Monday, February 27, 2012

Yummy Banana Bread

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Mine was okay - the little guy came down with a pretty bad cold over the weekend, so when he wasn't whining or crying, he was doing lots of this.....

I felt bad for the little normally energetic little boy was completely wiped out.
Since I spent most of the weekend inside, I thought it was time for me to do some baking.  I won Ally's giveaway a little while ago and my prize came in the mail over the weekend.  I couldn't wait to try them out!

Non-stick baking pans!
I made some banana bread with chocolate chips using this recipe.


The pan worked so well!  The banana bread came right out of the pan as soon as I turned it over.  I can't wait to experiment with these more.  Thanks again, Ally!

There's nothing quite like the smell of something yummy baking in the there?

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, February 24, 2012

Food Review: Smart Ones Satisfying Selections

Happy Friday!

It's muggy and rainy and cold but who cares - it's Friday!!

I received a free coupon to try Smart Ones Satisfying Selections.  I picked out the Broccoli Alfredo with minimal hopes.  Frozen meals are great on occasion but they never really fill me up and the portion sizes are less than stellar.

Don't let the words "30 percent larger serving" fool you - it was still a skimpy serving size in my opinion.

One of the best parts of this meal was that it cooks directly in the bag - much like Steamfresh Vegetables. 

The smell was amazing, and when I emptied it out, this is what I was left with.

I ended up adding some broccoli on top of what was already there. The extra broccoli is what made this meal pretty filling. The sauce was a little watery and did not taste like Alfredo.

I appreciated the opportunity to review the meal, but it just wasn't my thing.

Question of the Day:
Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I've been trying to take the time to relax more and do things I enjoy. Lately, relaxing has involved reading some of my book after the little guy goes to bed, or flipping on the TV to catch the last few minutes of All in the Family (what took me so long to realize how hilarious that show was?)

So today, I'm thankful for that relaxation time.  I'm thankful I'm making it a priority to focus on things other than making meals, running around with the little guy and getting the laundry done.

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken Nuggets for the Kiddos

Happy Wednesday!

Hope you are all having a fabulous day! I'm super excited to share a recipe for healthier chicken nuggets with you.

The little guy loves chicken nuggets (all natural, for whatever it's worth) but isn't a a big fan of chicken breast. He typically takes a few bites and spits out most of what he can't chew. He's pretty impatient when it comes to chewing. It if can't be broken down and swallowed within 10 bites, he'll spit it out.

Imagine my excitedness when I saw a recipe on Pinterest for healthier chicken nuggets that were soft and palatable for toddlers.  The recipe is simple - boil chicken breast until completely cooked through (it took mine about 20-25 minutes).   Transfer chicken to a food processor or blender and add in one beaten egg and salt to taste.  (I omitted the salt since I was making these for the little guy).  Take mixture and form into bite-sized nuggets or use cookie cutters to make a fun shape.  Dip in breadcrumbs and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Before going into the oven

After baking
I ended up using crushed bran flakes instead of breadcrumbs because we were all out. 

The little guy LOVED these for dinner last night. I tried one of them and I actually want to make these for dinner for the hubby and I sometimes soon.  They were that good! I'm so glad I found a way for him to eat chicken that's good for him.  Sayonara processed "all natural" chicken nuggets!

Question of the Day:
Are you a chicken nugget fan?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, February 20, 2012

Did "Switchin it Up" Work?

Happy Monday!

I hope you had a fabulous weekend!

We celebrated my nephew's 3rd birthday (which is actually today) on Saturday.  I can't believe he's 3 years old already!!

 It feels like just yesterday I was seeing him at the hospital for the first time.  Where does the time go?

There's only about a year and a half difference between my nephew and my son, and it cracked me up to watch the two of them intereact with each other.  The little guy was running around for most of the party calling out for his cousin. 
I hope they stay close as they get older!

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to switch up my Weight Watchers Plan and start following the old Turn Around Program.  I'm happy to say that as of Saturday, I'm down 2.4 pounds and have (I hope) finally stopped bouncing around on the scale.  So yes, switchin it up actually worked! 

Ironically, a few of my members confided to me that they were thinking of going back to the old program because they weren't having success with PointsPlus.  I told them I had swtiched back with decent results and they decided to try the same for this week.  I'm not knocking the PointsPlus Program at all - it really works for the vast majority of our members - but for some reason, my body doesn't seem to be a fan.

Oh well - you win some, you lose some, right?

Question of the Day:
How was your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today I'm thankful for the arts and crafts the little guy brought home with him from the babysitter's on Valentine's day.  I'm completely smitten......but you probably already knew that....haha!

I'll be treasuring these for many, many years to come.

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Are you doing anything today to celebrate Valentine's Day?  I have mixed feelings about it.  At times I think it's great to show the person you love how much you love them but at the same time I think Valentine's Day should be every day.  You should show love each and every day to the people you love in your life.  Anyone else with me?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my mom makes an amazing broccoli salad.  It's one of those dishes I really look forward to eating.  Broccoli+cheese+mayo+bacon = amazing.  My problem with broccoli salad?  I can't have a ton of it in the fridge at one time because I'd pick and nibble at it until the container was empty.

My solution was to make a single size portion of the stuff.

Single Serve Broccoli Salad

Half a head of broccoli (feel free to add more or less)
28 grams of shredded cheddar cheese (I used the 2% stuff)
1 Tablespoon of low fat mayo
1 Tablespoon of bacon bits (or you could use some crumbled up bacon)
1 Teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 Teaspoon of splenda

Combine all ingredients and enjoy! 

The longer it sits, the better, but you could eat it right away if you don't want to wait.

If you are following Weight Watchers PointsPlus, it's 4 pointsplus.

Question of the Day:
Are you a fan of broccoli?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thankful Monday

Happy Monday!

I'm posting my Thankful Thursday post today.  When I woke up on Thursday, the little guy had gotten sick.  Thankfully my hubby took off with me to help take care of the little guy.  I took off from work on Friday also just to make sure that the little guy was fully recovered.  All was well until Friday night....when the hubby came down with the same stomach bug.

Thank God the bug somehow skipped me.  Maybe it had to do with keeping my hubby quarantined in our room for 48 hours?  Either way, today, I'm thankful for the health of my favorite boys. 

Be back to regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Food for the Cold

I've been a bit spoiled with this weather lately.  It certainly hasn't felt like winter.....until today, that is!  The forecasters have been calling for snow.....only 0.9 of an inch, but it's snow nonetheless.  I don't know about you, but I'm more than happy not to have any snow. 

I used to love, love, love the snow when I was a kid.  Snow days were the best!!  Now that I actually have to drive in the stuff though, I can state that no snow = happy me. 

So, when you have the chance of snow on the horizon, what is there to eat?  Some black bean soup, of course!

This was my first time ever making black bean soup and it was a complete success! I will warn you, though - it's spicy! I love spicy foods and even this recipe made my nose run a few times!

Black Bean Soup

(adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe)


cooking spray
1 medium onion chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 - 15oz cans black beans drained
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (for a bit of spice)
1 tsp ground cumin
16 oz chicken broth
15 oz can corn (drained)
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes - undrained (with green chilies or jalapeno peppers for more spice)


1. Spray small frying pan with cooking spray to sauté onion and garlic (about 5 min).

2. Add the following to blender: 1 can black beans, sauteed onion and garlic,  red pepper flakes, and cumin. Cover and puree for 30 seconds or until smooth.

Pour mixture into pot.

3. Puree second can of beans and broth until smooth. Add to pot.

4. Add the following to the pot: third can of beans (do not puree), tomatoes, and corn.

5. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower to medium heat and allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes.

1 cup = 3 points plus
1.5 cups = 4 points plus

This is exactly what I needed to bring some warmth into an otherwise chilly day.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite kind of soup?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let's Talk: Switchin' It Up

Happy Tuesday!

Gosh, it's amazing how quickly the weekend flies by, isn't it?  My weekend was pretty good.  On Sunday I went to a surprise 40th birthday party for my sister-in-law.  My husband's sister and I get along fairly well, but it was a tiny bit awkward because it was just a bunch of her friends, and I only knew one or two of them.  She had a great time though, and that's all that matters.

Can I vent for a minute?  The Weight Watchers PointsPlus Program is driving me insane.  Seriously - I should be committed.  I've been playing with the same 5 pounds for the better part of six months.  I literally broke down and cried to my husband when I weighed in on Saturday.  He was very supportive - telling me that I look great, but the thing is - this time around, it's not about seeing a number on the scale.  I just want to fit into my pre-pregnancy pants.  Is it a dream I should give up on?  Is it unrealistic?

I've had extensive conversations with my leader and the other receptionist I work with at Weight Watchers and I've tried pretty much every suggestion.  I've upped my veggie intake.  I've switched around what I eat.  I limited my carbs (which was so hard to do as an Italian! haha)  I've added in more exercise.  After much frustration, I've made the decision....I'm switchin it up.

This week, I'm going back to the Turn Around Program - the first one I did that led to my 70 pound weight loss.

I'm not sure if I'm eating too much fruit, but with this program, I'll track every piece of fruit I put into my mouth.  It's hard to remember some of the previous points values for things I eat but I'm starting to remember slowly but surely.

I asked my leader what she thought about going back to the old program and she said there was nothing wrong with giving it a try.  I'll be sure to report back next week and let you know how it goes. 

Question of the Day:
Has anyone experienced a stall in their weight loss?  Do you have any suggestions?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Other posts in the Let's Talk Series

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I'm in the comfort of my own home today.  The babysitter's mom had to go in for knee replacement surgery so I took the day off to spend with the little guy.  I love days off with the little guy, especially when they are in the middle of the week.   

So today, that's what I'm thankful for - a day off.  It's something so simple yet so amazing.

I'm not quite sure why the above picture applies, but I Googled "no work" and it came up.  I thought it was too funny not to share.

Hope you enjoy your day today!

Question of  the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie