Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back in the Swing

School is in full swing, we are back action. KK starts volleyball this week and SS will be back a piano lessons too.

Monday - Spaghetti and meatballs. I made a big ol' batch of sauce last week and will make some meatballs to throw in. SS will be one little happy camperette!

Monday - Mexican Lasagna. The chickies really liked the one a made awhile back with tortillas instead of noodles, but they ate all the tortillas I was planning on using, and I'm not going grocery shopping this week!

Wednesday - Roast chicken in the crockpot. I'm gonna use my favorite roast chicken recipe and give it the crockpot treatment. You wad up balls of tin foil in the bottom and place the chicken on top. This keeps the bird from sitting in its on juices all day. The skin doesn't crisp up much, but we aren't eating the skin 'cuz we are good little weigh watcher peeps! :)

Thursday - Weigh in day. New Pho place. I don't care how much people say they want sushi, we are trying this place out!

Friday - I have never made Red Beans and Rice, but this recipe from the Weight Watchers board looked really good:

Red Beans and Rice
Serves 6

4 slices bacon, diced (I'll use turkey bacon)
1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 (16 ounce) package smoked sausage, sliced (I'll use turkey sausage)
3 (15 ounce) cans red beans, rinsed
2/3 cup worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup chicken stock
4 cups cooked rice

Dice the bacon.

Finely chop the parsley.

Slice smoked sausage.

Rough chop onion and smash garlic.

Drain and rinse canned beans.

In a dutch oven or deep skillet with a lid, fry bacon until crispy. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.

Add sausage, Worstershire sauce, beans, and chicken stock. Put lid on pan and simmer at least 15 minutes or until heated through.

Serve over rice.

Saturday - We liked the Chicken Tiki Masala enough for it to be a do-over, although I will red cut the heat a little bit this time. I thought for an authentic indian dinner, I might make up some naan too. My friend Dishy, has this great grilled recipe over on her blog.

Sunday - I loved the chicken caccitore from last week, but it made a lot! So, I froze the leftovers - we'll see how it does after its trip to the deep freeze.

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New Reviews

Just a quick run-down of the new recipes I've tried lately:

Cuban Pork Roast *****
Nice and juicy after about 4 hours on high in my crockpot. I sliced it up & put it back in to soak up the juices. I might cut back on the oregano next time, 2 tablespoons is A LOT of oregano!

Layered Crockpot Casserole ****
Had a decidedly "stew" feeling going on. The cinnamon was there, but not overpowering. I think I smelled it more than tasted it. The chickies were not huge fans, asking "is there any meat in here?". Something they don't ask when I've tried other vegetarian fare on them. I liked it better for lunch the next day.


Salmon Cheddar Casserole
**** 1/2
Very good for a crockpot casserole, which sometimes turn into a big pile of unrecognizable mush. It even got a nice crispy layer on top! KK liked it and said it could be a do over, SS not a fan and would be happy never to see it again. LOL I liked it and it might go again.

Keith Young's Chicken Cacciatore
*****
My hands down favorite cacciatore ever! So forgiving and delicious. I fry in LOTS less oil, use whatever tomatoes are hanging out in my pantry, and only use green peppers (I can't afford red peppers! LOL). I am a non-traditionalist and server over mashed potatoes, but it is awesome on pasta too.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Meal Planning - It feels so good!

I have really missed my meal planning during August! I'm ready to jump back on the bandwagon and bring ya'll along for the ride! School is starting this week, so that means I'm going to be pretty busy at work and per usual when that happens, the crockpot is getting a work out. Plus, now that school is starting and summer is winding down, it is time to get serious about Weight Watchers again instead of ice cream! LOL

Monday - Costco has these nice little lean pork roasts that come in a 4-pack for around $15 (less actually I think). I found this nice little pork roast recipe on the WW boards:

Cuban Pork Roast

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
Garlic to taste
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast

Combine juices, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Marinate roast over night. Place in crock pot and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Yield: 6 servings= 232 Calories; 14g Fat (56.5% calories from fat); 23g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 75mg Cholesterol

Tuesday - Per KK's request meatloaf. I have never been able to find a meatloaf recipe that I LOVE and has become my "regular". Sometimes I'll find something new and try that, or sometimes I'll just throw a bunch of stuff together. I have made these meatloaf muffins a couple of times from the WW boards, and they are kid approved and easy.

Stove Top Meatloaf Muffins - 2 p's each

Ingredients
1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
6 serving(s) Stove Top Savory herb, as packaged, Whole Box
1 item(s) Herb-Ox Beef Bouillon Cube(s)
1 cup(s) water
2 Tbsp Heinz Worcestershire Sauce
1 medium onion(s)
1 item(s) egg white(s)

Mix all ingredients until well mixed. Spoon into muffins tins and bake at 350 until cooked through.

Wednesday - I would like to get back to having at least one vegetarian meal a week again. The WW board is getting a work out along with that crockpot. I figured this would be good since all the veggies are fantastic right now.

LAYERED VEGETARIAN CROCKPOT DINNER
Serving Size : 4

6 potatoes -- sliced
1 large onion -- sliced
2 carrots -- sliced
1 green pepper -- sliced
1 zucchini -- sliced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
SAUCE:
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons parsley

1. Layer vegetables in crockpot in order given. Mix together ingredients for sauce and pour over vegetables. Cook 6 hours on high or 12 hours on low.

Source: "DIABETIC-RECIPES-N-TIPS"
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 314 Calories; 2g Fat (4.0% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 70g Carbohydrate; 12g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 2037mg Sodium.

Thursday - First day of school and we need to get to a Weight Watchers meeting.

Friday - I'm sure I'm going to be so happy that this week is over! LOL That first week of school is very crazy! I never did get the Salmon Cheddar Casserole made from a few weeks ago.

Saturday - I've been wanting some Chicken Caccitore for awhile. This one from Food Network has been my favorite for awhile. It is simple and very tasty.

Sunday - I'm pretty sure that there are brown beans and ham hanging out in my freezer that needs to be eaten. I'm going to try to give up my favorite Buttery Corn Bread for something a little more Excellent & Healthy.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

VACATIONS ROCK!

Last week my chickies and I were on vacation in Sun River, Oregon. We had such a fun time, I'm sure my blog won't even do it justice to how much fun we had. I'm apparently not a great photographer, because we took a total of like 10 pictures all week... LOL But we'll see if I can post some of those up at a later date.

We left Sunday and I was impressed that I made a 6 hour drive in just over 6 1/2 hours. That is fantastic for me as I tend to get lost and have become totally dependent on the greatest invention ever to drive anywhere! Our condo was fabulous - with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a hot tub, and wi-fi.... we were set.

First off we set about to do some grocery shopping for the week at Trader Joes. My first trip ever and I was a little overwhelmed, but have decided $3 Chuck is my new boyfriend! LOL

We settled in Sunday night only to be greeted with a huge thunderstorm that blew out our TV in the living room! We went to the bedroom to watch the news on the TV there and I was a little freaked out when the electricity went out in the news studio and we were left with just a still picture of the news anchors not moving for about 5 minutes! LOL The next morning, the cable was out everywhere as well as the wi-fi and the hot tub. I have to give props to Sun Ray Vacation Rentals because they had all my problems fixed well before noon and were very helpful and pleasant. (Which goes a long, long ways in my book!)

Monday we started off with a trip to Costco for a few more goodies and then went for afternoon to the community pool. It was nice and we got in free with our condo rental. (More yeas for Sunray!) My mini-chicks were a little miffed that every hour, on the hour for 15 minutes anybody under 18 had to vacate the pool for "adult swim". I thought it was a great idea, the kiddos - not so much! LOL Monday night we took our first bike ride to the park and the nice gentlemen and his two sons were nice enough not to laugh when I bit it on a corner!

Tuesday we went to the High Desert Museum which I highly recommend to anybody that's going to be in the area. The animals are awesome, the bat exhibit was cool, and I really liked the pioneer village items. We had a picnic lunch a very different place - Petersen's Rock Garden. There were a lot of rocks, shells, and lily pads! We ate lunch at picnic table with the company of 3 peacocks (which had KK jumping up every 3 seconds proclaiming loudly her vehement dislike of birds! LOL). We stopped on the way back to our condo for some Cold Stone Creamery, making a perfect vacation day!

Wednesday we had sorta a lazy morning, which included another bike ride to the park, a lasagna lunch and then off to do some serious back-to-school shopping. I would say we are at least 95% done, with just a few supplies left and KK still needs a new pair of shoes. We ended our evening by trying out the yummiest little sushi place. Everybody is always impressed when my girls gobble down sushi like we all should eat raw fish everyday!

Thursday was Paulina Plunge Adventure Bike Ride Day. This event should probably have it's very own post... LOL I THOUGHT this sounded like so much fun. When I called to make reservations, I was ASSURED that people 2 to 70 do this all the time. Most of the bike ride is DOWNHILL, coasting, there is "a little" hiking to and from the waterfalls. Umm.ummm.ummm..

We'll start at the beginning - I picked the coldest day of the whole week for this little jaunt (I wouldn't have known that because I made the reservations a month ago), but at any rate - I don't think the temperature ever went over 65 all day. (Remember that - it'll be important later!). I must say, right off the bat that the guides were super nice. Biking riding was okay - not really "coasting", but braking. SS biffed it only about 100 feet into the ride and then again about 100 feet later, but she soon got over her wobblies and made the rest of the ride pretty well. KK made the bike part really well, taking one little spill early on then and then not remembering the most important rule right in the last 20 feet (pull both hand brakes evenly!!!) and took a little handlebar right in the tummy.

So, know lets talk about the waterfalls/hiking adventures. We arrived at the first falls after only biking a bit, on headed on down.down.down to the falls. It involved crossing a creek and I plunged forward like a trooper. We arrived and SS was down to her swimsuit & shorts in 10 seconds flat - only the 2nd person to do the jump (only about 5 of the 15 people did it). KK took a little more coaxing, but finally went for it - only to lose her velcro sneakers! Luckily a guide and a wet little boy were able to retrieve them both and I didn't have to give my sneakers to her for the remainder of the journey!

Then we started back up.up.up - at 7000 feet going up. My lungs were going to explode! I was totally gasping for breathe. The guides were so nice, the younger one Chris - with his gaged earlobes and blond spiky hair made my day. He said "All of those other people (meaning the other adventures already at the top) aren't going anywhere until we get there anyway. And we, are walking and talking with you. If you can't talk to us, you are trying to go to fast. Slow down! You are on vacation!" I wanted to hug him and tell him that this chubby 41-year old momma appreciated such consideration. (I did hug him at the end of give him a $20 tip! LOL)

So, the top finally arrived. We were back on the bikes. Off to another waterfall. Another trek down, SS again joyful in the freezing water, another climb up. Finally, the last waterfall. It was nice - I was standing on the some rocks thinking to myself "WOW.. look, the sun is shining over there - I should be over there!". So, I start walking, carefully, slowly across the rocks to the other side. No remember, it is about 60-65 degrees - I'm wearing shorts, long sweats, my swimsuit top, a tank top, and a hoodie. I'm doing okay with my little expedition, I'm about 1/2 ways across. A little boy, about 7 starts out across towards me - we get about a foot way from one another and he says "I WANNA GO ACROSS". Let's just say that my thoughts in my head were not appropriate to be saying to somebody else's 7 year old!

As I was contemplating and how to tell him to turn his hiney around and go back, I wavered ever so slightly and then sure enough, I lost my balance. SPLASH!!!! Yep, me fully clothed, all the way under in about 3 1/2 feet of water. My hair is wet (which if you know me - you know that doesn't make me happy!). I was soaked. Every piece of clothing I brought was no soaking wet. I was freezing! But wait, this adventure is not over. I still had to ride the bike another 3 miles and then ride the bus back to town for at least 45 minutes! By the time I arrived back at the condo, I ran straight through the house, peeling most of the wet clothes off and launched right into that 105 degree hot tub!. awwwwwwwwww........ I stayed there for about 30 minutes never once having the thought "I'm too hot". And that my friends is why next year we will go thunderegg hunting tour!

Friday mostly involved me not being able to move much as my muscles complained about the work out - but we did make it to Sun River's village square to enjoy some of the festivities.

Saturday - our last day we went to see the Lava River Cave and the Lava Lands. If you are into cold, dark walks into scary looking caves, then the lava river caves would just be the thing for you. For us... not so much. I think it was our least favorite "touristy" thing we did. The Lava Lands were cool, with it's visitor center. We didn't take the drive up Lava Butte, but it is something to be considered for next time.

AND there will be a next time. Never have the chickies and I gone away on a vacation where I've come home and said "we have to go back there". I'm usually trying to find the next "new and different" thing to do, but I know we could go back to Sun River right now for another week and never run out of things to do!

I highly, highly recommend it it!

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