Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 202 - Amazing Food at The Herb Farm

I enjoyed lunch today at The Herb Farm just outside of Seattle. We followed our amazing 5 course lunch with an afternoon trip to Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.

Wow. Just wow. 

But before any of this day began, I started with a bright and early workout.

Evidence of my early morning workout. Heart rate at 160 for the duration.

Raviolinis of roasted chanterells, verjued broccoli, cured pork belly, Oregon olive oil emulsion, chives, green broccoli sauce

Braised wild boletus mushroom, swiss chard, potato mille-feuille, roasted cippolini onion summer savory, boletus fois gras sauce

Grilled veal sirloin and braised collar, wild cauliflower mushrooms, pink banana pumpkin, cannelini bean puree, glazed fennel, English thyme jus.

Seckel pear poached with Douglas Fir tips, brandy snap tuile, wild candy cap mushroom mousse, hazelnut streusel, fir oil powder, sweet and sour maitake mushrooms

This was fantastic! If you are in the Seattle area and have an affinity for amazing fresh food- visit The Herb Farm.
I need to exercise more.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 201 - Seattle still

Evidence of my workout. My heart rate was 160-165. I'll be on longer tomorrow morn.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 200 - SEATTLE!!!

We have arrived in Seattle. We have spent the day wandering the streets here and have scoped out all of the wonderful food spots. And there are a ton! I figured out where the tiny fitness room is in our hotel (Vintage Park by Kimpton) and I'm excited to get in there in the morning and spend some time on the elliptical.

I'll share my food finds with you tomorrow as well as the details of my work out...

(and thank you to all who offered support and prayers... my visit to the hospital was not what I had hoped for, and it will take some time to get back to being myself. hopefully this 3 weeks with an amazing group of people will help ease the initial pain.)

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 199 - Plans and Results

I'm leaving late tonight for my 3 week trip to the Pacific northwest! SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited. We will be focusing on food, food systems and wines while there. I have an amazing group of people I'm traveling with and we have some great things planned for our down time including an oyster roast on the beach (Puget Sound). I'm especially looking forward to hanging out and exploring Pike Place in the heart of Seattle.

I will not be tracking my food while there, but like this summer while I was in Virginia Beach and B-Lo, I will be mindful of my choices and keep busy. I lost weight while on vacation this summer, so hopefully my eating and exercise plan for this trip will produce the same results! I'll be sharing daily the foods, wines and experiences we have there as well as my exercise regimen.

Today will start off tough, though. I will be back at the hospital first thing this morning for comparative tests for some answers about my recent health. It could be great, it could be awful. Please pray for great.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 198 - One of my favorite sites, pure happiness

I love Cakespy... Spend some time there laughing at baked goods and pastry finds.

Yes, laughter about yummy sweets. That's why I love them. : )



Day 198 - In Limbo

I'll be revisiting the hospital Friday morning.

I should have answers then. Being so up-in-the-air about things drives m crazy! I'm a bit of a control freak and I fully like to know everything about every situation that concerns me.

In the meantime, I'm existing in limbo. Not really here or there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ugh, what day is it?

I know. I know. I know.

Again with the pomegranates.

I was in the hospital last night till 3am. I sincerely apologize. This blog means a lot to me, and it feels awful to not be able to keep up with what I want to do. I will keep you all posted, and life should be ironed out somewhat after a second visit to the hospital tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Days 195 & 196

I am still not well...

And I completely forgot to post my awesome pomegranate clip (yes! I made a video!) for yesterday... so that one will be up tomorrow.

I am beside myself with trying to sew up loose ends with the final week of this semester and getting me and the fam prepared for my 3 weeks away. I CAN do it!

Stop by tomorrow. Pomegranates. Video clip (where my camera nearly perishes). Oh! And my new favorite herbal tea--a 2-for-1 type deal : )

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 194 - Weigh In Day... And A Few Highlights From The Week

A loss of  5.4 lbs. this week. I am not as thrilled as I would be under different circumstances. It wasn't a healthy loss. My body is in starvation mode and I know I've lost lean muscle tissue. My focus needs to be not only on eating well, but also getting in enough lean protein to keep my muscle tone. (However, if I'm able to maintain this and only lose fat from here on out, that means I'm only 37.6 lbs. away from my goal!)

Without going through it all again, my  'Big Confession' post will get you caught up as to why things have been rough lately.

Now for the week's highlights!

Walking through the halls at school, I came across a couple of friends who happen to be a couple. We said hello, and they continued walking just a few steps ahead of me. He turns around, slightly behind his girlfriend's back and whispers "You look amazing!"

MAN! That felt great.

I received a few other compliments along the way that just made my day. It was like floating on clouds : ) Nothing like having your hard work acknowledged and complimented.

Now to work on getting fully back on track.

(PM update... Last night I did make and eat the chicken fajitas that I posted yesterday. It felt forced, but I knew that putting something into my body might trigger hunger later. It did. By 3pm this afternoon I was searching the pantry looking to settle my hunger. It's the first time in 2 weeks that I've felt hungry.)

Tomorrow: The wonderful pomegranate and how I'm preparing for my 3 week food and wines trip out west.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 193 - Chicken Fajitas

I LOVE LOVE LOVE chicken fajitas.

I worked at a Mexican restaurant for 3 years and by far my favorite meal there was fresh grilled fajitas with made-to-order flour tortillas. Yum! I make these at home routinely because they are easy, delicious and a good round meal. I've made a few changes to the traditional offerings (I try not to use flour tortillas anymore... I opt for whole wheat tortillas, or I omit them all together and served the meat and veggies over a bed of quinoa).

Also, I'm not a a fan of marinade on the chicken, I kind of feel like its the American way to dress them up with more flavor, we never prepared them with anything other than salt, pepper and olive oil. I have included a great recipe for marinade below though, just for you : )


  • juice from one whole lime
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
Fajita Filling:
  • 2 chicken breasts marinated (with above recipe) and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Olive oil or safflower oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1. At least one hour before cooking, prepare the marinade and toss with the sliced chicken in a shallow dish. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

2. Slice the bell peppers and onion into 1/4 inch strips and set aside in a Ziplock Zip n' Steam bag (you'll need the large bags for this quantity of vegetables). Add 1 Tbsp. of water to the bag and place the bag in the microwave to cook once chicken is just about ready.

3. Heat a medium sized frying pan (cast iron works best) with a light coating of olive oil or safflower oil on the bottom (about 2 Tbsp) over medium high heat.

4. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and gently place each strip on the hot pan so it isn't touching any others. Don't move the chicken once it has hit the pan... you'll get a much better sear on the chicken and it develops a better flavor this way. Sprinkle the seasonings on the chicken wile it is in the pan. Using tongs flip the chicken once the bottom side has become a rich golden color.Cook each side this way, trying not to move them once the raw side has come into contact with the pan. Cook the chicken thoroughly (165 degrees according to food safety standards, but in small strips you can cut the thickest one in half to check that's it's fully cooked).

5. When you chicken is just about done, set the microwave to cook the peppers and onions for 4 minutes in the Zip 'n' Steam bag.

To Serve:
  • Whole Wheat tortillas or a 1/2 cup of prepared quinoa (need to plan ahead for quinoa, takes at least 30 minutes to cook on the stove top)
  • Fresh salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh made guacamole
  • shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Half of a lime to squeeze over the filled fajita - YUM!
I choose to pack the fajitas with lots of peppers and onions and I opt out of the refried beans and rice. The vegetables have more nutritional power with less calories than rice the starchy rice and beans (though this has been a hard adjustment for me, rice and beans were a staple for me for a long time).

For Weight Watchers Points Plus you'll need to calculate your points as per the amount of chicken you use and what kinds of serving items you use. I estimate *estimate* my style fajitas with my favorite toppings top be 7-8 PP each. They offer at least 2 servings of veggies and one serving heart healthy oil per fajita and lean protein.

(I'll update with a picture after dinner tonight!)
This recipe is adapted from Melissa Ray Davis to fit my taste preferences and dietary preferences. Check her out though, she makes great stuff!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 192 - Big Confessions

I have been sick for about 4 months; the last 4-5 weeks being worse. I battle this everyday, and most of the time I win. But it will always take it's turn having the better of me. I've come to realize this about my life, and I have found ways to fight it. But I will always fight it.

The difference now is that I have set myself up a new lifestyle, a healthful one, and this sickness is interfering to a detrimental degree. It's burning the vast landscape of good habits I've worked so hard to develop. I know better days will come again, and as always I have to ride out this storm.

But this journey has been about interacting in a positive way with food; about learning how to take care of my body. Now, I have no appetite. I've resisted food for the last 2 weeks (not completely, I wouldn't be here to write to you all). I have accumulated about 18-20 hours of sleep over the last 8 days. And because when it's here the illness rules, it's been difficult to break.

I'm trying hard, and I'm fighting. And I'll make it out, I know this about myself. It's why you haven't seen many recipes or dinner ideas in the last 2 weeks. I will commit to making something great for you by this weekend. Let's give it a deadline: before my Sunday weigh in post (which may be drastic again) I will have sent out some good food love.

In the meantime, I'm off to attempt to eat something. And sleep.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 191 - The Bigger Picture

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. 

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.  
Danny Kaye

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. 
Isaiah 40:31

Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.
D. Elton Trueblood

This may not seem like much--but being reflective and stepping back to see the bigger picture once in a while is necessary. It's easy to become tangled in the fine small web of details and intricacies and forget basic truths.

This post is dedicated to M., who touched my heart and set it ablaze. 
Grazie amore.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 190 - Ugh. Focus is Dwindling.

Not my focus on losing weight. Still good there.

My focus on doing it by creating a healthy lifestyle. I still haven't felt like eating, after almost 10 days. I am eating, but barely. To give you a picture of what I should be eating (point-wise) I am at 31 daily points with about 7 extra points for use. So we'll call it 38. And the required fruits and veggies are zero points...

I'm eating on average about 8 points per day. I'm not myself right now and I kind need to snap out of it. It's hard, though, when you have no appetite and food just isn't interesting.

However this headache that I have had all day (writing this Monday night) probably will motivate me to eat/drink more fairly soon. Hopefully.

(I told you it wouldn't all be pretty.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 189 - Celebrating Accomplishments

I used to celebrate everything with food. Everything.

Now that I have hit a number of milestones along my weight loss journey, I need to celebrate in other ways. Celebration of achievements is completely necessary- rewarding hard work makes continued commitment easier. But how to celebrate now?

Yesterday I took myself out for a girls day of shopping. I had thought of getting a cute pair of cherry red pumps for hitting the 50 lb. mark a few weeks ago. But one of my more recent posts became a bigger inspiration...

A day trip to Victoria's Secret and Lord & Taylor was in order. I never, never, never shop at these places. They are far too pricey for me. Which is why it made a great treat. It used to be chocolate. Or a lavish dinner. To be honest, those things aren't appetizing to me anymore, and I like it that way. Eye candy and accessories are far better indulgences than real candy.

Find those treats that you wouldn't usually spoil yourself with... and when you accomplish something you set out to do, don't be afraid to reward yourself. You worked hard, you deserve it! (now go get those heels!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 188 - Sundried Tomato Breakfast Burrito

Last week was rough. I didn't eat as much as I should have, and yesterday (the first day of the new week) I had a hard time getting back to eating enough. So I've decided that to help combat this lack of points in my overall diet right now, I'm going to have to focus on higher-point meals featuring point-dense foods. I did well with my good healthy guidelines (GHGs) yesterday, and that will be the other focus of my meals this week.

Let's begin with breakfast... I loved this burrito, but I'm a sucker for anything Mexican any time of the day. I used the Flatout Light Sundried Tomato wraps for this and they were great. This burrito, as written below, provides 2 servings veggies, 1 serving heart healthy oil, and lean protein.

Sundried Tomato Breakfast Burrito

  •  1 Flatout Wrap (Light Sundried Tomato)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg 
  • 1 Tbsp. skim milk
  • 1 tsp Safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 cup Escabeche style salsa
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1/8 cup shredded Mexican style cheese

  1. Chop peppers and slice tomatoes, set aside.
  2. Separate two eggs, reserving the whites, and beat them together with the one whole egg and skim milk.
  3. Heat the safflower oil in a medium frying pan over medium high heat.
  4. Cook peppers and tomatoes till they begin to brown on the surface.
  5. Add the beaten egg and milk mixture and scramble them in the pan with the peppers and tomatoes. Add slat and pepper to taste.
  6. Once eggs are fully cooked, remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the cheese over top to melt.
  7. Slide the eggs and melted cheese on to a wrap and roll it up.
  8. Dip in salsa and sour cream and enjoy!
This is a 9 PP item for Weight Watcher's. I would usually have coffee with a serving of milk with this and a large banana or strawberries on the side to get more GHGs in. This will hold your hunger over for a while, and is well balanced among the food groups.

Tomorrow: Some fun!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 187 - Weigh In Day... And some other stats

Another 5.6 lbs. down this week! But I must admit that it was not a very healthful week, and part of it is a rebound from the prior low-loss week. (See last Sunday's weigh in post). I've felt off all week and am prepared to eat properly again beginning today. I also am prepared for the scale to possibly not be so friendly to me next Sunday.

But for now, HAPPY DANCE!!!

All together I've lost 39.95 inches overall and 57 lbs.
My hips (butt) and thighs have slimmed the fastest and most... I was surprised by the butt--I thought that would give me the most resistance. But now I have a cute backside : ) You should have seen it yesterday in that new pair of jeans... I was tempted to take a picture for you all, but I thought it might be odd.

Next stop- lookin' hot...

Tomorrow: Breakfast Burritos with a sun-dried tomato wrap. Yum.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 186 - Not Eating Does Not Help Weight Loss

I've been feeling a little off this week. Many reasons, none of which should have kept me from eating what I need to daily, but that's what happened. I need a much better plan for the next two weeks--they will set my habits on the right track leading up to my departure for a 3 week trip out west to eat and drink my way through Seattle and Portland.

There have been at least 4 days this week that I haven't eaten all of my points (Weight Watcher's).

GHGs (good healthy guidelines)? What are those?

And my tracking my food... well that was painstaking.

We'll see what the scale gives me tomorrow. Stop by to see.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 185 - Boobs

Yes. Boobs.
We all think about them: girls--because we have them; guys--well, that's kind of obvious.

But their presence here is a bit different. They had a part in me not making an effort to lose weight. (Oh the things we do for boobs, girls and guys alike.)

How so, you might ask? Please step inside my head...

I'm not, how shall we say, 'well endowed' in the bust department. I looked forward to pregnancy, where women's boobs generally fill out delightfully... yeah, not mine. What does any of this have to do with weight loss? When women lose weight, they tend to lose the fat in their chest, too, meaning a trip to Vicki's for a new (smaller) size.

It may seem ridiculous, but these are genuine concerns that women have when facing weight loss. A friend of mine voiced this concern when she was contemplating lap-band surgery. Think about it: lose weight (good), get a much hotter body (great), lose your boobs (scary as all get out). We want to look and feel better--as well as be healthier--but we risk losing something that identifies our sex and our femininity. Don't get me wrong, boobs aren't everything about a woman, but they are a significant part of us, of our bodies.

This crossed my mind. But, and I am glad to report, my boobs have stayed strong : ) They have remained stoic as ever, and now they appear slightly bigger because I am significantly smaller. So much so that a girl friend of mine noticed and complimented them. (Yes, gentlemen. Girls do this. It's kind of like a right of passage in a friendship, you know you're solid if you can appreciate each others boobs.)

So, ladies, I understand your worries. I had them myself. They are not odd concerns, or out of the ordinary. They are valid and honest. But you should not let them define what you want for yourself or your health. They may defy the odds and the scale (like mine). ; )

(I was going to add an image here, but my better senses decided against it...sorry guys.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 184 - Ginger Honey Glazed Carrots

Vveeeths ah shooooooo goot! (That's me talking with my mouth full)

Translation: These are sooooooooo good!

I had an abandoned bunch of baby carrots in my fridge. They looked so forlorn and longing for happiness... Happiness that could only be found with my condiments and spices as accessories.

I searched through my pantry. I searched my spice cabinet. And I debated which flavors I was in the mood for. My original attempt was delish. But my second go around that was meant for photos and my blog (as well as my grumbling tummy) took a seemingly innocent turn, and was transformed! The citrus zest at the end is what makes this dish spectacular. The brightness of the citrus zest, the richness of the carrots and honey, and bold flavored ginger dance in unison on you tongue when they're all brought together. This will definitely be on my Thanksgiving menu this year.

Ginger Honey Glazed Carrots

  • 2 cups baby carrots (or large carrots sliced to 1/2 inch thick)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp orange or lemon zest
You'll also need a Ziplock Zip'n'Steam bag or your favorite steaming method (the bags take 3 minutes to cook the carrots...wonderful time saver) and a non-stick pan spray.

1. Place your two cups of carrots into your Zip'n'Steam bag and cook according to directions.
Let the carrots cool a bit, or they will liquify the honey.

2. Spray your Tbsp measuring spoon lightly with the non-stick spray and measure the honey directly on to carrots while they are still in the bag.

3. Add the ginger, reseal the bag and shake it around a bit.

4. Sprinkle the salt and the zest just before serving.

Serves 4 as a side dish (or just one depending on how hungry you are).
For Weight Watcher's - 1 Point Plus per serving (at four servings)

Tomorrow: Boobs. Yup, boobs.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 183 - Toasted Brie and Apples

I love Brie. It's one of my favorite cheeses.
Soft, supple, delicate and understated.
It is a great cheese to serve at parties with a cheese tray, or just to treat yourself once in a while.
This is one of many way to enjoy it (and use more of those apples!).

Toasted Brie with Apples and Plum Riesling Jam
1. Cut the Flatout Foldit into quarters, lay them on a piece of foil and toast them in a convection oven or toaster at 375 degrees for 5 minutes. This makes them nice and crisp. Alternately you can skip this step by by using your favorite whole wheat/whole grain crackers instead of the Foldit.

2. Slice your apple to a slightly less than 1/4 inch thick and lay slices on the toast/crackers.

3. Slice the log of Brie into 1/4 inch thick slices and lay them atop the apple.

4. Toast them in an oven/convection oven at 375 degrees for 5 minutes, until Brie begins to melt.

5. Let cool for 2 minutes then top with the plum Riesling jam.

I also added some concord grapes to my plate to create two full servings of fruit. This is a wonderful mid-afternoon snack that is easy and fancy : )  For Weight Watcher's it is 4 Points Plus if you use the Light Brie, 5 Points Plus if you use the regular. But what a wow for 4-5 points and a great snack!

Tomorrow: Honey Ginger Glazed Baby Carrots

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 182 - Commitment vs. Motivation

To quote one of my fellow boardies from Weight Watcher's:
I go to work because I like my paycheck, 
if I went when I was motivated to do so I would be fired by Wednesday.
I follow WW because I like the results--the motivation comes and goes; 
on the days its gone, the results still speak for themselves.
~Queen Trish
I visited the doctor the other day and he wanted to discuss how I've been doing on my 'diet'... I immediately
corrected him and told him that I am not dieting-- I'm changing my lifestyle. He asked how that was going
and if I've been able to continue my journey. I told him that since I last saw him I had dropped another
20 lbs. for a total of 51 lbs. He was rather shocked. He asked how I do it with all the little things in life that
I am committed to. My answer:
"When I decide I want something, I dig my heels in
and I don't give up till I get what I want."  
This is me in a nut shell. It's a fault in other aspects of life (ask my hubby who has learned that I rarely accept
'no' for an answer to anything). But this attitude speaks more to commitment than to motivation.
I was motivated originally by the number 250 mockingly glaring at me from the bathroom scale.
I am no longer motivated in that way. But daily I wake up with a commitment to seeing my journey through
and permanently changing my lifestyle. Some days I just don't feel like doing it. Motivation? Try
ANTI-motivation. But the commitment is always there.
No matter what it is in life, commitment will get you through, not motivation. And I think the problem for me in
the past (and probably a problem for many people trying to lose weight) is that motivation cannot be counted
on to carry you through. It wears off very quickly, like dollar store lipstick. (I've never worn dollar store
lipstick, just making an assumption.)
I'll get off my soapbox now : )
Tomorrow- A simple way to get more Brie into your mouth diet. My newest indulgence.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 181 - Concord Gin Fizzy

I love Concord grapes this time of the year. In and around New York state you can find them in proliferation, as we are one of the biggest producers of this grape in the northeast. (BTW they only grow in NY and New England... never knew that till a few months ago.)

Growing up, my grandfather had a walkway to his backyard Garden of Eden with a rich Concord grape vine draping overhead. I loved these grapes. And because of how I ate them, I fondly referred to them as 'sucky grapes'. Why? Becasue I put the stem end just onto my lips, squeezed the grape and sucked the insides out. I never ate the skins. So now even my boys call them sucky grapes : )

Being at The Culinary Institute of America we learn a lot about maximizing the use of all of your food products. Trim and scraps can always be used somehow. So I'm always thinking of way to utilize what's left of the fruits and vegetables I serve at home. This is what I came up with for the discarded though flavor packed Concord grape skins. (Just a hint... only make this for yourself. You'll see why.)

Concord Gin Fizzy
  • One bottle of Ginger Ale (I use diet)
  • 1 8oz drinking glass
  • 1/2 cup of Concord Grapes
  • a few ice cubes
Eat your grapes first, but reserve the skins. Drop them right into the glass. Put a few ice cubes on top of the grape skins. Pour your ginger ale to cover. To feel extra fancy, you could shake it if you have a drink shaker, it would probably aerate the pop* and the skins really well and infuse more flavor. You can strain it if you like, but I leave mine in.

This may be on the verge of weird. I'm ok with that, 'cause this was delish! The ginger and grape mix very well together. This would probably work well with a clear pop*, too.

*pop = soda where I hail from. Representing Buffalo where we call it pop... and a few other mid-west regions that use the proper terminology : ) 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 180 - Weigh In, Apple Sauce and Apple Butter

First, my confessional:  I had a bad week.
I thought I was just self-sabotaging after last weeks amazing milestones.
I ate without tracking on Saturday. First time I've ever done that... and the food I chose to eat and not track? Yeah. Cheetos, meatball parm sub, more Cheetos, tortilla chips, apple butter, apple empanada. Ugh. 
Turns out (sorry gentlemen) I had Aunt Flo visiting. I haven't had a visit from her since last November (no worries, it's normal for me) and I forgot how I get when she's here. I become positively exhausted for the first few days, and have cravings that rule my life at the beginning. Yesterday was much better. I was in control, able to eat the way I have re-taught myself over the last 26 weeks and felt fine about it, with no monstrous cravings. I'm a woman. What can I say? ; )

That said, I did lose 0.4 lbs this week. I may possibly be bloated and I may have a bigger dip in the scale next week, but for how I felt about a few days this week, I simply wanted to stay below 200. So I'm good. Let's get moving again....

And as I promised, my recipes for apple sauce and apple butter. I used this apple butter in the Apple Empanada in yesterday's post.

Home Made Apple Sauce 
I don't use sugar in my apple sauce, I think fresh fall apples
have plenty of natural fructose sugars in them and regular sugar
just corrupts the beautiful  fresh taste. And I feel better
about giving it to my boys without any added sugar.

  • 6 cups of peeled, cored and chopped apples
  • 1 cup natural apple cider
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • water to cover

1. Peel, core and chop your apples into evenly sized pieces, the smaller they are cut, the faster they will cook. But if you're like me and prefer a slightly chunky applesauce, leave 'em bigger. Place the apple chunks into the cooking pot. I use a big Dutch oven, I like the even heat distribution and it's just neat.

2. Add a cinnamon stick, the ground cinnamon and apple cider to the pot. Add enough water to cover the apples.

3. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer. Allow it to simmer covered until the apples have begun to break down and are mushy. Stir periodically.

4. Once the sauce is to the consistency you like, remove the cover and allow to simmer until it has thickened.

5. Remove the cinnamon stick and enjoy a cup full while it's still warm! This is my favorite way to eat home-made apple sauce, still slightly warm from the pot with another dash of ground cinnamon on top : )

But if you want to make apple butter....

Apple Butter
  • reserve 2 cups of home made apple sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 2 Tbsps. packed light brown sugar
Place all ingredients into a small 1- 1.5 quart sauce pot over medium low heat. Cook to reduce until it is half the volume you started with. Don't stir... It makes a mess, you'll get splattered with molten hot apple sauce and you'll reincorporate the water that you're trying to cook out. Resist the urge! It's important for this reason to keep it at low heat, so you don't scorch the bottom.

Tomorrow: Concord Gin Fizzy. My own creation. And, it's time to find a new mini-goal...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 179 - Autumn Apple Empanada

We still have TONS of apples from our apple picking outing last weekend. And since I had today off from school I decided to play with them and some pie dough. I will eventually bake an actual apple pie, how could I not? But I was looking for something a bit smaller and more unique. So this is what I came up with!

 Apple Empanada
  • 1 pre-made package of pie dough (or your favorite home made recipe, enough for 2 - 9inch rounds)
  • 2-3 large apples
  • 1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup Apple Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 egg (beaten for egg wash)
  1. Preheat oven according to package/recipe directions. Prepare a cookie sheet with a non-stick mat or a piece of aluminum foil lightly oiled.
  2. Peel, core and dice your apples. Larger chunks are better, and they don't need to be uniform. I like to go with a kind of rustic, rough chop.
  3. Place turbinado sugar into a small sauce pot and add water to just cover the sugar. Place over high heat. The sugar will need to cook until it becomes a caramel. It will boil rapidly, letting go of a lot of steam, then it will being to slow. Don not stir. Once it becomes a rich amber color, and the bubbles have slowed, remove from the heat and immediately add your apples and stir to coat. Add your cornstarch and stir well. Stir in the apple butter; set aside to cool.
  4. Lay out your pie dough on your prepared cookie tray. With a pastry brush (or a paper towel dipped in the egg wash) apply a ring of egg wash around the outer edge of the dough. Place a small 3 inch circle of egg wash in the center of the dough as well.
  5. Spoon the apple mixture in a ring between the two areas of egg wash.
  6. Place the other pie dough atop and press along all of the egg wash to seal. Turn the outer edges up and crimp with your fingers or with a fork.
  7. Score the center of the pie dough with 4 even marks.
  8. Egg wash the entire empanada.
  9. Pull the points of dough into the pastry from the center, pressing them to the body of the empanada to secure them. allow the egg wash to dry. Once dry apply a second healthy coat of egg wash and sprinkle the top with sugar.
  10. Bake until a rich golden brown color, rotating the tray once during baking.
  11. Remove from the oven and try not to dig in right away (you'll burn your mouth).

Slice once it is cool. Makes 12 yummy portions. For Weight Watcher's this is 5 points per slice (at 12 slices per empanada and using my home-made apple buttter).

This is a great morning or afternoon treat : )

Tomorrow: Weigh In day (which may be scary this week... I've had two really bad days this week) and I'll share my apple butter recipe with you! It is what I used in this recipe.

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