

There are some goals that have been met on the 101 list I am happy to report, specifically the PAYING OFF OF ALL CREDIT CARDS! This was very exciting for me, since it has been awhile since I have been carrying a zero balance. It wasn't years or anything, but being someone who has always tried my hardest to pay everything off at the end of the month, somehow the tail end of 2009 caught me by surprise and it took a few months to catch up. There were several certifiable reasons for this, so I don't feel too bad. It takes a lot to start up your own business and between my husband and I, we have 3 of them, so there is a big ripple effect. Combined with our North Carolina trip, Christmas, and switching jobs, I am happy it only took until the end of February to fix. My new spending philosophy is to take money out of the ATM, and only use cash. I actually went to Super Target today and bought groceries, spent over a hundred bucks, and paid for my purchase with my green. That is something I have probably never done, but it certainly made me think twice about picking up impulse purchases, although I couldn't resist picking up this adorable dress. It was on clearance, so whatever.

My in-laws also treated us to a wonderful evening at the Rusty Pelican to celebrate my sister in law's engagement, complete with a limousine and tickets to see Alfred Hitchcock's 39 Steps at Parker Playhouse. Seeing a live production was another goal on my list which I didn't even remember was on there until I updated the list, but it still counts! It was great to see Mary and her fiance and of course, the Rusty Pelican does not disappoint. For a few minutes during dinner, it rained so hard that the view of the city disappeared and water started leaking in the window and onto our table. I do not mean a few drops of water either, it was literally raining on our table. Very odd and amusing to us.

In other news, I decided to share what my cryptic announcement on facebook was, since so many people have thought I was pregnant because of it. This is not the case. But we are in the process of becoming homeowners, which is just as exciting for us. Good news was the bank accepted an offer on a home we fell in love with, and we were supposed to close quickly on March 3. The bad news is, that date has come and gone with no closing in sight. We just found out the bank owes 6 figures in fines (a third !!!) to the city of Tamarac, so they need to go to court and pay the fines, bring the house up to code, and then allow us to purchase it. The new proposed closing date is May 5, so we have the option of continuing to look at other houses or stay put with this house and wait it out. We will probably stick to this house because we love it so much, but we will keep our options open just in case an even better opportunity comes along. It's a waiting game that I hate playing, since we are halfway packed and already picking out kitchen appliances, color schemes, and furniture.

I haven't had too much time to play around in the kitchen lately and come up with new recipes and ideas to share, especially since we have been eating mostly grilled chicken, BBQ chicken, roasted chicken, turkey meat loafs, chicken meat loafs, turkey burgers, pasta, and all variations of without cooking any meat or pork. I did break down and had a beef entree at an event lately, but I will not start my "no red meat" pact all over again since it was a special event and I didn't really have another option. I savored it, enjoyed myself, and moved on, and since I made my own rules for my goal list, who really cares? I have also been logging about 50 hours a week at work the past few weeks with weddings on the weekends, so way too busy to experiment in the kitchen like I want to. On the plus side, at my new job I am kicking ass and taking names, and I am number 1 in my department so I really can't complain about all the hours. It was worth it to me to put in the extra time and prove my worth to my new coworkers and supervisors, all of whom I respect and appreciate. I love doing something I can take pride in and with 300 students to account for at all times, there is never a dull moment.

I am very glad so many things are going on right now and keeping me busy. Everything has been keeping my mind off the passing of someone I had grown pretty close to, and I still think of her everyday. She would have been one of my May brides and I should be putting the finishing touches on her wedding projects, but none of that is happening anymore. I hope her family and her husband are doing better, and that she is enjoying her view from above.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nutella Buttercream Cake


I came across this idea from a fellow nestie Heather who made a Nutella butter cream cake in her blog. It looked amazing, and we had a huge jar of Nutella from Costco, so I decided to try it out. I was also anxious to play with my new cake decorating tools, so I had fun with it. My cake came from a box unlike Heather's, so I will only post the recipe for the butter cream. Super yummy and the picture speaks for itself!
Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 cup Nutella

Directions:

Mix butter until smooth and creamy. Add in Nutella and mix until nice and fluffy.

Add sugar 1 cup at a time until smooth. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes to get the desired consistency.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hermide's Story

Today I said good bye to a dear friend of mine, Hermide. It was the first memorial service I had been to where I was older than the deceased. Her death hit me pretty hard even though I know how sick she was and that it would happen sometime soon. The one thing I will always remember is how spunky and full of life she always was. Her Yulee Hall antics, our AIM chats, and her wedding day plans are all swirling in my head and that is how I would like to remember her. I was born the week before her and I was married the week before her. I will always think of her when I celebrate these milestones for the rest of my life. I think this was one reason her passing was so devastating to me; I was faced with my own mortality. The other was knowing the excruciating pain she had been in for the last days of her life.

Hermide's love for her husband Robin was beautiful and profound. I would like to share this story she wrote about their journey together and how hopeful and amazing her spirit was.

On Christmas Eve of 2003 I was home on break from college, and met Robin Toussaint on a popular singles website for young people. He wrote me a note expressing how he enjoyed reading my profile and wanted to learn more about me. I replied to his note and later we exchanged phone numbers. We spoke on the phone for what seemed like hours on end and met in person a month later. When we met we immediately clicked and began to date...we were inseparable! Robin and I dated for two years, he moved to California and we broke up while he was there for two years. During our break up I dated 2 guys both for short periods of times but the relationships always went down hill and no one could make me happy like Robin did. I stayed single for the remaining time in college and decided that when I ran into Robin again, I would express to him how I truly felt. When I graduated college, he moved back to South Florida and we reconnected when he called me up one night. After a short while we began dating again and two years later we began talking about marriage.

Robin and I talked about everything, so we didn't have the typical down on one knee proposal that every girl dreams about. Instead, he told me that he was in the process of paying for a ring that he picked out for me. I was just as excited because I had played in my head for years what it would be like to exchange wedding vows with the only man who made me truly happy. We began to formulate invite lists, perspective wedding venues and reception sites, caterers, brides maids, wedding colors...etc! Around this time however, I started feeling really bad pains in my lower back that I somehow couldn't shake no matter what I tried. Finally I went to my primary doctor and she wrote me a script to get an X-Ray done. The results from the X-Ray were not as clear as she wanted so she ordered a CT scan and ultra sound which revealed the most shocking news a 24 year old could ever find out in her life. Immediately I thought to myself, no more wedding planning...no more happy endings, I'm going to die.

On May 19, 2009 I was diagnosed with stage 4 Renal Medullary Carcinoma-Kidney Cancer. This type of cancer is found primarily in young African Americans with sickle cell or sickle cell trait. I have sickle cell trait. This cancer has no cure and is so rare that no real studies have been done to help fight it...the survival rate is said to be 2%. When the doctor delivered the news of my cancer, he also stated that there was nothing he could do at that point, and that chemo wouldn't be responsive, and surgery wouldn't work in my case because the cancer had already began to metastasize to the lymph nodes surrounding my kidney. Finally I asked the doctor was I going to die, and he looked at me with cold eyes and said "I'm sorry" and shook his head. I left the doctors office that day without a shred of hope inside and kept thinking to myself, I'm only 24 years old...why me???? Being the computer nut that I am, I began to google this cancer and tried to find the cure for what had invaded my body...surely there had to be someone out there that had faced what I'm now facing and could live to tell the story. However, nothing came up to put my mind at ease. Site after site revealed no knowing survivors of this cancer...not one.

My boyfriend began to comfort me and assured me that as long as he had life in his body, he would do all that he possibly could to find a doctor that was willing to fight for me. I began to think that maybe he wouldn't want to be with me anymore for fear that I might die soon. It's almost as if he could read my mind because he began to suggest that we still get married but do a court house style wedding instead because our finances would begin to take us on a roller coaster ride due to medical bills. Thus, this is what we did...On May 31, 2009, we were married in the presence of 5 of my dear friends. Our parents weren't able to make it in such short notice so we proceeded anyway and prayed that the future would allow us to put together a dream wedding someday.

Like any dedicated husband he searched day after day until finally he came across MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas. They requested my biopsy labs, and immediately started working on a plan for me to come to Texas. On June 2, 2009 I met with Dr. Tannir who looked me in my eyes and told me that he was going to fight for my life and I should NOT give up especially not on his watch!

Dr. Tannir started me on an oral chemo pill sutent that began to make me feel awful but I had to take it for one month and return to Texas for testing. Just shy of that four week period, I fell ill and was admitted into the hospital for pneumonia. I stopped taking the pills and was hospitalized for about four days while receiving respiratory treatment for the fluid in my lungs. After being released from the hospital, I returned to Texas only to find that the oral chemo pills weren't working as much as they'd hoped. Without delay Dr. Tannir scheduled me to start chemo treatment and my first round of chemo was administered on July 4, 2009.

As of September 29, 2009 I have completed 7 chemotherapy treatments. I have lost all of my hair, I've been on every pain pill imaginable, I’ve experienced horrifying symptoms, but I have not lost hope. On August 18, 2009 after completing another set of CT scans, the doctor advised that the cancer is indeed shrinking and that I was to continue treatment and I would be able to do chemo back home in Florida. Finally!!! The delivery of good news!! I wasn't going to die anymore!!! I could finally go to bed at night and know that I would wake the next morning. I could even possibly start planning my dream wedding, and have my grandfather walk me down the a isle. Life could and would go on for me!

Words cannot begin to express the true gratitude I have for those who have helped me along this chapter in my life. Even though it wasn't at all how I planned it, I still had a chance to marry my true love who has stood by my side despite hearing bad news after bad news after bad news! Even though the doctor said that I would never be able to have children, God has blessed me with a beautiful 3 year old step daughter that I love dearly and am in the process of adopting. People at my job have donated over 600 hours of sick leave to ensure that I have enough time to recover from my treatments; but most importantly the hope that the doctor took away from me when I was diagnosed on May 19, 2009 has been restored. I count my blessings each and everyday, I’m thankful for second chances, and although I'm not in remission yet, and my medical bills are through the roof...I consider myself very lucky. I'm lucky because most people don't have the support system that I have. And NO ONE has the husband that I do! He loves me through my small spurts of depression, my bald head, my weak fragile moments, and holds me tight every single night and tells me that he loves me and only me and lets me know how beautiful I am.


Hermide Pierre Toussaint

7/30/1984- 1/25/2010





Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lemon Herb Chicken in the crockpot



I did something different with this recipe. I decided to try out plastic liners for slow cookers. I haven't used them before because they are pretty expensive for what they are, but the large crockpot can be quite a hassle to clean, plus when you make a whole chicken there is usually some fat and bones left over and we could just toss it out.

This chicken did not come out as flavorful as Stephanie said hers came out on her blog. She raved about the flavor and I couldn't say the same. Next time I will dump on the seasoning. It looks like she used more lemon slices, although the recipe calls for 2 lemons which is also what I used. We ate this chicken for days on end, about 3 meals each and then I used the last of it to make a chicken pot pie which we ate for another 2 meals each, so 10 meals total.

Ingredients:
One thawed and skinned whole chicken
A head of garlic
2 lemons (next time I will use 3 or 4)
salt and pepper
fresh rosemary (i used dried, maybe it makes a difference)

Directions
Place skinned chicken in crockpot, rub down with salt and pepper, place garlic inside the cavity and around the outside, cover with lemon slices and top with rosemary. Cook on low about 7-8 hours or more. Super simple!

This is also WW friendly, serves about 8 at 3 points per person (depends on size of the chicken)

Woot, I also completed task 48 on the 101 list, recording everything I ate for the month of January. The result was losing about 7 pounds this month, not terrible considering I didn't work out really. Another $10 to savings!

Day 28: Love makes sacrifices

Today’s Dare

What is one of the greatest needs in your spouse’s life right now? Is there a need you could lift from their shoulders today by a daring act of sacrifice on your part? Whether the need is big or small, purpose to do what you can to meet the need.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 27: Love encourages

Today’s Dare

Eliminate the poison of unrealistic expectations in your home. Think of one area where your spouse has told you you’re expecting too much, and tell them you’re sorry for being so hard on them about it. Promise them you’ll seek to understand, and assure them of your unconditional love.


This dare has already been completed several times over across this whole journey. On a side note, yesterday I completed task 66 on the 101 list, blogging everyday for a month! And $10 goes into savings for it!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 26: Love is responsible

Today’s Dare

Take time to pray through your areas of wrongdoing. As for God’s forgiveness, then humble yourself enough to admit them to your spouse. Do it sincerely and truthfully. Ask your spouse for forgiveness as well. No matter how they respond, make sure you cover your responsibility in love. Even if they respond with criticism, accept it by receiving it as counsel.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 25: Love forgives

Today’s Dare

Whatever you haven’t forgiven in your mate, forgive it today. Let it go. Just as we ask Jesus to “forgive us our debts” each day, we must ask Him to help us “forgive our debtors” each day as well. Unforgiveness has been keeping you and your spouse in prison too long. Say from your heart, “I choose to forgive.”

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 24: Love vs. Lust

Today’s Dare

End it now. Identify every object of lust in your life and remove it. Single out every lie you’ve swallowed in pursuing forbidden pleasure and reject it. Lust cannot be allowed to live in a back bedroom. It must be killed and destroyed – today – and replaced with the sure promises of God and a heart filled with His perfect love.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 23: Love protects

Today’s Dare

Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that’s stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 22: Love is faithful

Today's Dare

Love is a choice, not a feeling. It is an initiated action, not a knee-jerk reaction. Choose today to be committed to love even if your spouse has lost most of their interest in receiving it. Say to them today in words similar to these, "I love you. Period. I choose to love you even if you don't love me in return."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 21: Love is Satisfied in God

Today’s Dare

Be intentional today about making time to pray and read your Bible. Try reading a chapter out of Proverbs each day (there are thirty-one – a full month’s supply), or reading a chapter in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). As you do, immerse yourself in the love and promises God has for you. This will add to your growth as you walk with Him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 20: Love is Jesus Christ

TODAY’s DARE

Dare to take God at His Word. Dare to trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Dare to pray “Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. But You have shown Your love for me by dying to forgive my sins, and You have proven Your power to save me from death by Your resurrection. Lord, change my heart, and save me by Your grace.”

Write about what this experience has been like for you. Even if you are only renewing your commitment to receive and express His love, what has He shown you today?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lighter Chicken Francese


Yum. Absolutely or favorite low fat recipe so far and doesn't taste healthy at all. Gina and her amazing blog did it again! This dish could have come out of the kitchen of a 5 star Italian restaurant. We loved it and the sauce would be excellent served over pasta, which is how we will eat it in the future.

Ingredients:
  • 4 (38 0z) (2.4 lbs) chicken breast halves, thinly sliced (I used 3 breast halves and butterflied them to make 6 pieces)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup egg whites, beaten
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1/2 lemon sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 can fat free chicken broth
  • Pam cooking spray
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp butter
Directions:
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a bowl, and the beaten egg whites in another bowl.

Heat a very large non stick pan over medium heat. When hot spray with Pam to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.

Lightly flour chicken, then dip in eggs and add to the hot pan a few at a time. Saute chicken 2-3 minutes on each side. When cooked, transfer onto a plate. Spray the pan again and repeat until all chicken has been cooked.

Once all chicken is cooked, place the chicken broth in the bowl with the remaining flour and whisk. Add to the pan along with the juice of the lemon, white wine, lemon slices, parsley and butter and simmer on low heat for about 2 minutes so it reduces slightly and thickens. Turn off heat. Return chicken to the pan to combine with the sauce. Serve immediately with a nice big salad.

Makes 6 servings, 8 points each

Day 19: Love is impossible

TODAY’S DARE

Look back over the dares from the previous days. Were there some that seemed impossible to you? Have you realized your need for God to change your heart and to give you the ability to love? Ask Him to show you where you stand with Him, and ask for the strength and grace to settle your eternal destination.

What do you believe God is saying to you? Is there a stirring in your heart? What decision have you made in response to this?


Now that this challenge is about half way over, I definitely found that a few of them seemed impossible to accomplish and I did not give my best effort on those days. I think we have seen some definite improvements in the way we handle each other, so I will try my best to see the next 21 days out.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 18: Love seeks to understand

Today’s Dare

Prepare a special dinner at home, just for the two of you. The dinner can be as nice as you prefer. Focus this time on getting to know your spouse better, perhaps in areas you’ve rarely talked about. Determine to make it an enjoyable evening for you and your mate.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 17: Love promotes intimacy

Today’s Dare

Determine to guard your mate’s secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them. Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. Make them feel safe.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 16: Love intercedes

Today’s Dare

Begin Praying for your spouse’s heart. Pray for three specific areas where you desire for God to work in your spouse’s life and in your marriage.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 15: Love is honorable

Today’s Dare

Choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse that is above your normal routine. It may be holding the door for her. It might be putting his clothes away for him. It may be the way you listen and speak in your communication. Show your mate that he or she is highly esteemed in your eyes.



I definitely did something out of the ordinary today, I gave my hubby a haircut and did a great job!



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 14: Love takes delight

Today’s Dare

Purposefully neglect an activity you would normally do so you can spend quality time with your spouse. Do something he or she would love to do or a project they’d really like to work on. Just to be together.


Some of the other dares lately have been harder to do, but this one seems quite simple and enjoyable.








Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 13: Love Fights Fair

Today’s Dare

Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement. If your mate is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to “fight” by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Diet Coke Cupcakes



The idea behind this creation is genius and the outcome is delicious. If you have ever done weight watchers, then you know about baking with diet coke. It results in a low calorie, very moist and tasty treat!

Ingredients:
Box of cake mix
Can of diet soda
Container of lite cool whip
Sprinkles if desired


Directions:
Combine any flavor cake mix (I used fudge) with a can of diet soda (I used diet coke). Mix well, and pour into 24 cupcake liners. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. You can also make a cake instead, just use the time according to the pan size. Top each cupcake with a heaping tbsp of cool whip and decorate with sprinkles.

Serves 24, 3 points each (2 without any topping on the cake)

Day 12: Love lets the other win

Today’s Dare

Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.


I don't think I did the best job with this today, but I did my best! It was in regards to a life altering decision, so it was a little hard for me to totally given in.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 11: Love is cherished

Today’s Dare

What need does your spouse have that could meet today? Can you run an errand? Give a back rub or foot massage? Is there housework you could help with? Choose a gesture that says, “I cherish you” and do it with a smile.



Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 10: Love is Unconditional

Today’s Dare

Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse --- something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else. Wash her car. Clean the kitchen. Buy his favorite dessert. Fold the laundry. Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.


I brought home a huge meat lover's pizza from Casola's for my hubby to enjoy. That was definite love since I am not eating any meat and couldn't enjoy it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 9: Love makes good impressions

Today’s Dare

Think of a specific way you’d like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.


Hubby is on his way home so I am ready for this one!

Coleslaw, a lost favorite



Coleslaw is a new favorite of mine. I used to despise it all my life actually. I am thinking it's because I never had any of the the good fattening kind like you get at BBQ restaurants. I would say maybe in the past 6 months I have taken an interest in it. Well I looked over a few recipes and I figured I could cut out a lot of fat and calories so here is a recipe I came up with and it is my absolute favorite new thing, I could eat it for dessert because of the sweet tangy flavor.

Ingredients
16 oz. bag fresh coleslaw mix (I used Publix brand but Dole is great, too.)
3/4 cup Light Miracle Whip
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp poppy seeds

Directions
1. Mix everything together. That is really pretty much it. To be more organized, I made the dressing first which was everything except the coleslaw mix and I whisked it around for a bit, then tossed in the coleslaw mix.

Makes 8 servings, 2 Points per serving

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chocolate Banana Soufflés



These didn't photograph too well but they were definitely a yummy treat. Also another great recipe from Gina's blog. The key to making these look pretty is using the right size ramekins.

Ingredients
2 mashed bananas, the riper the better
2 tsp constarch
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
3 tbsp sugar
Pam spray


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray ramekins. Place on baking sheet or pan.
2. Mash bananas with vanilla in large bowl. Add cornstarch and cocoa and blend well.
3. In another bowl, beat egg whites and sugar until soft peaks form. Add 1/3 of the mixture to the banana mixture. Fold in the rest of the egg whites.
4. Pour into ramekins. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Serve immediately or they will fall (we served ours with lite cool whip on top.)

4 servings , 2.5 Weight Watchers points per serving

Day 8: Love is not jealous

Today’s Dare

Determine to become your spouse’s biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday’s list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.


I love today's dare and cannot wait to go home and talk!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 7: Love believes the best

Today’s Dare

For today’s dare, get two sheets of paper. On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day. There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.



This will be my little project on my lunch break. Doesn't sound too hard!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 6: Love is not irritable

-TODAY'S DARE-
Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your
marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation.
Begin by making a list of areas where you need to
add margin to your schedule. Then list any
wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.
I will try my best with this one, I really will.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken

Another one of Gina's fabulous recipes which I made some changes to. A hot thick dish like this was perfect for the 40 degree weather we have been having. Quite chilly for a South Florida winter, I believe it's the coldest winter on record so far. It also gave me a different way to enjoy chicken, since I am not eating beef or pork till April. Anyway, here's what we had for dinner:



Ingredients for Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken:

1.5 lbs chicken breast
1 can of Rotel, drained
1 can of black beans, drained
8 oz frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I used a tsp of the cilantro in the spice jar)
2 cups chicken broth (use one can or make it with bullion like I did)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1-2 tsp chili powder (your preference)
salt to taste

Combine all but the chicken in the crockpot. Lay the chicken breasts on top and season with salt. Cook on low 10 hours or high 6 hours. Before serving, remove chicken and shred with a fork, then return to the crockpot (I didn't do this, I serve the large chicken chunks because I was lazy.) Serve over rice (count the extra points though.)

Serves 8, 4 Weight Watchers Points

Day 5: Love is not rude

Today’s Dare

Ask your spouse to tell you three
things that cause him or her to be
uncomfortable or irritated with you.
You must do so without attacking them
or justifying your behavior. This is
from their perspective only.

Eek, not looking forward to asking this one! Don't think I will be reporting back what he says either!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 4: Love is thoughtful

Today’s Dare

Contact your spouse sometime during
the business of the day. Have no agenda
other than asking how he or she
is doing and if there is anything
you could do for them.

I don't know why they came up with this one for a Saturday, but it was easy enough to accomplish since my hubby was at a meeting today and I was at a bridal shower.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 3: Selflessness

Today’s Dare

Whatever you put your time, energy, and
money into will become more important
to you. It’s hard to care for something
you are not investing in. Along with
restraining from negative comments,
buy your spouse something that says,
“I was thinking of you today.”

Yesterday I cooked my hubby a turkey dinner and brought it to him to enjoy in front of the TV while the BCS game is on. Today I think I will go to the store to bring him his favorite beer since we didn't have any yesterday for the game.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 2: Love is Kind

Today’s Dare

In addition to saying nothing
negative to your spouse again today,
do at least one unexpected gesture
as an act of kindness.

I didn't realize they were going to build on one another, this is definitely going to be a challenge by the time day 20 comes along!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Love Dare begins.. Day 1: Patience.

Is any relationship truly fireproof? If you have seen the movie, then you know what kind of challenge the Love Dare is all about. The Love Dare is a 40 day journey in which you make concious decisions to treat yourself with respect and love, while doing daily devotionals.The nesties are going to implement the love dare and reflect on it together, so I thought would join them and I could see how it affects my relationship with my husband. Since the challenge ends on Valentine's day, it's the perfect time to smooth any rough waters. You can follow along with KLove as they announce the different dares each day. So today begins Day 1- Patience.

Today's Dare

The first part of this dare is fairly
simple. Although love is communicated
in a number of ways, our words often
reflect the condition of our heart. For
the next day, resolve to demonstrate
patience and to say nothing negative
to your spouse at all. If the temptation
arises, choose not to say anything. It’s
better to hold your tongue than to say
something you’ll regret.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cauliflower Soup

I spent a long time on Ginas' blog about Weight Watchers recipes, and I will be trying tons of them out. This soup is very rich, flavorful, and best of all, only 1 point per serving!



Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, broken into pieces
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp flour
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan, and then add the flour. Stir until it becomes a roux.
2. Add the broth, boil.
3. Throw in onions and cauliflower, boil about 10 minutes until soft.
4. Blend in immersion blender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings, 1 point each.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Avena- healthy oatmeal drink



I have been drinking this for breakfast on the way to work in the mornings and I love it. I got this recipe from Gina's blog which I only skimmed through for a few minutes, but I know I will be spending lots of time on there in the future because her weight watchers recipes look awesome and she has tons of them.

Avena Ingredients
1/2 old fashioned or quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup 1% milk
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups water

1. Prepare oatmeal according to package. Typically I microwave 1/2 cup oats and 1 cup of water for 5 minutes.
2. Blend the prepared oatmeal and all other ingredients in blender.
3. Chill for a few hours or blend with ice.

Makes 4 services, 2 Weight Watchers Points each

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Green Monster



This is the ultimate health drink to me. You get a serving of dairy, veggies, fruit, and healthy fat all in one shake. And it was delicious and filling. The best thing about the Green Monster shake is you can swap ingredients to fit your likes, and I may play around with what I like, but this is the one I made today.

A handful of spinach
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup 1% milk
1 tbsp honey

Blend it all together, sip and repeat! 7 Weight Watchers points for the whole recipe.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Zesty Chicken Meatloaf

I am working on Goal 43 for my bucket list, I am pretty sure I can find way more than 52 new recipes this year, more like 80 or so. We shall see! I am also working on #47, which is no red meat or pork for the next 90 days. Look out for tons of chicken and turkey recipes for the next little bit, hehe. Also working on #45 simultaneously.

So here we go with my latest creation (adapted from allrecipes.com)



Zesty Chicken Meatloaf

Ingredients:
1 pound ground chicken
2 eggs
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 packet meatloaf seasoning (taco seasoning is probably also yummy)
3 tbsp salsa
2 tbsp ranch dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat the oven at 350. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, knead with hands and then shape into a loaf form and put in a loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.

Makes 8 servings
5 Weight Watchers Points (sour cream extra)

We ate this with steamed rice, corn, and a slice of lime, definitely a mexican vibe to this dish. Hubby loved it and thought it was made with ground beef!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010!

Instead of making new year's resolutions that never seem to happen, I decided to give myself some extra time. 1001 days in fact. There are many bloggers out there who have participated in this challenge and I decided to try it as well. You can check out the Day Zero Project for more information. I have created a Bucket List of goals I would like to accomplish.... 101 goals in 1001 days. I figure if I make the list public and blog about my experiences, then there is a stronger sense of accountability and more motivation to actually follow through. Who knows how many things I will actually accomplish, but I'll have fun trying. I am keeping an updated list linked to this blog in the right column, but I will post it here as well for a quick glance. Hopefully some of the goals I have listed will become habits that continue for a lifetime. Wish me luck, and if you get inspired to write your own list, let me know so I can cross off number 67!

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

Items in GREEN have been completed, ORANGE are in progress

MY BUCKET LIST

MONEY MATTERS

1. Pay off my student loans

2. Pay off my hubby's truck

3. Become first time homeowners

4. Transfer entire tax return into savings

5. Transfer $10 to my savings account as I complete each task (0/101)

6. Donate $10 to charity for each task not completed

7. Create a will (just in case!)

8. Establish a savings account for my future children

9. Pay off all credit cards

10. Get a raise at work

11. Buy a new car

12. Leave a 100% tip

13. Sell something I made

14. Buy formal dining room furniture

15. Spend $100 at a casino

16. Give $20 to a homeless person

17. Buy new living room furniture

18. Create a monthly budget

RELATIONSHIPS

19. Send random gifts to 5 friends (0/5)

20. Adopt another kitten or a puppy

21. Make a baby

22. Have a reunion with all of my UF friends

23. Exchange letters with a pen pal

24. Write a letter to my husband on each wedding anniversary (0/3)

25. Attend 4 Nestie GTGs in one year (0/4)

26. Write letters to 5 people expressing what they mean to me (0/5)

27. Send Christmas cards to 100 people one year

28. Call my NJ relatives twice a month for a year (0/12)

29. Have a date night with my husband once a month for a year (0/12)

TRAVEL & ADVENTURE

30. Las Vegas

31. Take an international vacation

32. Tennessee to visit Yvonne

33. New Jersey to visit my family

34. Minnesota to visit my husband's family

35. Shout from the top of a mountain

36. St. Augustine, the spot where we got engaged

37. North Carolina

38. Go on a cruise

39. Update passport with new last name

40. Allow my husband to fly us somewhere without another pilot

41. Go Para sailing

HEALTH & FITNESS

42. Complete Couch to 5K program

43. Try a new healthy recipe once a week for a year (0/52)

44. Bring lunch to work every day for a month (0/20)

45. Lose 50 pounds (0/50)

46. Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred every day for 30 days (0/30)

47. No red meat or pork for 90 days (0/90)

48. Record every calorie consumed for 30 days (0/30)

49. 50 crunches a day for 50 days (0/50)

50. Take a Zumba class

51. Get a professional massage

52. Drink only water every day for one month (0/30)

53. No eating after 8 PM every day for a month (0/30)


FASHION & BEAUTY

54. Buy a pair of jeans that costs more than $100

55. Dye my hair

56. Wear a different pair of shoes to work every day for a month (0/20)

57. Donate hair to locks of love

58. Take boudoir pictures

59. Straighten my hair and wear make up every day for a month (0/30)

60. Get laser hair removal on my legs

61. Wear a bikini in public

62. Get a makeover

63. Refrain from purchasing any clothes or accessories for 2 months


HOBBIES & ENTERTAINMENT

64. Take a cake decorating class

65. Learn how to create floral arrangements

66. Compose a blog entry every day for one month (0/30)

67. Inspire someone to begin a 101 in 1001 list

68. Read one new book each month for a year (0/12)

69. Watch a new movie that begins with each letter of the alphabet (0/26)

70. Take a picture with a celebrity or get an autograph

71. See a psychic

72. Attend a convention

73. Be a guest blogger on someone's blog

74. See a movie on opening night

75. Host a house party

76. See a live production

77. Create 10 DIY projects for our house (0/10)

78. Buy an original piece of art

79. Try 10 new restaurants (0/10)

80. Plan a surprise party


JUST FOR FUN

81. Send a postcard to PostSecret

82. No facebook for one week

83. Buy dinner for a stranger

84. Leave 25 post-its for Operation Beautiful (0/25)

85. Make a snow angel

86. Buy a real Christmas tree

87. Write a letter to my state senator

88. Write 3 letters of praise for a great product or service (0/3)

89. Donate 101 items (0/101)

90. Learn to drive a stick shift car

91. Create my own cookbook

92. Write a letter to my 16 year old self

93. List 100 things I am thankful for

94. Stay home from work one day for no reason at all

95. Execute an April Fool's Day joke

96. Use reusable grocery bags for one month

97. Win a bet

98. Take an IQ test

99. Rearrange all of the furniture in the house

100. Write a new list of 101 things

101. Reflect on this challenge