Thursday, May 30, 2013

Books Galore!

I haven't really been cooking lately, or DIY'ing, but I have been immersed in some awesome books!  Not only reading, but I am trying to organize all the books in my house.  So I have literally been surrounded by books the past week or two.  

(Note to all of you, if you plan on moving a bookshelf, make sure you take all the books off.  I learned the hard way.  I thought because it was on tile it would just slide on over the half foot I wanted it to move.  Nope......)  All is good now, I did not get crushed by falling books, although it came close :) 

So here is what I have been reading lately.  I go through phases, I read everything from classic to autobiographies, to romance to paranormal.  I don't discriminate, I love all! 

I've mentioned her before but I'll do it again, hell I'll mention her ten million times thats how much I love her books.  Kristen Ashley, or KA.  She has a ton of romance books out filled with yummy alpha males, mystery, hilarious situations, soap opera like plot lines and then there are her fantasy land series which takes you into this awesome made up world of hers with so many details its like you are there yourself, then there's her paranormal series that have vamps, weres and ghosts.  

The latest I have read from Kristen Ashley would be Fire Inside.  Its due out June 4th, I know for sure in ebook format, not sure on the hard copy tho.  Rest assured that when it is in paperback I will be purchasing it.

Fire Inside is the second book in the Chaos series, first one was Own the wind with Shy and Tabby.  You could always start with this series, but I would recommend reading the Dream Man series, that features chaos in the books, just a little taste of Tack Allen and then the fourth book titled Motorcycle man you are really introduced to the world of bikers.  I was never into bikers until I read this book, I love me some Tack Allen, now I love me some Hopper Kincaid from Fire Inside!

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

"Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love—no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club...

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his tastes. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him—in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that."

I know if I gave my own synopsis, I would def include spoilers and that is not nice.  I hate reading spoilers so I would do that to any one else.  If you have a chance check out KA on goodreads, she has a ton of books out and they are a fun, quick read.  Sometimes it's nice to take a break from our realities and enter someone else's for awhile ;)


Friday, May 24, 2013

My take on Crockpot Cashew Chicken

I'm trying real hard this week to eat normal and to measure my food and make healthier choices.  What got me in this mess in the first place was stacking my plate mile high and eating until it was all gone, using white rice, white bread, white pasta.......all refined.  Not so good for you.  I'm trying really hard to make better choices.  

Weight watchers isn't just a diet, it really is a great guideline to use while trying to lose weight.  You can eat all your regular foods, just in moderation.  I am training myself to eat slower and listen to my stomach when its full.  Instead of eating non stop and then being so uncomfortable.  Its hard, but I'm doing it.  

I came across this recipe on pinterest, thought this sounds pretty good.  Lets try it out.  Except, I didn't have time to put it in the crockpot.  So I made it with out.  I also cut down on cashews and eliminated the flour all together.  I uploaded it onto weight watchers recipe builder and for four servings at a cup each it is 9 points.  Its kinda high, but it was super yummy, and when I'm craving Chinese food and don't want to get all the sodium and fried foods that I tend to gravitate towards at the buffet, I know I have options I can make at home that hits the spot.  

Original recipe can be found at fav family recipes.

(Sorry, not the best photo quality, trust me, it was yummy!)

Allie's Cashew Chicken

2 lbs. chicken (cut up in cubes)
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. ketchup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. minced fresh ginger
black pepper

I placed the chicken (season with black pepper) in an oiled pan and sauteed for about 5 minutes.  Mix all the ingredients together and dump on top.  Stir well, turn heat to medium, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  That is it. 

I pared it with a cup of brown rice and put a tablespoon of cashews on top.  

1 cup brown rice = 5 points
1 T. cashews = 3 points
1 C. chicken= 9 points

Yes, it is kinda high, but it is do able.  I took the flour out of the original recipe and cut the cashews way down.  I'm not saying I'll have this on my weekly rotation, but every once in a while I will make this to get my Chinese buffet fix.

I hope you enjoy! 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Southwest Chopped Salad

So, ever since I have started weight watchers I have been craving, craving salad.  Weird, right?  I should be craving sugar, chips, all that junk food.  Nope, it doesn't help that pinterest has all these yummy recipes out there!  So I found one for this southwest chopped salad.  So I had to try it.  I'm not big on cilantro, but let me tell you.  This dressing was divine! 

Yummy looking, right?  

The salad had greens in it, fresh corn (I had left over corn on the cobb), 1/2 cup of black beans, one orange pepper diced up, 1/2 a pint of cherry tomatoes halved, four green onions chopped, and then I topped it with 1 oz tortilla chips. This made a lot of salad, so when I put it in the recipe builder for weight watchers I put serving size 6, at 1 1/2 cups.  That would equal 1 point, for the salad.

Now the dressing is super green and made with greek yogurt.  Yum! 

This is the original recipe from the garden grazer.

Now for the delicious dressing! 

My version of creamy cilantro dressing:

an entire bunch of cilantro
1 lime
1 tsp. honey
1/2 low fat greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves
1/4 olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
dash of salt

I threw it all in the blender and viola.  Easy peasy.  I put this in the handy dandy weight watchers recipe builder.  It makes maybe a cup of dressing. I used two tablespoons on the salad.  3 points.  

So, really four points for this yummy salad is quite good.  I did add 3 oz. of chicken, so it bumped it up to 7 points total.  

Any other salad ideas out there?


*I am in no way a spokesperson for weight watchers, nor do I know if these points values are correct.  I use the recipe builder on the weight watchers website that I input all the measurements of ingredients I use.  They do the configuring for me.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Asian Beef with Snow Peas

I found a new recipe I just had to try out.  We love our chinese food in this household, but going to buffets was bad for our wallets and our waistlines! ha.  So when I saw this I thought, I have to make this! It was super easy and I could finally use my wok, I have been caring around for years, just never used.  My first asian dish was a success!

I even measured everything out because that is what you do on weight watchers.  1 cup of brown rice= 5 points.  3 oz. steak= 3 points, brown sugar= 0 points, soy sauce= 0 points

I figure 8 points for this dish.

I got this recipe from an exert of my better home and gardens magazine from all recipes.  They are advertising for their new magazine.  I like it because it gives the original recipe, but then tells you what they did differently and what users did differently as well.  

So I doubled up my sauce and finished it off with sesame oil. 

Asian Beef and Snow Peas

1 1/2 lbs beef round steak (I bought the stir fry beef in the meat section)
1 c. snow peas (I just used a generous handful from the fruit stand)
6 T. soy sauce
4 T. rice vinegar
2 T. brown sugar 
2 t. cornstarch
1 T. veggie oil
1 T. minced fresh garlic
1 T. minced fresh ginger

Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside. (Those measurements are for double the sauce)
Head oil in wok and add garlic and ginger, stir fry for 30 seconds.  
Add beef to wok and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until evenly browned.
Add snow peas and stir fry for 3 minutes longer. 
Add soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Lower heat and simmer until thick, about 1 minute.  

I served it over 1 cup of brown rice and some spoonfuls of sauce over it, then sprinkled the beef and snow peas with some sesame oil.  It was yummy!  Next time I make it, I will marinate the steak for a couple hours.  

Any one else have some yummy, easy asian recipes??


**I put this in the recipe builder from weight watchers and for four servings it was 7 points, but I took the meat out and measured it at 3 oz.  If you were to take the entire dish and serve it up as 1 cup then I believe it would be 7 points, that includes a lot of sauce, more then 3 oz of beef and snow peas.  I will count it as 7 (plus the 5 from the rice) because I still need points for the day! 

Cherry Cake

I got this recipe from a weight watchers tracking journal back in 2010.  Back then a small piece was two points I'm not sure how many points it is today.  I am still counting two.  I don't know of any sites that you can put a recipe in and they will give you points values.  Maybe one day I will find one, but until then I am going to enjoy my cherry cake at two points. 

Its only two ingredients, its yummy (some parts sour, but I like sweet and sour) the crust gets nice and golden and sweet.  

One box of angel food cake and one can of cherry preserves.  I used lite comstock cherry preserves (pie filling).  Mix the two together, put in a sprayed 13x9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Easy Peasy! 



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Weight Watchers

I started weight watchers on Wednesday, for the 15th millionth time.  I have had success in the past, just gained it all back.  Why? Because I stopped making my healthy choices and went back to the bad ones.   Its a vicious cycle.  Its either one extreme or the next, but never happy medium between the two.  This time I am dedicated.  I have a goal and I want to meet it before I turn 30!  Which is in one year and three months!

Weight Watchers isn't about eating "their" food.  Its about making healthy choices when you eat.  Its all based on a points system and you can eat regular food, just in moderation.  Moderation is key, portioning out your food it key and exercising, whether it be walking the job, to running on a treadmill, being more active really helps.  

I found these wraps at the grocery store called Flat Out, I got the multi-grain with flax and its only three points for the entire thing.  You could make a wrap with your favorite veggies and lunch meat in it or you could make it into a pizza.  This is what I do. 

My flatbread lunch 5 points

I spread 2 T of hummus on it which is 2 points and then top it with a bunch of veggies, like cherry tomatoes, black olives, sprouts, cucumbers (most veggies are worth zero points).  Really the ideas are endless.  I cut it up into 6 "slices" and pared it with half an apple and I had a nice filling lunch.  

I also had to work that night and I found these cute little mini triscits.  28 crackers for 3 points.  

 snack 5 points
This was a little high in points for a snack, but I noshed on it through out my short shift and it kept me satisfied, until I got home to eat my huge salad I was craving all day!  The cheese was a weight watcher cheese.  I just cut it up so I could have cheese and crackers. 

I'm hoping this next week I'll make some yummy WW recipes that I can share!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Recipes

I have been making some new dishes lately, haven't really kept up on taking pictures of them, but they sure were tasty.  What I did take pictures of I will gladly post in this post! 

First, we will start off with the cookie cups.  Who doesn't love sugar cookies?!  Why not make them in a cup fashion and put some fruit and cool whip in them, yes please.  But, first let me show you the failed attempt at them.......

Pinterest fail at its best!

Second batch, came out perfect!  They are easy peasy, I just bought the roll of sugar cookies in the store, tore off little parts and rolled it into a ball, pressed it into a greased mini cupcake pan and baked according to directions (maybe a few minutes less).  Once they are out, poke the middles and let sit for a few minutes.  Twist them out and fill er' up!  I cut up strawberries, pineapples and threw some blueberries in it.  You could be all fancy and make homemade whip cream and pipe it on.  I was in a rush and spooned it on.  Everyone loved them!  

6 can soup and then some

Found it on a blog called creativity through food.

I added some noodles and sour cream to make it creamy, instead of ranch style beans I use kidney (rinsed).  Then I pare it with some good 'ol cornbread! This has been made several times in my household.  We love it dearly and its super easy and quick!

Some Shrimp and Lemon Pasta, very lemony, very yummy.  Found at damn delicious

Scrambled Egg and Cheese Eggrolls with some country gravy.  These were fun, just made some scrambled eggs and piled it in my wonton wrappers, topped it with cheese and fried them up.  Delish and a nice change from the usual plain old scrambled eggs. 

Oh yeah, you know you've seen the pictures on pinterest.  Don't be discouraged. This is super easy!  Make some homemade meat sauce or use bottled which ever you prefer.  I made my own sauce and all though it came out a tad too sweet we still enjoyed it.  Lining the noodles up took only minutes and I went that extra mile and injected almost every noodle with some ricotta, because if I am going to have a ziti like dish I have to have my ricotta cheese baked in!  It was yummy, and so pretty to look at.  I just wanted to sit and stare at it!  

Until next time,

It's Been Awhile.....

I know, I fail at life sometimes.  Needed a break, gonna be pro active this summer and write more posts and share more recipes, pictures and DIY'S!

reading: I am still on my KA kick, and by KA I mean Kristen Ashley.  She is awesome, like ROCK CHICK awesome.  I wish my life was like one of her novels, cept maybe the dumb girls in it.  Not all are dumb, but most are.  Then again that wouldn't make for drama filled, soap opera'ish reading, now would it?  Check her out, b/c she is fabulous. I got one friend hooked and if I could hook more friends, believe me I would!  

obsessing: I need some order in my life! Its pretty bad when you've been in your new residence for three months and still aren't full unpacked!  Pathetic, I know.  Again this summer will be filled with organizing  painting, decorating and getting our life in somewhat of a less chaotic state of being!  

listening to: I love Thrift Shop, its my mantra. Enough said. 

baking/making: Well I just started weight watchers, so I will be eating lots of yummy veggies and fruits because they are zero points, but my recipes I try out now will be calculated by point values, but I do have some award winners that I will share in later posts.  Really I mean it, I will do more posts! I will keep up this summer!!!!!

looking forward to: No school for THREE MONTHS!  Making a trip to North Carolina to visit my dad and his girlfriend.  And getting unpacked.  Woohoo! 
want to accomplish: Third bedroom needs to be completed by June 29th because Marianne will be in town, so we can meet KA!  WOOHOO!!!  An entire month of a photo a day thing on instagram and getting my garage cleaned out and everything in its rightful place so I can actually decorate at holidays this year!
watching: The usual, Vampire Diaries, Awkward, Greys, New Girl, Revolution, and Rupauls Drag Race (gotta represent my girl Roxxy Andrews!  Where my people at??!!) OMG, totally became obsessed with The Walking Dead, the hubs bought me a new dvd player that accesses the internet so I can get netflix on the tv.  Started watching Walking Dead with the hubs and now am totally bummed I have to wait until August to see the third season!   

missing: I can definitely say I am not gonna miss homework or school this summer! HAHA!
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