Search & Win

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I'm soo in trouble.

Yesterday as Will and I went into the YMCA child care area. I went to put Will's bag on the ledge where we always put it, so that Will can get his snack... I turn around to see Will giving a little girl named Abigail a hug... Yep.. MY BOY went and gave a little girl a hug, then walked into the kid area... Made me smile and sad all at the same time.

Abigail is his "girlfriend" and if you ask Will if he likes Abigail, he gets this big ole smile on his face and shakes his head yeah....

He's only 2 and already has a girlfriend... I'm not ready for him to be growing up this fast.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cajun Smoke Turkey

How do you say no to this face.... It's hard. It's funny how his eyes are more grey today than they are blue.
Our turkey and green beans, along with our side salad.

Just to be blunt. The Turkey Didn't disappoint. From the above photo I'm not sure if you can tell the juices that were in the turkey when I was cutting it.

We injected it with a Creole "butter" sauce that my mom had given us a while back.... Then Michael put it on the smoker and let it go for about 3 1/2 hours. After about an hour on the smoker, the wind was apparently blowing the smell towards the air intake on the air conditioner because everytime the A/C turned on, we would get a nice fresh waft of the turkey cooking.

The green beans were frozen, so I put them in some water to boil for a few minutes, then just saute'd them in 1 tbsp butter and garlic, with a little bit of pepper and cajun seasoning on them. They were perfect!! And our side salad with croutons (we are having a lot of salads with all the free croutons). Perfect light, summer meal!

The great things about getting a Turkey Breast. You only get the white meat, and cooked right, it's just as juicy and flavorful as the dark meat. Without the dark meat calories.
They are smaller than having to buy a whole turkey.... This 1 Turkey breast (bone in) is going to be enough for 3 dinners for us. And I can mix it up into different things.
When you can find them on sale they are AWESOME. We bought these I think right after Christmas, got a great sale on them and have had them in our deep freeze, finally using the last one today. I think this whole Turkey breast was 6 dollars. Meaning that if you divide up the amount of meals for 2 people, it's only 1 dollar a serving.... NOT TO BAD huh.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

We may need to pass the BEANO.

Ok, not really, but you decided to find out what the heck I was talking about huh....

At my Weight Watchers meeting my leader Vicki (who is Awesome). Made this recipe and brought it in, I know what your thinking.. bringing food to a center for weight loss, defeats the point, but not this week, it was all about trying new things. Our meeting is at lunch time too, so we got to sample this dish, and my first thought was OOOHHH Michael is going to LOVES this... then I proceeded to finish off my 1/3 cup of it. It was delicious and surprising easy and filling. It's Bean Soup, it's simple flavors work so perfectly together to make this dish. I'm so glad that we have leftovers of it. I will be having it tomorrow too!!

Bean Soup (WW 3 pts a cup)

1 medium onion, diced
32 oz. Fat free chicken broth
1- 15 ounce can Black beans, drained
1- 11 ounce can Green Giant Mexicorn with peppers
1- 7.25 ounce can Rotel (I used the original)
1 cup Salsa (I used Pace Chunky, because that's what we had)
1/2 cup uncooked minute rice (I used Jasmine rice and it actually gave it a little more flavor)

Drain beans and Mexicorn. Mix all ingredients in a pot except rice. Simmer 45 minutes on stovetop. Add rice, simmer another 10 minutes.

*Since I used Jasmine rice, I actually added it at the 35 minute mark, and let it cook a little longer, since the Jasmine rice takes a little longer than the minute rice.

We topped it with 2 Tbsp's Shredded Cheddar cheese, and 1 fat free sour cream. These 2 are a must.

That's it, that's all we had for dinner, and I am actually stuffed. I doubt we will actually need the Beano, b/c it's only black beans but you never know, right?

Hope everyone has a great weekend!! I'm not sure what's on our menu for tomorrow, but it's gonna be GOOD... I just know it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Smell of Louisiana is in the air.

Can you tell I'm obsessed with the Cajun and Creole Encyclopedia yet?
Yeah. Go figure.
Tonight we had on the menu Shrimp Etouffee. I'm not sure if I messed it up by adding too much water, or if it was supposed to be more "soupy". Either way it was good. The one thing I wasn't expecting was it calls for Sherry. I opened the bottle of Sherry cooking wine, and out wafted a reminder of my grandmother who passed away almost 6 years ago. Bless her heart, she always had her coffee cups with "tea"... but we all knew that smell. It made me stop for a minute and realize that it has been that long and that I miss her, always going garage sale-ing, her love of Hardees Hot ham and cheese sandwiches, love of Scrabble and CSPAN. Seeing pictures of her twin that lives in South Dakota still tugs at my heart. But I know we had her for a long time, and must cherish those memories. Funny how certain smells bring back such vivid memories.

Shrimp Etouffee (ww 2pts per cup)
Makes 8 servings

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 stick of butter (I used light, I know it seems like a lot, but the roux needs it)
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1-15 0z can diced tomatoes, no salt added
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1- 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
8 cups water
1/8 cup Sherry
1 cup Sliced green onions
1/2 cup Parsley
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
2 cups Steamed Rice
Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste

In a Deep stock pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, peppers, tomatoes, garlic & Bay leaves. Saute 3-5 minutes or until veggies are soft. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly to make a white roux (white paste). Blend in shrimp and tomato sauce into mixture, cook 5 minutes, stirring to prevent the tomato sauce from scorching. Slowly add water until a sauce-like consistency. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Sherry, green onions and parsley. Cook 5 minutes then season with salt and cayenne. Serve over steamed rice with a few dashes of hot sauce.

We served it with 1 serving of brown rice for each of us.
Making the whole meal 8 WW pts. And we had a side salad, because if you haven't heard we have a TON of croutons. *smiles*. I love free croutons!!

There is also an appetizer recipe that my friend Amy C. had at her daughters birthday party that I have to share. This dip may sound "weird" but I promise you, make it 1 time, take it to a party, and see if you come home with any.... It just won't happen. Now I'm not going to figure out the points, because frankly I just don't want to scare you.. but it's good for taking somewhere, where you won't have to eat the whole thing by yourself. Thanks Again Amy C.!!!

Parmesan Onion Dip
2 Cups Parmesan cheese
2 cups Vidalia Onion (or sweet onion) diced
2 cups Mayo

Mix together, and pour into a PAM sprayed 9x13 dish (or casserole dish). Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Serve with crackers.

It is super simple!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Funny Will.

Tonight Michael had a soccer game, so we went out to watch.. Couldn't resist 70 degrees, no humidity. So Will being a typical toddler boy.... got filthy. ran around in circles, met 2 new little girls who were ADORABLE. Michael's team won 2-0. Yeah!!
We get home and Will is picking up his toys before bathtime (yes he does this every night). Michael is upstairs starting his bath water and the dialogue went something like this.

Me: Will pick up your cars, so you can go take a bath.
Will: Dimo? (He usually gets a dinosaur gummy after picking up toys)
Me: No, just pick up the cars.
Michael (from upstairs): Will are you ready for a bath
Will (without hesitating): No, I'm all clean....

I couldn't help but laugh.. Because he was filthy and in no condition to go to bed that gross, and 2 he's never said that before.

Funny Will.

Couponing= Great deals!!!

A few people have asked how I save money on couponing. First I have to give credit to Frugal Coupon living. She has taught me SOO much about how to get the best deal, and how to get free stuff in general. With that said, this is what I do.

Saturday or Sunday morning, I look on Sunday Coupon Preview to see what coupons are in the paper for the week, to decide if buying the paper is worth it, or if I should get multiple papers. Then I only clip the coupons that I will use, no sense in saving the coupons that I won't use, or I send them oversees to Military bases around the world (I'll explain that in a little bit).
Then I go to
afullcup.com (this one requires you to sign up, but it's free, so you aren't out anything)

Then Target.com at the bottom of their homepage has a link to go to coupons. Some are manufacturer and some are Target coupons.

Following me?? Yes... Ok. Now here's the awesome part.

Publix grocery store, here in Huntsville, will take Manufacturer coupons and Competitor Coupons for the same item. So ideally you could use 2 coupons for 1 item= big savings.
Publix also does B1G1 Free deals (that start new every Wednesday) that you can either buy 1 and pay half price or buy 2 and pay the regular price. Now if you buy 2 then you can still use 2 manufacturer coupons because you are still technically buying 2 items, just at 1/2 price.
Publix will also double any coupon up to 50 cents automatically.

As I mentioned before you can send your expired coupons oversees to military bases and military families can use them up to 6 months past their expiration date. So what is trash to you, now becomes savings for them. All it costs you is the postage to send it over there. I have received a few thank you cards from the families that get them, thanking me for taking the time to send them. Makes me smile to know someone else is able to benefit.
Addresses and info on expired coupons.

So here are a few of my good deals I got this week from Publix.

Kellogg's Cereal (normal price $3.99 a box)= 31.92
BIGI Free mean that I got each box for $2.00 = 15.96 (saving 15.96)
Then I had 4 coupns for 1.oo off when you buy 2 boxes = 11.96 (saving $4.00)
So for the 8 boxes I spent 11.96 and Saved 19.96

Croutons (normal price $1.59)
On sale for $.99 (savings $.60)
6 Coupons for $.50, which publix doubles= $6.00
So for the 6 packages of croutons I actually MADE .06 cents!!

Men's Deoterant (normal price 3.99)
BIGI mean I got each one for 1.99= 5.97 (savings 5.97)
I had 1 coupon for 3.00 off when you buy 2 and 1 coupon for 1.50 off 1= 4.50 Savings
Meaning I spent 1.50 on 3 deoterants (.50 cents each)

Ken's Salad Dressings (normal price 3.29)
Publix sale BIGI free means 4= 6.56 (Saving me 6.56)
I had a 2 coupons for B1G1 Free (that I can use b/c I'm still buying 4) = Saving me 6.56 meaning I just got 4 FREE
Then I also had 2 coupons for $1.00 off so I MADE $2.00 on the salad dressings.

Special K Protein Bars
on Sale 2/10 dollars.
Target had a store coupon for $1.00 off when you buy 2
and I had a manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off 2.
And since you can use both. I got 2 boxes of protein bars for 8 dollars. Saving me $1.00 a box.

And always check your mail, b/c when Kroger and other grocery stores send out their booklets. Some contain $5.00 off if you spend 30-50 dollars. And Publix will take those too!!! So that is 5 dollars instant savings!!!

At Publix today
I spent 62.95
Saved: $ 83.70
I love coupons!
So do I have you competely confused yet???
Just ask me questions, and I will either tell you the answer or find it for you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Homemade Chinese

Since we started cooking at home, we have tried to find new recipes and cuisines to attempt. Chinese chicken and broccoli was the first I attempted. I googled this recipe and decided to try this. It has not let me down yet. We've made this at least a dozen times. A few times I have over-steamed the broccoli, but not tonight, it was so good... and when I talk about 1 serving... the picture shows how much 1 serving is... It ends up a LOT of food (because I use extra broccoli and throw in some onions and carrots). Adds Volume, but not to my waistline!!

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli (makes 2 servings total)
(WW pts. for 1 serving: 9 pts)
2 Chicken Breasts, cubed
1 large egg white
1 tbsp cornstarch
Broccoli cut to florets (off the bigger stem)
Carrots and onions sliced thin
1/2 cup water
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
Enough Canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan

2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce (asian aisle)
2 Tbsp Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Water
1 tsp sugar

Cut chicken. In a bowl mix egg white and 1 tbsp cornstarch. Place chicken in egg white mixture and refrigerate covered for 30 minutes.
Preheat Pan or Wok (if you have one) with oil. Steam veggies in Steamer bag (told you guys I used it a lot). Add Chicken to heated oil in 2 batches. Cook chicken just until it turns golden brown, then remove and drain on a paper towel.

Remove ALL but 2 Tablespoons of oil from the pan. Add crushed garlic and steamed veggies to pan. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and cook 4-5 minutes. Add chicken. Mix Sauce together, then add to the pan of veggies and chicken.
Then mix the 1 tsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp of water together and add to the sauce in the pan to thicken it.

Serve over rice. (We used the Uncle Bens 90 second rice tonight, but I usually do Jasmine Rice. It adds amazing flavor to the dish, just takes a little longer).

Monday, May 17, 2010

28 Cars and leftover Pork Tenderloin...

Dinner Tonight: Leftovers
We had a Smithfield marinated pork tenderloin that I got on sale a few months ago... So we pulled it out a few days ago and cooked it according to it's instructions (45 minutes in the oven). No Prep, Little mess... I can handle that. The best part, is that we had 1/2 the tenderloin left so we saved it for a whole other dinner. Then I made the Chinese Green beans that I've made before (upon Michael's request) and of course we had to have 2 veggies, so I choose Broccoli in a light Cheese sauce from the wonderful people at Green Giant.
In the end, It was a total of 6 WW pts. for the whole meal.

When Will knows I'm starting dinner he knows to go to his drawer of plate/bowls/cups/kitchen stuff... and he picks out his plate and cup that he wants to eat off of. You may be thinking. wow that kid is spoiled... but I'm gonna be honest. If letting a 2 year old pick out his plate and he will eat his peas and corn... Then go ahead. He does this for all his meals. If he wants cereal in the morning he picks out a bowl, if he wants pancakes (frozen Aunt Jemima Mini Pancakes) then he gets a plate.
And Yes, his shirt does say MESSY... fits him to a Tee.

I know when kids are young they do have the OCD tendencies, but at what age is it not considered normal child behavior... The reason I ask is that I came up to where Will was playing in the living room and looked down to see this.
28 Cars ALL lined up... ALL facing the same direction. Yes, I sat there and counted them. I was actually impressed, then a little worried... but shortly after I took the photo he decided to play Godzilla and use his foot to throw them in about 18 different directions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's just that good.

So I need no photos for tonight's dinner... Because we had it last week...

Yep we had the Eggplant Parmesan AGAIN. This time I made more so we have LEFTOVERS!!! It was just as good as it was last week, maybe more, because I put some extra jalapenos in it. I sit here with the parmesan flavor still in my mouth and smile.

This is how good this Eggplant Parmesan is... This week on my weekly shopping trip, I went to The Home Depot and bought 2 Eggplant Plants, to plant in our garden, so that we can hopefully grow some Eggplants to make this dish.. I know, sad right.....

Which I guess I should let you in on a little secret. I kill plants, not on purpose, but after my whole Banana tree when I was younger incident, in which I watered that stupid plant and checked multiple times a day to see whether or not a banana was growing. One never did. Now I'm not sure if it was out of pity or just funny, but my mom took a banana out of the fridge (so it was cold) and stuck it on the tree one morning... So I get up and got all excited because THERE WAS A BANANA... soo cruel mom, by the way. Of course in my excitement I never even stopped to notice that the "newly grown" banana was cold... duh. So after that whole disappointment I have had the innate ability to kill plants.

So last year Michael wanted to start a little garden, I agreed, I thought hey, if I've got a partner in crime maybe he can save the plants... nope, we never got a single Tomato, and we got 1 HOT pepper, which burnt the ever loving tip of my tongue, OH and 1 green pepper. So he wanted to do a bigger one this year.. yeah that's all I need to add a whole other list of plants that I killed onto my rap sheet. The only difference this year, I water the plants, that's been it. I'm afraid to kill them. But we do have 10 Tomato plants, 5 squash, 5 Zuchinni, 1 Cantaloupe, 2 Bell Pepper AND NOW 2 Eggplant... and their actually living, and growing... I think I may have found my green thumb... in my husband!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hamburger Stroganoff.

It's not a gourmet dinner, but I never said all our dinners were going to be gourmet. It was good, and I changed the original recipe to add some more vegetables to it. All in all it's a keeper, especially for a quick dinner.

Hamburger Stroganoff
(make 4 servings WW pts: 9 a serving)

1 lb. Lean ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package mushroom sliced
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. Light butter
1 Tbsp Pepper
2 Tbsp Fat free Sour cream
1 cup frozen peas
4 ounces Whole wheat spaghetti noodles

In a pan, saute mushrooms, until they are wilted. Remove from pan and set aside, in same pan brown hamburger and drain. Mix in Mushroom soup, mushrooms, milk, butter, pepper, sour cream and peas. Cook on medium-medium low while noodles cook.

Cook noodles according to package directions, then add to hamburger. Mix and then remove from heat. Serve immediately.

It did end up being a little higher in points, but was really a filling meal and pretty cheap to make.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Almost to the finish line.

For the friends that I have that don't have kids, or their kids are younger than my 2 year old Will. Teething is a long and painful process. I know your thinking to yourself DUH, Colleen.

But yesterday (Mother's Day), I can almost see a finish line. Will has finally had 2 of his 2 year molars pop through. Which means that he has 2 more teeth to come and he's done, no more teething pain... at least for a while, right? Through the last 26 months I do have to give him credit, teething stinks, but he has always been a trooper. For that I am thankful and I know it. I know some of my friends have had the horror stories of the fevers and the rashes from the drool and of course the irritability. While Will had some of these, they were survivable. So now we have 2 teeth left. Wooohooo!!!

Also for dinner tonight we had BST (Bacon, Spinach and Tomato) Sandwiches... We were out of regular iceburg lettuce, so instead of going to buy a whole head, we just used the spinach. Now for anyone who likes bacon and hasn't tried it... TRY Smithfield Bacon, it thick, and when cooked it gets crunchy, but not crumbly.. It's hard to explain without trying it, but JEEZ it's delicious. Of course with our BST's I made the sweet potato fries that are a staple in this house. Apparently they were appetizing tonight, seeing as I got up from the table to get something, and I look back and Will is stealing some off my plate. For a picky eater, who won't most normal foods, he was stealing mine like they were going out of style. But you know what, I let him have them, because if that's the worst that my kid wants to steal off my plate, a few vegetables... I think I gotta be doing something right!!!

Tomorrow: Beef Stroganoff... Colleen's style!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's day.

Mother's day is here, and while I don't like a big fuss made over me (most of the time), I will always love when my William comes over to me and gives me a hug and says Luv Momma... Hands down, best mother's day present.

My sweet husband, who encourages me in my weight loss journey... "helped" Will pick out a iTunes giftcard. So now I can put some new music on my iPod for my workouts!!! Such the perfect gift for me! Michael also agreed to go and try and get a few photos of us as a family so that we an actually have family portraits of the 3 of us... And as you can tell by my header... I GOT ONE.. just one. But you know what, how rare is it that you can get 2 adults and a Toddler looking at the camera and smiling AT THE SAME TIME... for us not to often. So that one is getting blown up and hung on the wall. Special thanks to my tripod and camera remote! Wouldn't have gotten that shot without it!!

So to all the mom's out there. Happy Mother's day. The sacrifice that you put your body through to have a child is amazing, the patience that you learn from dealing with your own child when they are being difficult often goes unthanked. But one day I hope that I can look at a grown up Will and see that all of the trouble and late nights, doctor visits have paid off and that we raised a good kid.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Religion.

No it's not what your wondering. I'm still Methodist. But I do think there needs to be a new religion based on the Encylopedia of Creole and Cajun cooking. Because it just keeps getting better and better. Seriously, between the meals that my friend Amy (owner of said cookbook) and I have made, I have yet to have ANYTHING, that wasn't melt in your mouth, unbutton your pants delicious....

Tonight we made Eggplant Parmesan.... it should be renamed to melt in your mouth Parmesan.

For the sauce, I made my own sauce like I usually do.
I used
1-15 ounce can tomato sauce
1-15 ounce can diced Tomatoes (no salt added)
Rosemary, Oregano, garlic powder.

I added all these to a small sauce pan and let it cook on medium while I cooked the eggplant.

Eggplant Parmesan (makes 6-8 servings)
2 Large eggplant
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese
Olive oil
1 cup diced onion (1 md onion worked fine)
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 diced jalapenos
1/2 cup chopped basil
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Cut Eggplant into 12-14 slices (1/2 inch thick). In a large saute pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom to brown the eggplant. In a shallow dish mix flour, rosemary and pepper with a fork, then dredge eggplant in seasoned flour. Shaking off excess flour. Saute 4-5 slices at a time, until golden brown on each side. After cooking all the eggplant in same fashion, dump the oil, and add new oil (1 tsp olive oil). Add onion, garlic and jalapeno. Saute a few minutes, then add the tomato sauce that you've been cooking into this pan. Season with pepper and salt if you need to, I didn't need any salt.

In a 9x13 pan place eggplant and spoon even amounts of the sauce over the eggplant, and then generously sprinkle parmesan cheese and bake until the cheese is completely melted.

*Here are the changes that I made:
1) I used less parmesan and added some reduced fat Mozzerella.
2) I made 1/2 a serving of spaghetti noodles for each of us.

Without the noodles it came to 7WW points.
With the 1/2 serving of whole wheat noodles it was 8WW pts.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2 Steps forward, 1 step back...


That pretty much sums up today. We apparently had too much fun this weekend... or the scale has a cruel sense of humor... I had been making such great strides in my weight loss. But after this weekend of yummy cake, mexican, ice cream... 1.6 lbs showed back up. DOH.

So now it's time to jump back on the wagon, and get this 1.6 + the rest of the 35 lbs off.... It will be gone...

Oh and I now have to take Will to the doctor tomorrow because he has some sort of rash. I'm guessing it's a heat rash, but he is scratching and saying "Ow, hair"... So the doctor wants to check him out.

Taco's for dinner!!! One of my Weight watcher girls, told me about the Ortega Whole grain corn hard-shells and how good they are. So we are gave the hard shell tacos a try. Not usually my favorite, but every now and again they are worth a try, for hard shell they weren't bad at 1 pt. a piece. But I'm still a sucker for a soft tortilla... Sorry I scarfed them down before getting a photo. maybe next time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fun Weekend.

Before I say anything else. Please admire this rose. The colors in it were magnificent. My mom has such a green thumb.

Now onto the fun stuff. We had such a fun weekend. Sad it's over.

I am loving Michael's every other Friday's off. We get to do stuff as a family and not have to worry about all the normal weekend errands. Like this weekend was one of his Fridays off, we went to Auburn. My friend from High school Mary, got married (FINALLY)... just kidding. But she was one of the last to get married, and joked for years how she was going to be alone... well she found James, and they are just the cutest couple.

We packed up the car and headed to Auburn. We took Will to my mom's office. She took him on the rounds to say hi to everyone and to get to show him off. Some of the people there have watched me grow up... So now it's kinda neat for them to get to see Will too.

Shopping was checked off our list. Playing as well. Despite the weird weather, luckily it didn't rain on Saturday for Mary's wedding. My mom watched Will while we went to the reception, and while I was getting ready, noticed that I forgot to pack my dress shoes. So on the way to the reception we had to make a pit stop at a shoe store for me to run in and buy a cute pair of sandals. Then we got to spend 3-4 hours Will-free, and got to catch up with some friends. All the while we were chatting I didn't get a photo of us with Mary in her beautiful dress.

Got to admit it, my dress didn't photograph very well. Thought it made me look skinnier than the picture was showing.. Oh well. I felt pretty in it anyways.
Me, Stephanie (in orange) and Erin!
Michael and Me (if you couldn't figure that out)
Will and my mom. Which one is smitten more??

Riding his bike that we brought. He is a Wildman on that bike.