Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall is Calling My Name!

Here in Alabama our seasons tend to turn on us quickly. We went from 80 degree weather to 50 degree weather last weekend. It was COLD! And it did NOT feel like fall. However, this week has been great fall weather, low 70's/high 60's. We have had a great time playing outside.

Last night, we finally carved our pumpkin. This year Taylor carved a pumpkin fit for our toddler...Tigger!

I saved the seeds and roasted them in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and salt. What a great fall snack! So, if you haven't carved your pumpkin yet, save those seeds and roast away. :)

It's That Time of Year Again!

And by that time, I mean hunting season. The husband is determined he will get a buck this year, so with a promise of more venison to fill my freezer I need to clean out what I have left. At the end of the season earlier in 2009, my father-in-law gave us a good bit of venison. We haven't eaten much, just every now and then, because it requires at least an couple of hours marinating to taste really good to me. And I don't always prep for dinner that early.

The good news is that venison is a very lean meat, and works great for my new weight loss plan! We had some tenderloin medallions and I decided to do them in a Korean BBQ style. They were SO good! Best way I've had venison yet!

I also tried a weight watchers recipe for mashed cauliflower and potatoes. These were pretty good, and a lot less points than traditional mashed potatoes. And Taylor even liked them. He ate seconds!!

Venison, Korean BBQ Style

Source: Me
Serves: 3-4 people
4 WW points per serving

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
3 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
10-12, 1 oz. venison tenderloin medallions

Mix all ingredients except medallions. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade. Add medallions to the rest of the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Grill medalions until medium/medium-well. Pour reserved marinade over medallions once they are on the serving dish.

Mashed "Potatoes"

Source: Weight Watchers
Serves: 4
2 WW points per serving

8 oz. cauliflower florets
3 small yukon gold potatoes
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp salt, divided
1/4 cup 1% milk (I used skim because that's what we have)
2 tsp butter
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp chives, freshly snipped (I omited because I didn't have)

Place cauliflower, potatoes, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil until vegetables are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes; drain and return to saucepan.Stir in milk, butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper; mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in chives and serve. Yields about 1/2 cup per serving.

This whole plate? 6 Points!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Skinny Chili

Ok, so last week I started doing weight watchers points. I only have 24 daily points and by dinner those points are usually few and far between. I do have 35 extra weekly points I can use to splurge, but I really want to save those up for something good.

Thursday night I tried a weight watcher's recipe for chili. It is only 2 points per serving!!! Taylor and I both loved it. And one serving really filled me up. Taylor went back for seconds. ;) I added some fresh cayenne pepper to mine. I really like to use them when they are green because the skin hasn't gotten as tough and they are still pretty hot!

Skinny Chili (This is my name for the dish, not the original author's.)
Source: Judy Scuderi, find it here
Serves: 6

1 lb. lean ground beef (10% or less)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 sweet onion, chopped

1/4 cup canned diced chilies

2 tbsp. tomato paste


1. In a large nonstick skillet brown beef and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally to break up meat. Drain excess fat. Add chili powder and cumin and stir to combine.

2. Combine tomatoes, beans, onion, chilies, and tomato paste in crockpot. Stir in beef mixture. Cover and cook on High until flavors are blended, 4 - 5 hours.

I added a little dried oregano and basil, salt and pepper to the crock pot for some extra seasoning.

Trying Something New

I am on a mission to lose weight. I can't even really call it baby weight since about a week after Logan was born, I technically weighed the same as before I was pregnant. I even lost some weight after that and started to move in the right direction. Then all three of us got the flu, I quit exercising and things just went down hill from there. My goal is to lose 20 lbs.

I have started using the elliptical machine that has been just a room decoration up until now. And I am going to try the weight watchers point system to help me stay on track. I would really like to lose the weight by Christmas. We'll see how it goes.

I found this great food blog all about weight watchers. She has already figured out the points for each meal, making it really easy! I have added her to my blog list on the left. Here is the first recipe I tried: Asian Grilled Chicken.

Please forgive the picture. My camera battery was dead, so I had to use my cell phone. It was really good. Our whole family liked it, and one 3 oz. serving is only 3 points! Find the recipe here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Comfort Food

I have some friends who are all about crock pot cooking. I have a great crock pot that we received for our wedding and I've used it a few times, but I've never been overjoyed with the results. Don't get me wrong, the food was ok, just not my style. Taylor usually really likes it. I think the only thing I've actually ever made in it is pot roast, which isn't my favorite any way, so that might be why I haven't been pleased with the resulting flavors.

Well, today I have a new crock pot recipe for you, and it is really good! My mother-in-law recently asked me if I knew how to make chicken and dumplings. She said she's never mastered making good dumplings and I told her I would look into it. This Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings is SO good and super easy. I read a bunch of different crock pot recipes and most of them called for using canned biscuits for the dumplings. Usually I'm not above taking that short cut, but I really wanted to make my own dumplings this time. I did take the short cut of using baking mix instead of completely from scratch because I already had some on hand. I think next time I'll try canned biscuits. Haha! My baking mix dumplings were like drop biscuits on the top of my chicken and they just turned into huge 1/2 wet 1/2 dry dumplings. Don't get me wrong, they were good, but not really what I was looking for. The chicken turned out great! Great flavor and Logan loved it! He did not like the dumplings. Ha!

I really just came up with my own recipe and I'll definitely be doing this again. I did add some peas and carrots to Logan's bowl so he could get some extra veggies. He loves peas and carrots! I on the other hand, do not. Taylor had the choice to add some to his and he passed too. At least we try to make sure our son gets some healthy food. ;)

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings
Source: Me

Add to the crock pot:
3 frozen chicken breasts
1 tbsp each: onion powder, garlic powder and dried basil
1 tsp each: salt and pepper
Chicken Stock, enough to completely cover the breasts. I used about half a box of stock.

Set crock pot on low for 5-6 hours. You can tell when they are ready because the chicken just falls apart when you try to pick it up.

Remove chicken breasts and shred the meat.

Dissolve 1 tbsp cornstarch into 1 tbsp cold water, then add to the stock in the crock pot. Mix well, then add back in the chicken. (This thickens the stock and makes it creamy. If you prefer a thinner stock, skip this step)

Turn crock pot to high.

In a mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups baking mix and 1/2 cup milk. Don't over mix, just stir until combined. Once the crock pot mixture is bubbling, drop in spoonfulls of the dumpling mixture.

Cover and cook on high until the dumplings are cooked through.

I chopped some fresh cilantro and sprinkled it over the top of my bowl. It added great flavor and some color to the dish! (We never have fresh parsley on hand but we do usually have fresh cilantro. It's our herb of choice around here.)