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Friday, March 30, 2012

The Librarian

I have been in Arizona this past week having a great time on vacation. I'm sad that my time here is almost up. I celebrated my 30th birthday yesterday in style. Jessica and her mom got me roses and donuts to start the day with. Then they took me shopping and we had our nails done. Later that evening we had a small party with ice cream cake. They made turning 30 without mom really special. I didn't miss her so much. Tomorrow we are going to the Renaissance Fair. That should be fun other than it supposed to be 90 some degrees.

Now on to The Librarian. Jessica and her family are from Indiana and they love Lincoln's Carry Out. Jessica's favorite sandwich is The Steel Worker. I don't know the story behind it. The sandwich is roast beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo on rye bread but she gets it on Vienna bread. Jessica had been craving a Steel Worker so I set out to recreate it. The only problem is around here is that they don't have a very big selection of Vienna or French bread so I choose round hard rolls but they were still soft. For the beef I got Charlies Pride from the deli sliced thin and American cheese from the deli. They turned out really good. Jessica said that when she got a bite of the beef with the cheese and the mayo it tasted a lot like The Steel Worker. It wasn't exactly the same but pretty darn close. I don't know why it's named The Steel Worker but Jessica renamed my creation The Librarian since I'm a Librarian.

The Librarian
inspired by The Steel Worker

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6 hard rolls, Vienna bread, or French rolls
1 pd. Charlies Pride deli meat sliced thin
12 slices American cheese, I used Prima Della
tomato slices
onion slices

Spray a skillet with cooking spray. Place a few slices of meat on the skillet and heat for 2 to 3 minutes on one side and flip over and heat on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. While the meat is heating slice your bread open and spread mayo on each side. Place a cheese slice on one half and place one slice of heated meat on top of it. In the pan if the slices are long fold them over and stack three or four slices on top of each other and place a cheese slice on top. Let sit until cheese gets melty. Place on top of the waiting sandwich. Repeat with the rest of the sandwiches. Depending on how big your skillet is you could probably do 2 sandwiches at a time. Garnish each sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and onion if desired.

Chocolate Crescents

One night Will wanted ice cream. We didn't have any and neither of us wanted to get out and get any. I knew I had crescent rolls in the fridge and chocolate chips so I made chocolate crescents for him and cherry pies for me. Chocolate crescents are very tasty and satisfied Will's sweet tooth. These a very easy to make.

Chocolate Crescents

a Lacey creation

8 crescents, 4 WW points per crescent

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1 tube reduced fat crescent rolls
8 T milk chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Unroll the tube of crescent rolls. If your rolls unroll okay you should have 8 triangles. When I made these I was having difficulties and mine were not unrolling very well. That is why I didn't end up with crescent shapes. I separated the dough as best as I could and ended up smooshing each piece of dough into a round, filling it with 1 T of chocolate chips, and closed up the round so the chocolate chips were completely enclosed. If you don't have those type of problems and your triangles come out okay you can place 1 T of chocolate chips on each triangle and than roll each triangle up starting at the wide side working towards the point making sure to keep the chocolate chips in. Place the crescent rolls unto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Enjoy all the chocolaty goodness.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mini Cinnamon Rolls made Light

I love cinnamon, but not cinnamon candy. But cinnamon rolls are right up my alley and these were delicious. What's even better is these are low in points, but that doesn't mean I can eat the whole pan. :)

Mini Cinnamon Rolls
a Lacey creation

24 mini rolls, 3 WW points with cream cheese frosting, 2 WW points without

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2 tubes reduced fat crescent roll
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
2 T Cinnamon, divided
2 T Light Butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

On a lightly floured surface unroll one of the tubes of crescent rolls. It would be easier to use the seamless crescent rolls which is low in fat but I can never find it in Walmart so I work with what I have. Piece together the eight rolls and pinch them together so it is one flat rectangle. Spread 1 T of the light butter over the rectangle. In a bowl mix together 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 T Cinnamon. Sprinkle over the butter and spread to the edges. Roll the crescent up starting at the long side into a tight tube. Spray a pie plate with cooking spray. Cut the tube into 12 pieces and place them into the pie plate close together. Repeat instructions with the other tube of crescent rolls. You will have 24 cinnamon rolls when finished.

Bake for 15-20 or until lightly browned.

To make the frosting:

4 oz Fat Free cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 T powdered sugar
1 tsp milk

Mix all together. Add more milk if the consistency is too thick.

Cake Batter Cheesecakes made Light

For my book discussion last week I made these and mini cinnamon rolls. I wanted to make them less fattening so I tweaked the recipe a little bit. I think they turned out pretty good.

Cake Batter Cheesecakes
adapted from Cassie Craves

24 servings, 3 WW points with Oreo crusts
2 WW points without Oreo crusts

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24 Reduced Fat Oreos, optional
16 ounces Fat Free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Fat Free sour cream
2/3 cup Sugar Free yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans with paper liners. Place a whole Oreo in each cupcake liner if you are using the Oreos. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese for 3 minutes on medium speed until smooth. Add in the sugar and mix for 2 more minutes. Add in the vanilla and mix. Slowly pour in the lightly beaten eggs on medium low speed and mix to combine. Add in the sour cream and mix on medium low speed. Be careful not to over mix the cheesecake batter. Sift the cake mix over the bowl with the cheesecake batter to remove any lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons sprinkles. Fold in gently.

Using a cookie dough scooper or a 1/4 measuring cup, place cheesecake batter on top of each Oreo, if using. Bake the cheesecakes at 275 degrees for 30 minutes. Once they’re done baking, chill them in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sausage Egg Breakfast Cups

I saw this recipe for Crescent Sausage Egg and Cheese Bake on Cassie Craves and I knew I wanted to try it. It is super simple so that was just an added bonus. It has eggs, sausage, cream cheese, and crescents, whats not to love about it. The original recipes calls for making into a casserole which I intended on doing but I didn't have enough crescent rolls so I improvised and made muffins. These turned out awesome and were really good. I will be making these again and trying different variations like ham or bacon.

Sausage Egg Breakfast Cups
adapted from Cassie Craves

8 servings, 4 WW points per serving

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1 roll reduced fat crescent rolls
1 cup Egg Beaters
1 cup Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles
4 0z fat free cream cheese
2/3 cup Weight Watchers Mexican shredded cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350

Unroll the crescent roll tube. In a muffin pan place a crescent in each well. You will have eight. With your fingers stretch the dough up the sides of the well and so that you have some dough hanging out. Set the pan aside. Heat a skillet and spray with cooking spray. Cook the Egg Beaters until scrambled. Once done add the cream cheese and melt. Add the sausage crumbles and stir well with the eggs and cream cheese. Add the shredded cheese and melt. Take off heat. Place heaping tablespoon full of the sausage mixture into each crescent. Once all of the sausage mixture is divided between the eight crescent rolls then close each muffin up. Take the dough that was over lapping on top and seal up over the sausage mixture. Place pan in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crescents are cooked through. Enjoy.

Weekly Weigh In: Week Twelve

This week I lost 1.3 making my total 9.8. I'm almost back to the 10 I lost a few weeks ago. Slow and steady wins the race. That will be my mantra. Next week when I weigh I will be in Arizona seeing those two people and the rest of their clan. But that little guy isn't so little anymore. He's walking and talking and from what I'm told being a typical little boy. That picture was from December 2010 when he was almost 3 months old. That's my sweet little Noah who I guess at times isn't always very sweet. I need to make sure I take lots of pictures. He's growing up so fast. I can't wait to them.

This was end of September early October 2011 right after his first birthday. His first trip to Indiana. He's grown so much even from then.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

I really should look into a photography class. I just point and shoot and hope for the best. As you can see this is an ooey gooey cheesy ricey yummy dinner that really didn't pose well for the camera. This meal was great just the way it was but I thought it would have been fabulous with the addition of bacon or for a Mexican flair some cilantro and salsa. You really could add what you wanted to this and it would taste great. I found this recipe on Cassie Craves. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites. I have a few other recipes to share that I snagged from her. I'm sure I will snag several more. The best part is you cook this in your crock pot. Easy week night meal.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice
adapted from Cassie Craves

6, 1 cup servings, 9 WW points per serving

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2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts
2 to 3 tablespoons light butter
1 medium onion, diced
1, 10.5 oz can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 cup fat free sour cream
2/3 cup Weight Watchers shredded Mexican cheese or reduced fat shredded cheese
1, 15 0z can whole kernel corn, drained
1, 8 oz box Zatarain's Yellow Rice Mix, cooked according to the package directions

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top each breast with a tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with onion. In a bowl mix together the cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or high 3 to 4 hours. A few minutes before serving stir in cooked rice, corn, and cheese. Stir to combine. Serve hot.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weekly Weigh In: Week Eleven

Losing weight really is all in your head. You have to be mentally ready to make a lifestyle change or you won't succeed. I got back on track this week and lost 1.5 so my total is 8.5. Yeah! 1.5 away from being back to 10. The library started a Wellness program. It isn't about losing weight it's just about getting healthy and being well. I think it is a fun idea and a fun way to keep me on track. It started yesterday and will go until August. After the 5 months the top three staff members that participated that have the most points will win prizes with one prize being a day off with pay. There are several ways you can earn points, and one of them is by making healthy foods to share with your co-workers. I can do that. So bring on the wellness.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

When I saw these on Life as a Lofthouse's blog I knew I wanted to try them. I love pancakes, and I love cinnamon rolls. The idea of combining them sounded great and I knew I wanted to try and make them WW friendly. Let me tell you these ended up being a labor of love. But after taking that first bite oh so worth it. They tasted so yummy. Now I know not what to do so next time everything will go smoother.

To make these less fattening I decided to use light stick butter for the cinnamon filling. I have cinnamon sugar already made up for when I make cinnamon toast so I didn't use the brown sugar that the recipe called for. What ended up happening was that when I melted the butter it never set up like it was supposed to and you can't make the swirl with runny butter. It just goes all over the pan and makes a mess. But I'm not a quitter and I was determined to make these pancakes so I added more cold butter to the liquid mixture and smooshed it together and then drained off what didn't incorporate. That made the cinnamon mixture thick enough to keep the swirl on the pancake. Next time I will only melt the butter slightly, just enough to mix in the cinnamon sugar. I didn't make the cream cheese glaze because by the time I got these pancakes made I was starving but next time I think I might because I'm sure the glaze would put these over the top.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
adapted from Life as a Lofthouse

14 pancakes, 4 WW points per serving

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For the Cinnamon Filling (You want to make this first so it sets up while you make the pancake batter):

1 stick light butter, melted for no more than 20 seconds
6 tsp. cinnamon sugar
6 tsp. sugar
1 or 2 T cinnamon depending on how cinnamony you want it

Mix the butter and the cinnamon and sugar together. Place in a zip lock bag. Snip a small hole in one of the corners. Set aside.

For the Pancakes:

I used Heart Smart Bisquick mix, you can make your favorite pancake batter it will just change the point value.

2 cups Bisquick mix
1 1/4 cups fat free milk
1 egg

Mix all of the above ingredients together.

Heat a skillet and spray with cooking spray. Pour a 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet. I can fit two pancakes on my skillet. Take the butter mix and make a swirl on each pancake. Let the pancake cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip carefully and cook on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter. You should be able to make 14 pancakes total.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chicken Bacon Ranch Foil Packets

I had planned on making this meal on Wednesday but it got pushed to Thursday. Wednesday just ended up being a really weird day. I normally work late on Wednesdays but it was that time of year again where all of us LCPL employees had to get together at the unGodly hour of 8am for a staff meeting. So I rolled out of bed around 7:20ish, thankfully the meeting was at the Lake Station library only 5 minutes away. The meeting was for an hour. I came home crawled back in bed for about an hour or so and had to be at the doctor at 11:15. I got some not so great news at the doctor's office but since this is a food blog I won't mention it. I'm trying not to worry about this news because nothing is confirmed yet. I have to go to a specialist and maybe have a test done. After the doctor's visit I went to lunch with my Aunt Faye which I do every Wednesday. I look forward to my Wednesday lunches with Aunt Faye. We aren't phone people so this way we get to see and talk to each other regularly. I got home around 2 and then I took another nap until 4:30 when I had to get up and get ready to be at work by 5. Once again I'm grateful that I live only 5/10 minutes from work. I just didn't give myself time to get this meal ready for Will to put in the oven that day. He had leftover soup to eat so he didn't go hungry. I ended up making this the next day.

This was really yummy and so easy to put together. I made a few substitutions and everything turned out great. I made only enough for two. The recipe called for fresh broccoli, I used frozen. It called for cooked bacon, I used raw. I added the cheese and ranch towards the end of the cooking process. Everything cooked up fine and like I said it tasted great. I think the cheese and ranch really put this over the top. I will be making this again.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Foil Packets
from Cassie Craves

2 servings, 12 WW points per serving

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2 chicken breasts, thawed
2 slices turkey bacon
1 cup chicken flavored stuffing
1/2 cup water
2 cups broccoli florets, frozen
2/3 cup low fat cheese (I used WW Mexican Shredded Cheese)
2 T low fat Ranch dressing

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Rip out two big pieces of foil and lay flat on the counter. Top each piece of foil with a chicken breast. Take one slice of bacon and cut it up into pieces and sprinkle it onto a piece of chicken. Repeat with the other slice of bacon. In a bowl mix together the stuffing and water. Place 1/2 cup of the stuffing onto one of the chicken breasts. Place the remaining stuffing onto the other chicken breast. Place 1 cup of the broccoli florets onto one of the foil packets. Place the remaining broccoli onto the other foil packets. Take one foil packet and bring up the sides to seal. Repeat with the remaining foil packet. Place both on a cookie sheet and cook for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven. Carefully open the packets and sprinkle each with 1/3 cup cheese and drizzle with 1 tablespoon ranch dressing. Reseal packets and place back in oven for 10 minutes. Once done enjoy the cheesy goodness!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Italian Sausage Cheese Tortellini Soup

I wanted a bowl of soup with Italian sausage and cheese tortellini so I essentially made Zuppa Toscana and substituted the potatoes for cheese tortellini. This turned out really good. Cheese tortellini and Italian sausage go really good together.

Italian Sausage Cheese Tortellini Soup

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14, 1 cup servings 5 WW points per servings

1 lb. Perdue Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage Links
1 1/2 ts. red pepper flakes
1 large onion, diced
2 Tb. real bacon bits or turkey bacon
2 ts. minced garlic
10 cups water
5 chicken bouillon cubes, low sodium
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole wheat cheese tortellini
1/4 bunch kale, chopped

Take each sausage link and remove the casing. Discard casings and place the loose sausage, onions, garlic, and bacon bits into a skillet. Cook the sausage mixture, breaking up the sausage as it cooks, until the sausage is cooked through. Drain the meat mixture.

Place in a dutch oven. Add the 10 cups water and 5 chicken bouillon cubes. Bring to gentle boil. Add the wheat cheese tortellini and cook for 7 minutes. In the last 3 minutes of cooking the tortellini add the kale and heavy cream. Serve with garlic bread sticks.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weekly Weigh In: Week Ten and a Meal Plan

It's amazing how much damage two days of eating crappy can do to a person. In two days I gained 2.9 pounds. On Saturday when I weighed myself I was staying the same. I should have stayed strong and stuck to eating healthy but I was having an emotional day and I had Mcdonald's and pizza. Sunday didn't fair much better. I got back into the swing of things on Monday but the damage had been done. It is hard to pick yourself back up from beating yourself down. I felt like utter crap on Monday morning. I had terrible heartburn and my stomach hurt really bad. I really shouldn't do this to myself. It isn't worth it. Now instead of having lost 10 pounds, I have only lost 7. In the past three weeks I have jerked myself around. In the beginning I had thought about not posting my weight loss journey on here but I needed to hold myself accountable and it isn't always smooth sailing. To help me this week I have created a meal plan.

Monday/Tuesday: Turkey Italian Sausage Cheese Tortellini Soup (Recipe to Come)
Wednesday: Chicken Broccoli Bacon Ranch Foil Packets (Recipe to Come)
Thursday: Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Rice (Recipe to Come)
Friday: Unstuffed Bell Peppers (Recipe to Come)
Saturday: Eat Out
Sunday: Crescent Sausage Egg and Cheese Bake (Recipe to Come)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Weekly Weigh In: Week Nine

Week Nine I lost .1. Not great but at least it wasn't a gain. I have to admit I'm struggling a little bit. I just haven't felt well lately, which isn't anything new with me. I have had everyday headaches since last April. The medicine worked for a few months but has stopped working since last November. My doctor even upped my dosage. I started going to a Chiropractor and that has helped but it isn't a cure. I just wish they could find the cause. Thankfully I don't have an aneurysm or tumors which is great but a headache every day isn't normal. It gets frustrating to wake up ever day and not feel good or to wake up and my head hurts so bad I can't go to work. Something needs to give. I haven't been cooking very much lately which doesn't help with my weight loss. I need to hang in there and not give up.

Some yummy items that I think will help are:

Better N Peanut Butter: I always seem to crave peanut butter when I'm trying to lose weight and peanut butter is high in points. Better N Peanut Butter is only 1 point per Tablespoon and it is really yummy. A little sweeter then regular peanut butter but it spreads really well which is a plus.

VitaTop Muffins: I found some at Strack and Van Til. You can order then online. These aren't cheap but so far I have tried the Banana Nut Muffins and Deep Chocolate and I really like the Deep Chocolate. The Banana Nut are good but I'm leaning toward liking the Deep Chocolate more. I think I might order some online.

Food Warning:

Whipped Peanut Butter Spread: This stuff was down right nasty. I bought it because it was 0 calories, 0 fat, 0 sugar and everything else. I thought I would give it a go. It was bad.