Monday, August 31, 2009

Trim It Down Tuesday: Drunken Stir-Fried Beef with Green Beans

This is one of our favorite recipes, and at 202 calories per serving, it's not one we feel guilty about!

"Drunken" Paste (You can either make it from scratch, or you can buy it. I always buy it! It's much easier! I use Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste.)

Cooking Spray

1-pound of flank steak or other type of thin steak cut into small 1/4-inch strips

2 cups of cut fresh green beans

1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon of sugar (or Splenda)

3 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 cup fresh basil leaves

Heat a wok or large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add paste (approx. 1 to 2 tablespoons of store bought) and heat up for about 30 seconds. Add beef and stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add green beans and stir fry another 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, fish sauce, and vinegar; stir fry for about 1 minute or until beef is done (it should be done by now). Remove from heat and stir in basil, then serve!

I've slightly modified this recipe from the original because of what I've found out through experience. For example, you need to cook the green beans a little longer than the original calls for. Also, as I said earlier, using the store-bought paste is so much easier.

You can serve this over rice, or rice noodles, and it's wonderful with extra vegetables like mushrooms added. We've also used chicken instead of beef, and it turns out just as good!

Yield: 5 servings, serving size 3/4 cup, 202 calories per serving

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trim it Down with Two Point Taco Soup (Thursday Edition)

Every girl loves to hear these words when they go to the doctor: "You need to lose some weight."
I know that I loved hearing that yesterday afternoon from my doctor. But, in the end, he is right. I am now the heaviest that I have ever EVER been in my life, and I did not like the number that popped up on the scale. What's worse is that with TWO doctors appointments yesterday, I got to see it come up TWICE! So, no fluke, I really weigh that. (And good luck with trying to get me to tell you what "that" number is!!! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!)

I know Erin over at Blue-Eyed Bride used to do Weight Watchers Wednesdays, so to not-quite copy her (with love), I am going to start doing "Trim it Down Tuesdays" - a collection of low-cal recipes that I think are delicious, with maybe a few fitness tips thrown in. Yes, I know it's Thursday, but I thought "Tuesday" had a better ring to it, so after today's first edition it will move to Tuesdays. Since there's no time like the present to start watching my diet, I thought I'd start today.This is a recipe that I also originally got off of Erin's website last year:

Two Point Taco Soup

1 large onion, diced
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes & green chiles
1 (11 ounce) canned corn with red and green peppers
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can low-fat or fat-free canned refried black beans
2 cans water (3 1/2 cups)
1 package taco seasoning mix 1 package ranch salad dressing mix (dry)

Sauté onion with vegetable oil cooking spray. When softened, combine all other ingredients and cook until heated through.

Makes 9-10 cups. Serving size is 1 cup. 2 WW points per serving.

This is a really good soup. But Chris complained that there was no meat in it... Uh huh. So, for all the meat lovers out there, here is another version that is evidently the same 2 points!!

Two Point Taco Soup - the Meaty Version

1 pound of ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 package of Ranch dressing dry mix (1 oz.)
1 package of Taco seasoning mix (1 oz.)
1 can of Pinto beans (16 oz.)
1 can of Chili beans, either hot or regular (16 oz.)
1 can of corn with red and green peppers (11 oz.)
1 can of Rotel tomatoes (tomatoes with chili peppers) (8 oz.)
1 can of regular diced tomatoes

Brown the meat and onions and drain the fat. Then, add the Ranch mix and Taco seasoning to meat and onions. Without draining any of the cans, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.

Makes 12 servings. Serving size is 1 cup.

Not all of my recipes will be Weight Watchers. In fact, if you have any delicious "healthy" recipes, leave them in the comments section and I'll try to make them and re-post the recipe in a future post of "Trim it Down"!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clip of the week

The day lillies are FINALLY blooming in my garden!! They are so pretty.

Does anyone else watch "the Soup" on E! ? If you don't, you should. It's truly truly hilarious.
Tomorrow Charlie goes in for his little surgery... his little "clip" if you will.

But I know by Thursday he'll be back to his old self again and happy!!

Wish him luck!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Friday off

As some of you all know, my work decided earlier this summer to cut back our work weeks by one day every other week. I chose to have Fridays off because if I'm going to be docked a day of pay, I might as well be enjoying a long weekend.
It seems like this summer I've found things to keep me busy on these days off - like doing a side project and travelling - but today I'm free. So I decided to put it to good use and get some things done around the house. Hem up the bedroom curtains, maybe sew up the bedskirt that matches our headboard, clean, do laundry...
To keep me accountable, I thought I'd keep a little running tally today.

So far, I've:

*Slept in :-)
*Cleaned the blinds and window in our room
*Taken down the curtains and thrown them in the dryer for a moment to knock any dust off
*Top and bottom hemmed one curtain (so it's not so long that the dogs lay on it!)
*All done with the curtains! They are hanging up and look much better. Still a little longish, but not puddling on the floor anymore.
*Just found out we are going to a friend's house to watch the Cowboy game so now I must be "ready" around 5:30... think I may make some macaroni as a side dish. I am going to give up the bedskirt project for another time.
*Just ate a late lunch - tacos. I need to color my hair. Glamourous, huh? Well, it's everyday life.
*Hair colored. Shower taken. Ready. Can I stop by Kroger before Chris gets home to buy some more meat for the cookout tonight?
*Am ready.... where's Chris??

So - this has been my super exciting and fun filled day.... Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

I'll be adding to this list throughout the day, and hopefully it'll be a long one!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An ode to blogging

Oh blog, why is it that you vex me so? When I come to write on you, my mind goes blank of all original ideas. I feel like I have nothing interesting to say on you. Why?? I see interesting things on other people's blogs, and all I can think is "Why didn't I think of this?".

So, hopefully soon, I'll be working on here to make some changes - updating blog lists, offering and showcasing my work, and just generally making things look a little fresher.

Thank you all who have kept coming by and leaving me messages, it really means a lot to me. I think the best thing about blogging, and the reason that keeps me doing it, is the friendships that I've fostered out there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Orleans recap

Hello! We had a great time in New Orleans last weekend, and I took LOTS of pictures, so I thought I'd share.

New Orleans has wonderful food, all over the city. One of Chris' favorite shows is "DINERS, DRIVE-INS, AND DIVES".

So you know we were going to be checking out some of the places he's gone to here.
One was Joey K's, which was really good. I had a pasta that had shrimp, ham, and artichoke hearts on it. Chris had the trout with shirmp and crabmeat sauce over it.

But the winner was the Joint Barbeque. Honestly, some of the best ribs I've EVER eaten. Sooooo good.

I know I've shared with you before about my prediliction to close my eyes in photographs. This weekend was no different. This wasn't a good weekend for me in photos.
This is the best one, of my friend and I:

She and her husband have no problems looking cute in their photos:

So why is it that Chris and I look slightly drunk?? We weren't!! This was at breakfast!

And now, one of the worst pictures of me in a long time. I don't think it's quite worse than my 8th grade school picture, but it's close. Granted, we got rained on, but that doesn't explain why I look like a giant in this picture! Maybe I need taller friends (who don't run a couple miles every day and are larger than a size 4)!

After seeing that on my little camera screen, I needed another drink (you'll notice the mimosa in my hand above).
We went to the Tropical Isle, home of the Hand Grenade (potent, but good), and this young lady:

Evidently she guards the secret formula or something.
Glad to know it's safe!

New Orleans is such a crazy place. There is always something fun or wacky going on. This past weekend was no different. They were holding the Red Dress Run. In the French Quarter. The people who put on this run claim that they're a drinking club with a running problem!
Everyone who participated had to wear a red dress of some kind. Everyone.

It was a pretty funny sight! One we saw all. day...long. They were everywhere!

Here are some more of our pictures of the city:

New Orleans was actually under Spanish rule before it came under the French. It's an interesting mix of the two.

The famous cornstalk fence, in front of the Cornstalk Hotel:

A view of a beautiful courtyard:

Unfortunately, we didn't run into Brad...

But we had just as cute of a welcome wagon!!

And yes, that blur behind her is her tail!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Laissez les bon temps roulez

Tomorrow, I'll be here.

Chris and I are going to visit some friends who moved down here earlier this year, and we are both so excited!! Not only to get away for a long weekend, but to go to New Orleans (which just so happens to be one of my FAVORITE cities!)!!

Maybe the courtyard by our friends' house will look as beautiful as this one.

Tomorrow afternoon I might be walking under this very building! I love the architecture in the French Quarter - it's so different from any other city in America.

I'd also like to visit the Garden district this trip and go ga-ga over the houses there.

Maybe ride the streetcar around a little.

I'm sure we'll also hit this place and do a little gambling. Unfortunately, I am totally unlucky when it comes to stuff like this.

Maybe I should go visit the Voodoo shop and get some lucky potions or charms before I hit the casino?
Ah, Pirate's Alley. Can you even imagine living here? How cool.

Chris has said that he really wants to go back and eat at the Acme Oyster House, which he ate at last time he was in town.

Po-boys and other good "New Orleans Specialties"!

Maybe we'll (I'll) get lucky and Brad Pitt will be in town! (Hi Brad!)

I could offer to take him to Pat O'Brien's...

... and buy him a Hurricane. (But I definitely won't keep the souvenir glass this time. I already have 4 at home!)

Maybe Brad will even join us the next morning as we head out for some coffee (for Chris) and beignets (for both of us) at Cafe Du Monde.

What are beignets?? Yummy fried donut-like things with lots and lots of powdered sugar on top. They *sort of* taste like funnel cakes. But more delicious.

I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend!!

And I hope you all have a great one as well!

Let the good times roll, y'all!

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