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No Thanks to Cake: 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Just Read: Silver Girl

Oh, my lovely readers, I've just finished another book that I adored.

The book chronicles the new life of Meredith Delinn, wife of a conniving businessman who stole billions of dollars from his business investors via a ponzi scheme.  Meredith is left with nothing.  Her husband is in jail and she's not allowed to contact her family, per the feds.  We follow her new life as she navigates through her feelings for her husband, detaches from her life of luxury, and figures out what really matters.  She goes from a position of being the most hated woman on Nantucket Island to being a woman who's ready to tackle the next chapter of her life.

I LOVE LOVED this book and was literally disappointed when I got to the last page.  Wait!  Not because I didn't like it, but because it was over!  Before I read this, I knew NOTHING about ponzi schemes, except that it was a terrible thing I saw in the news a while back.  The book isn't really about finances, of course.  It's more about relationships between friends, family, and significant others.

You may remember my previous mention of The Island (also by Hilderbrand) which I enjoyed completely.  I think what I love is the author's ability to create a character.  I found myself so attached to both Meredith and her high school best friend Connie after just a few pages.  I quickly became so invested in knowing how their story ended and wanting to hear that they figured it all out.  I love it when a book can do that!

Definitely (highly) recommend this one. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Surprisingly Good Burger

As soon as I got back to Colorado, I hit SuperTarget to get some veggies and whatnot.  

Keep in mind, I didn't buy this... but since when did they sell Red Velvet Chocolate Milk???

As you can tell, I was still craving bad food from my weekend in Ohio.  And, I kinda wanted a burger.  I knew that I couldn't continue eating like this... so, I thought I'd try something new.


I recognize that I'm probably the last person in America to try the Boca Burger, but I reaaaaalllly like them.  I was in Target a few weeks ago and tried a sample of the burger and was pleasantly surprised!  The sampling lady suggested that I try the Flame-Grilled version for best flavor, and that's exactly what I picked up!

I defrosted the burger in the microwave and then cooked it on my grill pan.  I'd love to try it on the grill, but it's chilly out tonight so that will have to wait for another night!

I also toasted a Wonder Bread 80 Calorie Whole Wheat Bun on the grill pan.  When the burger was done, I added some ketchup and onions.  SO DELISH!

I paired this delicious dinner with a really yummy garden salad.  Have you tried Marzetti's Light Balsalmic salad dressing?  It's 50 calories for 2 Tbsp and is found in the refrigerated dressing section.  TRY IT!

I ate this burger on Saturday and Sunday nights and could seriously eat it again tonight if I wasn't on the road.  200 calories for the burger and bun.  Such a tasty dinner!  I definitely recommend it!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

New Recipe: Veggie Appetizer Pizza

When my brother called to tell my aunt that there was an additional 5 people that would be coming to Thanksgiving dinner, he asked what we could bring.  My aunt told him not to worry about bringing anything, that she was just happy to have us.  Keep in mind, she was hosting more than 15 people for dinner on Thursday!!

That being said, Beth and I decided that we just had to come up with something to bring.  Because there's not much you can make at the Holiday Inn, we swung by my grandfather's house early to whip up some appetizers.

Beth chose to make Sausage Balls, which is always a crowd favorite.  My choice was an attempt to bring something healthy and impressive - - My favorite Veggie Appetizer Pizza!

Because we were strapped for time, I bought one of those veggie bags that has cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots in it.  Beth spotted it in the store - - Brilliant!  I also bought some scallions and a tomato to add a little more color.

Veggie Appetizer Pizza
Makes 24 pieces

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream 
2 cans Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls
1 packet dressing mix - Ranch or Italian

For the Toppings
Use a combination of any or all of the following:
Yellow Pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll both cans of dough; separate dough into 4 long rectangles and connect them into a sheet. In ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan, place dough; press in bottom and up sides to form crust.

Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In small bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, and dressing mix until smooth.  Spread over crust. Top with chopped vegetables.

Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before serving. Cut into 3 columns and 4 rows.  Cut each square on the diagonal to create pizza-like wedges.


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Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Survived Thanksgiving!

I had SUCH a great few days in Ohio.  Last time I visited Ohio, it was for my grandmother's funeral two and a half years ago.  I can't even tell you how nice it was to be home.

As my previous post mentioned, I was a little nervous about traveling on the BUSIEST TRAVEL DAY OF THE YEAR.  I was able to easily get on the earlier flight on Wednesday, and then I arrived at the airport to find this.

Denver International Airport Security - The Day Before Thanksgiving?
The airport was a GHOST TOWN.  It was almost eery how quiet it was.  Of course, this was not a complaint.  I'd gladly take extra quiet time at the airport!

I got into my hometown at about 8pm.  Just in time to visit with my brother and sister-in-law and to peek in at the kiddos who had already passed out for the night.  We had adjoining rooms at the hotel, and that was just one of many perks.  Seriously, this Holiday Inn Express was NICE.  Happy hour, snacks, a huge breakfast... Super nice!

The days that followed were full of smiles and laughter.  We had quite the feast at my aunt's house on Thursday, and I got to see most of my cousins, aunts, and uncles.  While I had (in jest) mentioned that I was hoping for food I didn't like, everything was so delicious with all of my ol' favorites.

My aunt made Gram's famous cinnamon dinner rolls - - Yum-O!
What proved to be the most tempting items at Thanksgiving were the appetizers Beth and I made to take with us.  We didn't want to show up empty handed, so we whipped up some of our favorite snacks.  And, we ate quite a few of them, too!  EEKS!

Beth's Contribution - Sausage Balls
My Contribution - Vegetable Pizza (Recipe to Follow)
The only thing missing from the festivities was my Dad and his wife Joanne, and of course, my Grandma.  This was the first family event I'd gone to that she wasn't present.  She's definitely missed.  My Grandpa said several times this weekend that he knew she was smiling down on us.  I have to believe that to be the case.

A Quick Family Pic - - Didn't realize that I'm only taller than my Aunt Joann and the kids until I saw this!
For those of you who live in Ohio/PA... I'll also share that we went Kraynak's.  Growing up in NE Ohio, visiting Kraynak's was an annual event.  Actually, we went twice a year... Santa's Workshop in the winter and Easter Bunny Lane in the spring.  It's a Christmas tree wonderland + crazy toy store.  

Waiting in line to see the holiday displays
Needless to say, I have lots of memories at this place from years past.  It was fun to share it with my niece and nephew and to see their eyes light up at the rows and rows of trees.  Keep in mind, their eyes were not as bright when we snuck out the door without heading into the toy departments and escaped without bags in hand!

A peek at the displays they have at Santa's Workshop - - Awesome!
Overall, the weekend was awesome.  I'm so glad I got to spend some quality time with my grandpa this weekend.  He's been lonely since my grandma died, so it's nice to see him and to keep him company.  It also makes it hard to leave.  

As for eating, since that is what NTTC is about.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I ate too much.  There was pizza and mashed potatoes.  There was sausage balls and cookies from the front desk.  This morning, I woke up and my first thought was of the biscuits and gravy I wouldn't be having today. When you wake up thinking about biscuits and gravy, you know you're off track. 

Side note:  Interestingly, I entered my bad breakfast choices into MyFitnessPal to find out that the cinnamon rolls at Holiday Inn Express are MUCH worse for you than the biscuit and sausage gravy.  Perhaps, not the horrible choice (comparatively) I thought it to be, but THREE days of biscuits and gravy never is the best decision

Snuggling up with the little ones...
One thing that went really well was my Thanksgiving plate.  1/2 veggies + 1/4 protein + 1/4 carbs, I did that!  The appetizers aside, it was a pretty smooth day!

For the weekend as a whole, I made some poor choices.  BUT, it was just THREE days!  As soon as I got home, I've been back on track.  Today's calories came in at slightly less than 1200 calories.  That's a success!  My weight was up this morning, but I know a lot of it was salt.  I plan to use the rest of the week to get back on track.

I survived and had a wonderful weekend!  Four weeks until Christmas - - Time to start thinking about my survival plan for that crazy holiday.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

I didn't mention it in yesterday's post, but I have major food anxiety.  I skipped Thanksgiving last year.  I ate a Jenny Craig meal and completely avoided temptation.  

This year, I'm going to be right in the middle of it all!  And, I've been thinking about it all week long.

We call this baby GBC.  Likely my all-time fave.
This much comfort food all together in the same place honestly scares me.  I haven't been around this much food all at once in a LONG time.  One thing that will work to my advantage is that I'm not used to dining at my aunt's house.  Maybe her specialties are not the ones that I'm craving used to.  That would honestly help.  

I worry if I'm not careful, I'll end up doing the backfloat in these yummy fluffy spuds.
For example:  I'd love to see a big vat of sweet potatoes and maybe a squash casserole.  And maybe she puts oysters or sausage in the stuffing!  My grandma used to surprise us with grapes in there.  That would help me too.  Keep in mind, I know people LOOOOVE these types of things, but for picky girl (me), it would increase my ability to resist significantly, as would a pumpkin pie only dessert option.  Fingers are crossed!!!   

My grandma used to make magic dinner rolls though, and I know my aunt knows how to make them.  They could be there... I'll have to be on guard for those.  They were these fantastical cinnamon sugar rolls.  My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Another dangerous dish - Although, my fave is the stuffing Beth and I make...
I've considered eating something about an hour before dinner.  Maybe a salad or something light.  That way, I'm not showing up hungry.  That could definitely be a winning strategy.  

I've definitely considered drinking A LOT of water before and during.  This I plan to do with no problem executing it.  This one will be key to my success.

After that, my plan is to do 1/2 a plate of veggies, 1/4 white meat turkey, and 1/4 starches.  No seconds, but slow enjoyable bites of what I get to eat.  It should look something like this.

I can do this.

And.... Let's say things don't go 100% to plan.  I have my gym clothes packed and ready to go.  I can hit the workout room at the hotel to burn some calories, and when I get back to Denver on Saturday, I know my friends at the YMCA will be waiting for me too.  

One meal does not ruin me.  Thanksgiving does not own me, nor do those tasty mashed potatoes and that yummy, yummy gravy.  Based upon my game plan for Thursday's feast, the score has been set:

Kelly: 1, Thanksgiving: 0

Let's do this!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Craziest Travel Day of the Year

I'm traveling tomorrow.  I imagine that DIA will look something like this.  Sigh...

I'm planning to wear white.  Can you see me?  
I originally booked myself on a night flight into Akron/Canton, but I'm going to try to stand by on the earlier flight tomorrow at 2pm.  If I'm traveling halfway across the country, the least I could do was arrive early enough to smooch on these two precious angels!!

H2 & H1
Fingers crossed, I'll get on the earlier flight.  Otherwise, I'm landing in my homeland at midnight.  Yawn.

This crazy travel day is for the crazies, not for the seasoned traveler.  This seasoned traveler has reservations for parking, will be there early, and will have lunch/snacks in my bag to avoid the crowded gift shops and restaurants.  I'll also be watching the show... there's always a show on the day before Thanksgiving.

If you're traveling tomorrow and you want just one tip, ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT EARLY.  It's going to be a madhouse.  If you're late, you'll be stressed.  If you're late and rushed, you might be frowning all day.  And, if you're frowning a lot, you might be one of those (literally) pushy people that no one likes in the airport.  Getting there early will make all the difference.  I promise.

Now, I know what you're thinking... you noticed I casually mentioned Akron/Canton, but you're thinking why in the heck am I going there??  Well, my amazing grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins all live in Ohio and we're heading there for the family Thanksgiving-fest!  It's probably been 20 years since I've been home for a family Thanksgiving and I'm well overdue.  (And, the fact that it's been that long makes me feel REALLY old.)

I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone, and my bro, sis-in-law, and the kiddos are making the trek from Virginia as well. 

Wherever you are spending Thanksgiving, may it be with those you love.  Travel safe, and take your time.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

New Recipe: Sinful Peanut Butter Tagalong Trifles

My entire family loves PEANUT BUTTER.  Well, just about the whole family does.  I think either my niece or my nephew doesn't eat it... but I literally don't believe it.  

When I see them this week, and I'll find out which one it is.  Then, I'll try to influence their young, impressionable minds!  Or maybe we'll leave them with Ol' Gramps for some proper training!

My grandfather eats peanut butter on everything.  Literally everything.  Dinner rolls, pancakes, doughnuts, coffee cake, italian bread with spaghetti (yep!).  There's nothing he's eaten that he says doesn't taste a little better with a little PB.  My grandma even used to buy peanut butter by the BUCKET to keep him stocked up on his favorite spread.  Now, that's PB LOVE.

Of course, he taught us to love it, too.  Meaning that toasty, gooey peanut butter sandwiches have always been my favorite and that pancakes with peanut butter and syrup make my mouth water just thinking about it.  I do leave the PB on bread with spaghetti to him though... that's a little much for this girl.

Cutting PB out of my life and replacing it with PB2 has been challenging, but I've found a way to make it work.  In order for me to lose the weight I have and the weight I have left, peanut butter has become a super-special indulgence, instead of an everyday food group. When I find a recipe like this though, I have no choice but to break out the big guns and splurge on a jar of Peter Pan and try it.  

When I saw that this recipe called for a homemade peanut butter mousse and Tagalong girl scout cookies (AKA Peanut Butter Patties if you're from Ohio like me), I knew I was in.  AND... I was hosting dinner at my house for some friends with birthdays.  They NEEDED something special, right?? 

To keep myself in check, I made them into mini-parfait desserts using the super-cute tasting glasses I found at Pier One.  Just the right size glasses, and they come with tiny spoons, too.  Too cute!

Now, I warned you yesterday that today's recipe wouldn't be JC friendly.  Jenny, look away!  Just look away!

Without further ado, I bring you my new favorite dessert.  Try it at your own risk... it's amazing.

Peanut Butter Tagalong Trifles
Adapted from My Baking Addiction via Pinterest
Makes 4 mini parfaits


For the Peanut Butter Mousse
4 oz. 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup reduced fat creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup plus one Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream

For the Trifle Layers
4 Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies or these, chopped
Hershey's Hot Fudge Sauce
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream plus 1 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar, whipped


For the Peanut Butter Mousse:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream until combined and fluffy - - About 3 minutes.

To Assemble the Peanut Butter Trifles
Place about 1/2 tagalong per parfait in the bottom of the glass.  Pipe or spoon in a layer of peanut butter mousse.  Add a layer of fudge sauce and repeat layers.  Top with whipped cream and finish with chopped Tagalong cookies.


Note #1:  These trifles are best enjoyed the same day they are made.

Note #2:  I recommend disposing of any of the ingredients you can't trust yourself around.  While I know there are starving children in America, I know that they don't need these sweet treats either.  Not pictured in the trash because it was trembling beneath the Oreos:  A jar of Reduced Fat Peter Pan Peanut Butter.  It had to go, too.

I also made this second mini-dessert, so as to offer my guests some options.  Delish as well.  This one was a little bit healthier, and involved the Oreos pictured above.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend Update

What an AWESOME weekend.  I swear, I feel so lucky most days.  And, even luckier to have a short week this week!

On Friday night, I finally did something I've been talking about for a WEEK. I JOINED A GYM!!!!   I know that as I move into Chapter 2, I'm going to need to get this body moving.  Especially, as I look to maintenance.

So, how often have I gone?  Well, I've gone for the past THREE days in a row!  Woo hoo!  My goal is to start by going THREE times every single week.  I think it's a fair first goal.  We'll see where it goes from there!

Also of note, I hit 10,000 steps on my Fitbit all weekend long! 

After my morning trip to the Y (doesn't that sound great??) I spent the rest of my day planning for a dinner party!  I had several of my close friends over this weekend to celebrate birthdays.  I love a great excuse to cook and make something tasty.  For this dinner, I made chicken, steak, and veggie kabobs.  We paired that with a tasty salad and a veggie tray appetizer.  Delish!

My friends are so nice and supportive of my healthier lifestyle.  They get that eating healthy is what I need, and that it's probably better for all!

We did have a fun wine this weekend I thought to share.  Since it was the big BREAKING DAWN weekend (no, I haven't seen it yet), one of my friends picked up a bottle of Vampire Cabernet.  

I took a pic of the label, but I loved the cork to the Vampire cab more.
Seriously, it was really good!  If you have any sort of True Blood or Twilight party coming up...  pick some up!

I also got creative with desserts with a little something that involved these guys... Stay tuned.  

Pier 1 has such cute mini stuff!  These guys were on clearance.  LOVE.
And, as a warning, this dessert was NOT Jenny-friendly, but it did have portion control in place.  The recipe is CRAZY good though, so I'll share it with you tomorrow.  Get ready to drool.

After a little too much wine last night, I found myself at the gym again in the morning, and then off the the movies!  I had planned to meet up with a friend of mine today, and initially had considered lunch and movie.  However, I ate out on Friday and ate extravagantly on Saturday.  It seemed like a better idea to just have coffee.  

We met at Starbucks where I enjoyed a Salted Caramel Mocha (made with 2 pumps toffee nut, 1 pump sugar-free mocha, no whip, and nonfat milk).  A much better stop rather than a full lunch, and I don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to get my favorite drink EVER.  After we got our caffeine fix, we headed over to the theater to see this...

Ok, I had LOW expectations.  I love the original Footloose, and remakes are usually cheesy.  This one was GOOD.  SERIOUSLY good.  

They did SUCH a good job in honoring the original.  The costumes, the script, everything was almost identical but taking place in present time.  There were even a few remakes of the songs from the original movie that were REALLY good.  I'm temped to buy the soundtrack so that I can get the remade version of "Holding Out for a Hero."  Click below to hear it.... it's awesome, and unfortunately, only available if you buy the whole album.

Footloose (2011) should be out on DVD soon.  If you're a fan of the original, I definitely recommend giving this one a shot!  You'll like it!

Also, tonight after the movies, this might have happened, too...

It's beginning to look a lot like....

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Recipe: Garlic Mashed "Potatoes"

I've heard about mashed cauliflower for years.  

"It tastes just like mashed potatoes."
"You can't tell the difference!"
"They're so good"

Regardless, I never believed these people.  

There was no way that this...

could turn into this.

As a mashed potato fanatic, I stand CORRECTED.

I continue to try to find new ways to enjoy vegetables.  I don't really even like cauliflower when it's cooked, but I have to tell you, I like this.

Now, before I post the recipe I used, I must tell you that there are a LOT of yummy sounding recipes out there.  That have a LOT more calories and cheese than I used.  Here is the recipe that I based mine on, but it's not even close to the ooey-gooey goodness described here.

Mock Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from Food Network

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped
2 Tbsp. fat free chicken broth
1 Tbsp. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray
1 wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese - Garlic and Herb Flavor
2 Garlic Cloves (roasted)
Fresh Ground Pepper

1.  Bring a stock pot full of water to a boil.  Add cauliflower and cook it for 6 minutes, or until well done.

2.  Strain cooked cauliflower.  Dry the cauliflower between several paper towels removing as much liquid as possible.

3.  Place cauliflower in a food processor and add broth, butter spray, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Turn on the food processor and be amazed.  It will produce a mashed potato-like consistency.  Taste the cauliflower for salt/pepper strength.  Add more as needed.

4.  Place the "potatoes" in a bowl and sprinkle with chives.  Enjoy!   

This was my dinner tonight, since today's choices weren't all they could be.  Really yummy.  Try it.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Recipe: My Favorite Cabbage

Ok, my dears.... I've got a GOOD one for you tonight.  I actually can't even believe how good it is.  

I love cabbage. Like seriously love.  Big huge hugs worth.

When I saw this picture on Pinterest, I knew that this one was one that I would be making.  Since I've been roasting everything in sight, it just made sense to try this next.  Gorgeous, right? 

In my family, when we make cabbage, it's usually stuffed with ground meat and rice with onions, and then boils for hours in tomato juice, kielbasa, and sauerkraut.  MMmmmmm.  

Cabbage rolls are so delicious, but on my new healthy eating plan... Cabbage rolls aren't really on the menu.  Just the same, it's definitely fall.  Fall makes me crave comfort foods, and I've had a hunger for cabbage.

The secret to my success on Jenny Craig has been to find a NEW way to enjoy foods I love, and to transform any of my "bad" foods into "good" foods. 

While this recipe is VERY different from the cabbage rolls that I love to make, it has such a delicious flavor that it satisfied the craving.

I have to tell you though, the combination of cabbage and lemon?  I really wondered what this would taste like. I doubted it would have the flavor I was looking for. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I only had to wait about 30 minutes until the cabbage was ready to devour.  And, devour it I did.  With PLENTY left over for upcoming days.

Don't you want to try this??  Look at that cabbage-y goodness!

Roasted Cabbage with Lemon
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen


1 medium-sized head of green cabbage
Pam Cooking Spray
2-3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
generous amount of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
lemon slices, for serving cabbage (optional)


Preheat oven to 450F.  Spray a jelly roll pan with non-stick spray.

Cut the head of cabbage into 8 same-size wedges, cutting through the core and stem end. Then carefully trim the core strip and stem from each wedge and arrange wedges in a single layer on the jelly roll pan (leave some space around them as much as you can.)

Spray cabbage wedges lightly with cooking spray.  Use a pastry brush to coat the top sides of each cabbage wedge with lemon juice and season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Turn cabbage wedges carefully, then brush the second side with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Roast cabbage for about 15 minutes, or until the side touching the pan is nicely browned. Then turn each wedge carefully and roast 10-15 minutes more, until the cabbage is nicely browned and cooked through with a bit of chewiness remaining. Serve hot, with additional lemon slices to squeeze lemon juice on at the table if desired.


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