Thursday, September 30, 2010

Deep Dish Mexican Pizza AND... A Way to Burn it Off!!!

Well, let's get the exercise part over with, because there's no way it's as much fun to talk about as this deep dish pizza... (Here's a little preview.  YUMMM.)

So, tonight I learned a way to burn more calories in your group fitness classes... Get on the FRONT ROW!  Now, I am not a back row gal when I am taking a class.  I can't stand when I can't see the instructor.  But I also don't get on the front row.  (Weird, huh?  The front doesn't bother me if I am teaching, but if I am a participant, I am more a second-row girl.)  Well, tonight, my "usual spot" was gone.  (How territorial are we?!)  So, I ended up on the front row.  Let me tell you... it made me work so much harder!  I guess I need to move on up to the front more often.  I know I worked harder than I have been working. 

This morning, I had two delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  (No pictures this time... for some reason they did not turn out as pretty as they did last time.) 

I had a wrap and Baked! chips for lunch from my school cafeteria. 

I have been doing so great drinking my water this week. 

I'm doing a two-day lesson on clouds this week.  I've learned a lot more about clouds that I didn't know.  This afternoon, the clouds were really cool-looking, so I ran out with my new camera lenses and snapped some shots to show the kids tomorrow.  I used my wide-angle lens for these pictures.  The wide angle just allows you to get more of the scene in the picture.

Do you know what kind of clouds these are?
a.  cumulus
b.  stratus
c.  cirrus

Before this week, I couldn't have told you.  But now I know!  The answer will come tomorrow!

I taught Zumba after school, and then headed to Zumba at the Y.  After all that, I headed to Weight Watchers.  I was REALLY hoping for a loss this week.  Last week I didn't lose, and this week I gained 0.2 pounds!  UGH!!!!!!  Can you feel my frustration?  I am trying to remind myself that slow and steady wins the race, but I am getting tired of being the tortoise in this race!

Anyway, on to the pizza. 

This is a twist on a Weight Watchers recipe I got a long time ago.  I put a little Mexican twist on it.

"Deep Dish Mexican Pizza"

1 roll of refrigerated pizza crust dough
2 cans diced tomatoes with chili seasoning
1 lb. lean or extra lean ground beef
1 cup of reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish lightly with cooking spray.  Then, unroll the pizza dough and press into the bottom of the dish and up the sides (creating the "deep dish").  Once oven is preheated, pop the dough in for about 5 minutes, just to cook the bottom a little.  Brown the meat and drain the fat.  Add in the diced tomatoes.  I also added in some spices here-- just some cumin, chili powder, and some Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy Hot.  (No exact measurements here-- just whatever you like)  Using a slotted spoon, spoon the meat and tomato mixture into the partially-baked crust.  (Using a slotted spoon will keep some of the juice in the pan, keeping your pizza from becoming mushy.)  Top the meat mixture with the shredded cheese.  Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until crust is browned and cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

The points for this are around 6-7 per slice, and there are 6 HEARTY slices here.  (Remember, it's DEEP DISH!) 

Adding a glass of vino makes it even better, by the way! :)

It's Friday-Eve!  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Lenses for my Camera! Yay!

So, it's Wednesday... our busiest night of the week.  When I arrived home today I had a fun surprise waiting for me on the porch!  My new camera lenses!  YAY!  I have been so excited about this.  It was raining a good bit tonight, so I didn't get many pics outside, but here are a few I liked...

I used my new Macro lens to take those.  That lens is the one I like best.  It's the one that lets you zoom in really close but then blur the background. 

I haven't tried the others out much, but I am looking forward to seeing what kind of pics I can take with my wide-angle and the telephoto. 

Stay tuned!

I just finished baking a new batch of pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins.  They smell so good.  I am going to go enjoy one now and watch some TV with the hubs. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mint... How Refreshing!

Look at what a wonderful co-worker brought me this morning!

Love this picture of the mint!

My very own mint plant!  Now, you know that I have said before that herbs just seem to die on me, but I’ve heard that it is really hard to kill mint.  So I am going to give it a try.  I use so much mint that the cost of buying it all the time was getting too high.  Hopefully growing my own will help.

Now, I mainly use mint to make infused water.  I love ice water with lemon and mint!  It looks so pretty in the glass and tastes so refreshing!  Plus, it helps to naturally detox your body!  (And who doesn’t need that?)  I also like to use mint as a garnish on desserts, too, or on yogurt parfaits. 

After I got my mint plant, I decided to Google mint and see what other uses there are for this herb. 

I found some great information on mint from HealthMad site.  According to HealthMad, here are some uses for mint:

·  Boil few mint leaves in milk; add sugar to it and drink it when you have stomachache

·  Apply mint juice to acne every night and wash it with cold water early in the morning. This remedy works for dry skin also.

·  Add some salt to mint decoction and gargle with it to get relief from sore throat.

·  Apply mint juice on skin affected by Eczema, Scabies and Dermatitis

·  Mix 5 teaspoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons honey in a ¼ cup mint juice to get relief from acidity, thread worms and Diarrhea.

·  Mint tea relieves from menstrual cramps and heavy menstruation

·  According to traditional medicine mint is a contraceptive. Taking ½ teaspoon mint powder with water 10 minutes before intercourse prevents pregnancy. (NOT SURE I BELIEVE THIS ONE!)

·  Taking mint juice at night before going to bed induces restful sleep

·  Taking mint tea half an hour before meals stimulates appetite

·  Infusion made with mint leaves is useful for cold, flu, hiccups and flatulence

·  Keep your breath fresh by chewing some mint leaves

·  Mint cures from dog bites, scorpion and beestings

·  Mint has excellent wound healing properties

·  Infusion of mint is good for hypertonic diseases, atherosclerosis, and kidney and liver diseases

Read more:

Now, some of these, I am not so sure about… I’d want to know some of their sources.  But it’s interesting reading!

Now, for the food...

This morning, I had a yogurt parfait for breakfast! 

I used Dannon Light n Fit Vanilla Yogurt, fresh raspberries, and some Fiber One Cereal.  I had these convenient little packets of Fiber One from the Get Your Rear In Gear 5K Run (raises money for colon cancer and other diseases of the colon).  Yum!  The raspberries made it tangy and the FO added some crunch. 

Lunch was a bunch of random stuff from the fridge thrown into baggies.  Cheese slice, some pastrami, turkey, an apple... not very satisfying.  I'll have to do better tomorrow.

Tonight I taught Zumba at church!  I had a GREAT group of participants, many of which were new to Zumba! 

Now, I am finally home and having a late (easy) dinner.

I took leftovers from our pork tenderloin and made a sandwich.  (And the round bread makes yet ANOTHER appearance!)   I sliced up some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and a fresh peach to go with it.  And then I saw some cinnamon applesauce in the fridge, and I thought, yummm... that sounds good!  So I am having a bit of a random dinner, too.

I am really looking forward to dessert-- a yummy chocolate ice cream cup.  These were on sale at Harris Teeter this week for $1.50!  That's a HUGE deal!  So I grabbed a few for desserts this week.  This ice cream is a great treat!

I was thinking about making more pumpkin muffins, but I think I am just too tired... maybe tomorrow? 

Stay tuned for progress on the mint plant... I put it in its home this afternoon... hoping it makes it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

How Do You Select Wine?

Today, I was at the grocery store on the wine aisle, looking for a new bottle to try.  I'm not a big drinker, but I do like to try new wines.  However, my criteria for choosing a bottle is not very sophisticated.  I'm not looking at a certain year or location.  Instead, here's what I am thinking...

Which bottle has an interesting label?  (Once, I bought Red Truck wine because I liked the picture of the truck.)
Which one have I never tried? (Today I bought Earthwise Wine just because I'd never heard of it.)
What has an interesting name? (This is the only reason I ever bought Fat Bastard wine.)
What's under $10?

So, as you can see, my criteria is not very discerning.  No wine snobs in this house!

Before I got pregnant, Ryan and I had started going to tastings and trying to learn about different kinds of wine.  I like going to tastings because they can tell you what you are tasting.  Somehow without that expert, I just don't know WHAT I am tasting. 

Lately, I have been stuck on the reds-- mostly Pinot Noirs, with an occasional Cabernet.  I like Pinot because it is the lightest of the red wines.  One I have been buying lately is Redwood Creek.  I REALLY like this one. 

So today, as I was looking for fun labels and names, I stumbled on Earth Wise Cabernet.  It was $5.99 at Harris Teeter.  So the price was great!

I actually really like it!  Not bad for $5.99!  If I knew some wine language, I would try to describe it to you... It says on the label that it has cherries and blackberries.  Maybe I can taste the blackberries.  It's more full-bodied than I usually like, but tonight I thought it was pretty good.  Earth Wise claims to use environmentally sound practices, so this is supposed to be a "green" wine.  Now, I am not sure what their "environmentally friendly practices" are, so I can't tell you if this is for sure.  But I bet it helps it to sell!

So... how do YOU select wine?  What's your favorite?  I am curious to hear some responses on this one.

Today, Sadie was sick, so Ryan stayed home and made pork tenderloin for dinner.  It was sooooo tender-- practically fell apart when I sliced it. 

Here's how he made it:

Season with salt, lime pepper (we find this at Sam's), and Emeril's Original Essence.  Place in the crock pot and splash with white wine (about 1/4 cup).  Cook on low heat 6-8 hours, or until cooked all the way through. 

We served it over potatoes with green french onion green beans. 

My camera battery was dying, so these pics did not turn out that great.  It tasted better than these pictures show.

Tomorrow is my Zumba Demo at Oakland Baptist Church!  Come and join us for some Zumba!  See the details on the side of my page.  Now, I've got to make sure my playlist is ready!  I am looking forward to this fun night!

Oh-- and I ordered my new camera lenses!  I am so excited to see what I can do with them.  They should be here later this week!  YAY!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rainy Sunday... Sandwiches, Turkey Burgers, and more!

So, did you guess that we went to...

last night?  If you did, then you were right!  We went with our friends Wendy and Kevin! 

On a ride waiting for take-off (about 5 minutes after this pic was taken, Ryan lost his hat!)

Wendy and Kevin

The hubby and me

How cute is this pic of Wendy and Kevin on Thunder Road?

We had lots of fun riding roller coasters at night, and seeing ghosts, goblins, and more jump out at all the guests!  (We LOVED watching the guy with the chainsaw scare everyone!)

This morning started with a fried egg, more fresh peach slices, and the last piece of the Morningstar "sausage".  Guess I need to restock!  I love fried eggs.  I love to poke the yolk and let all the yellow run all over the plate!  (Did I gross you out?)  My grandmother used to always cook "Sunny Side Up Eggs" for us in the morning.  It was always my favorite. 

Then Ryan tried to get the grass cut and bushes trimmed before the rain came.  We've really been needing the rain!  Ryan finished just in time.  Meanwhile, I did some much needed grocery shopping.

We had lunch with Ryan's family-- sandwiches!  I am telling you, I don't know how we survived before these round sandwich breads hit the shelves!  It's all we eat!  They are only one point!  (You may see them again today, as a matter of fact!)

I had to run some errands this afternoon-- Best Buy, Target, and I couldn't resist making a quick stop at Starbucks on the way home.  Can you guess what I got?  I bet you can...

A Pumpkin Spice Latte!  YUMMMMM!  It tasted so great with the weather being cooler and gray today.  Much more fall-like!

For dinner, we had some quick turkey burgers and some cheesy broccoli rice.  I LOVE these steamer bags of veggies.  I don't use them all the time, but they are awesome when you just don't feel like cooking. 

These turkey burgers were on sale about 2 weeks ago.  They were already formed into patties.  All I did was season both sides and cook them in a skilley for about 5-6 minutes on each side.  They were delicious!  I topped mine with lettuce, tomato, muenster cheese, a little light mayo, and some ketchup. 

Remember how I said this week I was going to have to do better about drinking water?  Well, I am doing better today!  I stocked up on lemons and mint.  This makes it taste so refreshing.  I've already packed lemon slices and mint leaves for work tomorrow!  Sometimes I like to make a whole pitcher of it, but I really like the lemon slices and mint leaves in the glass because it looks so pretty.  I think when it LOOKS refreshing, it makes you want to drink more of it. 

I do have an experiment baking in the oven... a peach crisp!  We'll see how it comes out... Hopefully yummy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Fun

It felt like the weekend might never get here, didn't it?  There was a full moon this week, and I think a lot of us felt it. 

I love Saturdays! 

This morning I had my usual... egg and cheese sandwich on a toasted Arnold whole grain sandwich round, a Morningstar "sausage patty" and a fresh sliced peach!  It is going to be sad when these peaches are gone.

Then we got dressed and headed to the Bush n Vine Pumpkin Festival!  Some of us got our faces painted...

and tried out the hay maze...

and painted a pumpkin!

We wanted to go on a hay ride, but Sadie got a little tired and was ready to head home.  It was a little hot, too!  Wouldn't you know... tomorrow the high is like 75 degrees... Today it was close to 95.  Maybe fall is truly coming...

Tonight, we are going out on a date with some friends.  We are going somewhere fun... but kinda scary... any guesses???

Friday, September 24, 2010

Peaches, Pears, and Pluots... Oh My!

Do you ever take your lunch to work and then when it's time for lunch, you are like... NOPE.  DON'T WANT THAT.  Well, that it what happened to me today.  I had taken leftovers, but instead I went and got one of those wraps from the cafeteria.  This one wasn't as good as the one last time, mainly because it didn't have much lettuce.  Maybe they ran out?  It was still good and still full of pickles, which was yummy.  I am so glad we have Baked! chips in our school cafeteria instead of the fattening ones.  And the apples looked so pretty I grabbed one of those, too.  Maybe every Friday I will get one of these wraps.  I still haven't asked about the fat content... I am kind of scared to.  I know it had mayo on it.

My goal of trying new things this week has been on a hiatus since Tuesday.  So today after school, I loaded up the munchkin and took her to the farmer's market.  I thought surely we could find something to try there.  And we did!

My shopping helper
We found pluots!  I have seen these in the grocery store before, but never tried them because I wasn't sure what they were.  As it turns out, it's a cross between a plum and an apricot.  They are really sweet and very juicy like a plum!  I have always loved plums in the summer months. 

Sadie and I tried the pluot when we got home and we both agree that they are delicious!

I don't know what we are going to have for dinner tonight... I will have to go scavenge the fridge...

Hard Rock Chicken Noodle Soup and Easy Apple Cake!

Another busy day has passed…

It was a great day at school.  I taught Zumba after school and then I went to Zumba with Katie right afterwards.  I led “Sacudelo” again!  Yay for Zumba!  What a great way to wind down the week…

Then I went for a weigh-in at Weight Watchers… and gained .8 of a pound.  UGH.  I think I really have got to get back to drinking my water.  I KNOW I feel differently when I drink the water faithfully.  I have not filled up my Bubba Keg all week!  I am thinking about making lemon-mint water all next week.  It tastes so good (so I drink a lot of it) and then I feel so refreshed.  Plus, it looks pretty in the glass.  This weekend, I am going to buy some.  You’ll see it next week.

Last night I had a fabulous dinner with some great friends!  Kate made “Hard Rock CafĂ© Chicken Noodle Soup.”  It was sooooo delicious!  Sometimes you forget how good actual homemade soup is.  Thank you Kate!  And it tasted even better than it looks in these pictures. 
Kate's pretty tablescape...

Hard Rock Chicken Noodle Soup!  What a treat!
As I look at these pictures, I am wishing I could have it for breakfast!

Angie and Mandy

Elizabeth, Kate, and Moi!  (By the way, Kate is having a baby boy in just over a month!  Doesn't she look GREAT!)

 Remember how I was making that dessert for our girls’ night?  Well, it turned out to be a great fall treat.  It was “Super Duper Easy Apple Cake.”  I found this recipe on  It was submitted by Cindy.

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and finely diced

Directions: Prepare cake mix according to package directions for a 10 inch tube pan.  (I used a bundt pan.) Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla extract, then fold in the chopped apples. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

The apples get soft and and bake right into the cake.  This cake SMELLS amazing, too.  I think you could probably add more apples to it.  And I am also wondering if you could add pumpkin to it for a really nice fall treat.  I may try that...

My apple cake.  (Pics came out kinda dark...)

More apple cake

I served it with cool whip on the side.  If you have it, whipped cream would be better, or homemade whipped cream is even better, maybe with a little cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in, but I didn’t have time to make it myself. 

I am so excited that today is Friday!  I just stopped on the way to work this morning and grabbed a pumpkin latte from Dunkin Donuts.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  But it wasn’t as good as Starbucks!  So I will be hitting up Starbucks this weekend.

We have some fun things planned for the weekend!  Stay tuned!  And Happy Friday!!!