Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Corn Chowder...yummmmy!

This passed the Josh taste test...he ate several bowls so now I have no leftovers for lunch...ah well, what a problem, huh?  The whole family eating the same healthy delish food is a good thing! Slimming World has changed my life and has helped us to eat together as a family - all eating healthy great food!  But I was afraid that Josh was going to lose his tuxedo pants during his recital last night!  He has lost weight too!  I am so proud of you Josh~

Here it is while cooking for 20 minutes.

Here it is before I enjoyed it, sure wish I had made more so I had leftovers!

3 cups of chicken broth made with boullion and 3 cups boiling water
3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
2 cans corn, do not drain
1 medium chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
2 ribs chopped celery
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups skim milk

Saute onions, peppers and celery in a soup pot sprayed with Pam spray for about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 20 minutes.  Blend 3/4 of the mixture and leave 1/4 unblended to remain chunky.  Serve!  Yummmmy!  I promise!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Talkin' turkey about Thanksgiving preparations...

It doesn't get more REAL than this!  All I can say is that last year at this time I waited and waited in line to have Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond sign some cookbooks for me.  DELICIOUS, but laden with fat recipes.  Hey Ree, I loved meeting you and I love your blog...but I have lost a ton of weight since then.  I loved your throwdown on Bobby Flay too...and you did win hands down (love you too Bobby)...but we have to get serious here with America's health.  Can you help me transform delicious recipes into ones that are healthy for us?  I'll come out to the ranch and you can see in person all the real food I can eat and still lose weight!

Here are some of my tips for making my holiday a healthier one:

*  Plan to get some exercise in...ya, me...just sayin'...better get it in early in the day before the turkey starts talkin' nap time to ya.
*  Make some fat free or low fat options to take to your party or to serve at your table.
*  Remember that turkey is a super slimming food!  So, 1/3 of your plate in turkey!  Leave the gravy behind and the stuffing which has soaked up all the fat.
*  Have plenty of to-go cartons handy to send all that food home with others.
*  Be plenty thankful for your health and family and for Slimming World coming to the US!

Love ya!
Suzy, Marcia, Ree, Laurel, Dawn...last year I was eating differently and this year I am planning for success!  How about you?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My FIRST 5K...

 It's never too late to do your first 5K (hey I thought it was  closer to 5 miles than it is, lol)

A bit behind at the start...

Notice, I did say my FIRST...hmmmm, that is because it was fun and I can see myself doing this again. 

Yes Dee, it does feel great to exercise. 

Yes Janet, it sort of was like going to the spa, especially because I got a free 10 minute massage afterwards from a guy with very strong hands (even when I was saying ouch).  And I was a bit late for my first 5K, I mean, the whole crowd had left the starting point and you will see there was one other gal and me rushing to catch up.  And catch up I did because I arrived back somewhere in the middle of the pack and by no means at the end.  I do have this one little itsy bitsy competitve bone in my body.  Ya, I ran part of the way and walked part of the way and I wanted to sprint at the finish but it was almost like my legs were rubber and were not attached to my body at that point and I thought I might fall!

Yep, it was fun.  Because there were lot of people and I love being with lots of people!

Ya, Emily Moore, I should try Zumba...wanna go with me?  That would be fun...oh, I forgot...there is this little pond to cross to do that...

Anyhow, in honor of all you across the pond who have been so lovely, who have encouraged me so much to exercise, and who have all shared such wonderful recipes and ideas and encouragement with me on the a tribute, I wore my British flag socks! Love ya!  Hey, maybe some day we will all exercise together!

Ha, and someday maybe I will figure out how to turn this right side up!

Flatout Recipes

Three Flatout, all the FATOUT, delicious recipes!
How many times do you need to "bring the snack or appetizer"?  These are simple to make and you can come up with great combinations  and have a beautiful dish to share.  Here are a few of my favorites that were featured on the Flatout page this week... I wanted to reference the recipes here too.

Slimming World Turkey Dilly Rolls

1 flatout of your choice
1/3 cup fat free Greek yogurt
3 sprigs fresh dill or 1 Tablespoon dried dill
1 chopped green onion
3 slices turkey
chopped lettuce
 3 sliced grape tomatoes
Freshly ground pepper

Mix yogurt and snipped fresh dill.  Spread evenly over flatout bread.  Sprinkle with chopped green onion.  Lay slices of turkey to cover surface of bread. Put a row of chopped lettuce down through the middle.  Top with sliced tomatoes and freshly ground pepper.  Roll tightly and refrigerate until ready to slice.  Slice evenly in 10 rounds.

That green stuff is called micro Arugula and it has a very peppery distinct flavor...pure YUM!

Horsey Beef Rolls

1 Flatout of your choice
2 TBSP Fat Free Cream Cheese
½ TBSP Fat Free Greek Yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons horseradish
3 slices lean roast beef
2 thin slices swiss cheese
Arugula ( I bought fresh Micro arugula near the spices)

Mix cream cheese, Greek Yogurt and horseradish.  Layer  roast beef, swiss cheese and arugula.  Roll and refrigerate until ready to cut into rounds and serve.

Turkey Curry Apple Rolls

 1 Flatout flatbread
2 TBSP Fat Free Cream Cheese
½ teaspoon sweet curry powder or to taste
3 slices turkey
chopped coleslaw mix
chopped apple with peel
Walden Farms Thousand Island salad dressing

Mix cream cheese and curry powder.  Spread evenly across Flatout bread round.  Layer with turkey, coleslaw mix and chopped apple.  Drizzle with a small amount of Walden Farms Fat Free Thousand Island salad dressing.  Roll and refrigerate until ready to cut into rounds and serve.

Hope you love these as much as me! There is no reason whatsoever that you should eat BLAH food!  Make it pretty and make it tasty and make your mouth happy to eat it and your tummy will be happy too and your brain will be satisfied that you ate!  I am just amazed at the wonder of Fat Free Greek Yogurt, but then, that will be a post for another day!

Enjoy y'all!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flatout Yummy!

I was featured on the Flatout webpage today...wanna see?

I'll upload here too if you are patient!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Interview with UsaRadio Network's Scott West and Yvonne Sanders today!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Totally Super Target!

Soup Weather

See, it is Fall in Texas...pumpkins in the background and I am wearing LAYERS of clothing!
Okay, I was probably the only person wearing layers of clothing at the Fall Festival at St. Nick's...and it was at least 70F...but hey, it has cooled off in the Texaplex enough to make soup!  I LOVE soup!  Some of you think that soup is just for when you are sick and can't eat anything know who you are and I am not mentioning any names.  SOUP is your friend!  I have many soup recipes to upload here and today I will only tease you with one and then later I will update and add more.  In fact, Mark made up a great soup recipe yesterday and it was yummy.  It is stuffed pepper soup, Slimming World style, in the crockpot!

Today's soup is Cream of Carrot...and don't be real cream here but it is creamy and delicious and you will love it!

Cream of Carrot Soup  (FREE)

6-8 carrots, cut in chunks or in food processor
1 large onion, cut in chunks
Pam spray
3/4 cup raw rice
7-8 cups chicken bouillion
1 cup fat free milk
Cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Spray bottom of a large soup pan with Pam spray and saute onions and carrots until onions are tender.  Add raw rice and broth.  Cook on low until rice is cooked and carrots are tender.  Blend and season with Cayenne pepper and salt!  Add your milk to the blender before seasoning.

I love this Vita Mix...she is my friend too.  See how I added the milk?  What a beauty!
Enjoy with your favorite Flatout Sandwich! 

Now tell me that this doesn't look yummy...a Flatout satisfying lunch if you ask me!
Watch for me on the Flatout website this week for more recipes...hey, maybe I will even post a link if I can get that organized!  Stay tuned for more soups for this cold 70 degree winter weather...brrrrrr.

I did some body magic today...I went hiking with Maria!  Thanks Maria!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now THIS is motivation to exercise!

Okay, Okay, so maybe this is NOT was relaxing to swing for a while...and you should see the big rockers on the porch in the background!  So nice to sit and knit for a bit on those rocking chairs!  I have always been a sedentary girl...with loads of sedentary hobbies! 

If you are thinkin' hey, this girl is not skinny!  Then you are right.  I still weigh more than you, most likely.  I still have at least 40 pounds to lose!  I am not worried in the least about it.  It will come off with the Slimming World plan. And they want me to exercise.  It is part of the plan.  I honestly just have not gotten to it yet.  Oh, I walked once last week for about 40 minutes but there is no regular routine going on here.  Wish I could say I was but I am just being honest.  I am asking Santa for a Wii Fit for Christmas, maybe that would be fun enough.

So today, I get this facebook post from a girl I knew many years ago.  Now I don't think she ever had a weight problem in her life.  Hmmm, maybe because she exercises?  I thought I would share what she said to me because it got me to thinking...and it just might get me to moving!

"This is so awesome! I'm so proud of you! Keep up the good work, but let me give you some encouragement about exercise. It is so hard to make yourself do it, but when you work yourself really hard, your body always feels so relaxed.
You feel like you've pampered yourself and gone to the spa because you feel like you look so good. I don't especially like exercise itself, but I LOVE the way it makes me feel! Keep it up, girlfriend!!!"        -Janet

Hey, I want to feel relaxed and I want to feel like I went to the spa...maybe I should try it?  What should I do Janet?  Thanks for the encouragement, friend.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Roasting Real Pumpkins

If you want to see me make Pumpkin Pie Rice pudding you can do so here:

Okay, some of you can't easily buy canned here goes.  You can see that I bought two.  Cut it in half and remove the stem.  Turn it upside down on foil lined pan and cover with foil and roast at 350F for about 45 minutes until tender.

Then scoop out...

Then mash...

Then I refrigerated the pumpkin.  It made about two cups.  I used all of it in the pumpkin Pie Rice pudding although I calculated that it was about 1/4 to 1/2 cup more than needed and it turned out just fine.  I also used a fine wire mesh strainer and strained off a bit of excess juice. I would say that there was a good 1/4 cup that came off of the pumpkin.  The rice pudding was just the same as when I make it with canned pumpkin.  With canned,  I use the whole can or 15 oz of pumpkin.
Here it is:

See the earlier blog post for the recipe!  Next up will be pumpkin custard, hey I am in a pumpkin mood.  Oh, and I did roast the pumpkin seeds on the same foil in the oven after the pumpkin was cooked.  I salted and peppered them.  When they were roasted we ate them, shells and all.  It only had an ounce of seeds.  I weighed them because they do count as syns but they were a lovely salty treat!  Shhh, that was another secret!  Boy, I do know how to let those secrets out of the bags I am hauling, huh!  Oh, and I lost 6 pounds this week...did I tell you that I am getting SMALLER!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go-to salads for a quick meal...

My favorite quick tuna salad

Oh, yum!  Can I say that Fat Free Greek Yogurt is your friend?  IT SO IS!  If you haven't met her yet, say hello to a Greek Goddess!  You'll see why if you make this salad.  This was my lunch today...yum.  So this is what I do, I will share a secret or two here...let me whisper...

I boil a few eggs, usually about 6 or so and I mark them with a pencil and stick them in the fridge.  I substitute fat free Greek Yogurt for mayo...and I am a mayo snob, only really liking Hellman's.  Greek yogurt can separate a bit if you don't eat it right away so you wouldn't want to make this one day and eat it days later, in fact, here is how I do it when I am bringing it with me to work.

I put all the ingredients in the container and do not mix them until I am ready to eat!  That is  a secret y'all!

Here goes:

2 hard boiled eggs
1 can of white tuna, packed in water, drained
1 rib celery
1 green onion, sliced
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon fat free Mayo
2 TBSPs fat free Greek yogurt
Small cooked pasta, there is about 3/4 cup here but add what you wish, it is free!

Mix and eat!  So fast and easy and with ingredients you probably have on hand.  I enjoyed mine with a ruby red grapefruit, peel 'em and eat 'em!  I really love them, in fact I am rather addicted to ruby reds right now and they are super slimming.  I peel off the tough skin between the juicy flesh...they are fun to peel and so yummy to eat.  I have been eating them every day because I love them and I did lose 6 pounds this week!  I ate this tuna at least twice too, because it was very satisfying to me.

Why not try this too:

Curried Chicken Salad

Cooked chicken chunks, fresh or canned
2 eggs, hard boiled
celery, cut up
apple, cut up
1 tsp raisins, minced (syns)
Greek Yogurt
1 tsp ff mayo
salt, pepper and curry powder

This one is yummy too!  No need to be hungry at lunch time!  You can even throw cooked rice or pasta into this mixture and it is a meal in itself. Who needs bread for lunch!

Lentil Rice Salad

This salad makes a fast, easy lunch.  Throw some into a bowl, grab a piece of fruit and a bottle of water and you are set to go.  That is what I need.  I like to have left overs for lunch because they are easy.  But there are not always left overs to be had.  This one takes some preparation.  I would liken it to the Bean Salad recipe that I have already posted because you do the chopping and make it ahead of time.  Then you have it on hand for a fast meal or an addition to your dinner. I made a lot of this.  Lentils have loads of protein and are a slimming way to get protein.  I thought this was yummy. 

 Check it out and let me know what you think.  I will post the second go-to recipe in a day or so, hey, I am busy, why do you think I need a go-to salad anyways?  Speaking of that I am so excited to GO-TO weigh in this week at Slimming World because I got weighed today and I was lower than I have been, like, way lower...I am getting SMALLER! May be I should show you that too, huh?  My girls took this I am and  here they are too...

Sorry, some bad lighting here...I'll do more pictures later... just thought you wanted to see my smaller sized jeans ; - )

My girls took the pictures...aren't they the cutest!?! 

Lentil Rice Salad Recipe
(I doubled this because to me that is the whole point of making it ahead.)

1/2 cup lentils, washed and cooked per directions
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup chopped tomato ( I used grape tomatoes)
1/4 sliced green onions
1 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup lightly sauteed red onion
3/4 cup green pepper (I only had red on hand)
1 1/2 cups broccoli or cauliflower flowerets
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cups brown rice (cooked, yeilds a larger amount)

3 Tablespoons Nakano, Marukan or other Seasoned Gourmet Rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Add lentils to water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain.  Prepare rice according to package directions. Prepare vegetables while rice and lentils are cooking.  Mix lentils, rice and vegetables.  Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over vegetable mixture.  Chill well before serving.

I can also envision this recipe with a few twists.  You could make it Mediterranean by adding fat free feta, cucumbers, mint, and olives. Or what about adding tuna and a small pasta?  How about fresh pineapple tidbits, chicken pieces and curry powder? 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Green Chile Stew

Oh my goodness!  Can I say this might be the best thing I have put in my mouth for quite a while?  I am you all might know...haha, I am experimenting on you!  But at least everything I put up here is good.  This, this one is a love. Of course I used my roasted Hatch Green chiles and I don't know what to tell you if you can't buy them?  Try canned green chiles in the Mexican food aisle or better yet, roast some poblano chiles and use them, but they won't be Hatch...and I don't want to lose this recipe so up onto the blog it goes!

It is so good I want to stand on the street corner and pass it out so people can taste it!

Here goes:

1 3/4 lbs. lean beef cut into stew cubes
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced with skin on
9 large Hatch chiles, roasted and diced (or 1 cup canned chiles)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
7 cups chicken boullion
4 cups carrots, sliced
2/3 cup instant mashed potato flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat in an 8 qt saucepan sprayed with Pam.  Drain off liquid and fat and place meat aside.  Respray pan with Pam spray and add cubed potato.  Brown for a few minutes and add the meat back in.  Add salt and pepper, garlic, carrots and chicken boullion.  Simmer on medium until carrots are tender.  Add instant mashed potatoes to thicken a bit.  I served it over a cut spaghetti noodles since they are free but it would be totally fine over rice or just plain....mmmmm, just typing it makes me want to eat more but I am so satisfied already.

Don't you love it when you cook something that is so tasty that you really know you had dinner and you enjoyed every bite? Mmmmmm, next year I am buying a case of those Hatch chiles already roasted...I guess if I run out of them I will be trying my Poblano suggestion, huh?  Then I could compare for you...well, maybe...

Oh, I really came up to this room to hem my new jeans because I am down another size...big problem huh?  I'm getting SMALLER!

Mushroom Rice Crust Quiche

Cooked mushrooms and rice form the crust, with sauteed green onions on top and reduced fat cheese evenly distributed.

Voila!  This was a great quick breakfast today too!
Now for the detail:

3/4 lb (12 Oz) fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup cooked white rice (or brown)
8 green onions, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 slices reduced fat monterey jack cheese
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon paprika (divided)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the mushrooms in a skillet sprayed with Pam.  Add cooked mushrooms to 1 cup of cooked rice and form into a crust in a pie dish. (You can also spray that with Pam).  Saute the green onions and layer on top of the crust.  Cut slices of cheese and evenly distribute them over the pie.

Use a BLENDER to blend the eggs and cottage cheese adding 1/4 tsp of paprika and salt and pepper.  This makes the mixture very smooth for an even consistency.  Pour over the crust; sprinkle with the remaining paprika and bake for 30 minutes at 350F or until set.  It would be yummy to add some chopped up ham to this or some sauteed asparagus or spinach!  Remember that the sliced cheese is an "A" choice and the cottage cheese is FREE!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

The basic ingredients are simple...change up the veggies and use what you like.
And Voila!

Now, here's the detail...

2/3 cup chicken boullion ( 1 cube in 2/3 cup warm water)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 sachets of Splenda sweetner
1 Tablespoon cornstarch (syns) (could use arrowroot)

Mix above ingredients with a whisk in a small bowl.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 tsps. tarragon ( I used Penzey's Sunny Paris seasoning)
8 green onions cut in 1 inch pieces
1 pound fresh asparagus cut in 1 inch pieces
2 cups thinly sliced carrots

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray.  Add chicken and green onion and stir until chicken is no longer pink. Salt and pepper the chicken in the skillet. Remove from skillet.  Re-spray the skillet and add the asparagus and carrot and saute them for about 4 minutes or until tender crisp.  Add the chicken back into the skillet and the sauce mixture.  Stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens and serve over a bed of rice or couscous.

I love the lemon flavor with asparagus but you could certainly try other veggies like green beans, peas, sugar snap peas etc.  Don't forget to count cornstarch as syns even though it is only a Tablespoon!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding

My pumpkin pie rice heaven creation...force yourself to chill it and eat it cold.

I don't know what to say...I am speechless!  That is a miracle in itself...but this, this creation is beyond amazing.  It is certainly delicious enough to be your Holiday Pumpkin dessert, but at the same time, it is syn free and can so just be your breakfast.  Part of me wants to keep it for special occasions to appreciate it and not get tired of it.  At the same time, I want to eat it twice a day!  This is SO EASY TO MAKE.  On Slimming World you can eat 1/4 of this and count it as 1 A choice.  Really, I used fat free milk and you could use a higher fat content milk in this and still just count it as an "A" choice, but why add fat when this is so delicious!  I did eat some just out of the oven because my whole house smelled divine.  Having done that, I did prefer it cold.  Yum, is it morning yet because I can't wait to eat more of this!  Should I share my secret recipe or make you beg?  Ah, alright, I am into sharing...

Pure Pumpkin goes...

Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding

3 eggs
2 cups cooked rice
2 1/2 cups (20oz) fat free skim milk
14 Packets of Splenda Sweetner
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat eggs in a bowl, mix in milk, spices and Splenda.  Put in a saucepan and add the rice, pumpkin and vanilla. Bring just to a boil...stirring the entire not boil this, just bring it up to the point where it could.  Then dump it into a baking dish sprayed with Pam Spray and bake it for 35 minutes at 350F in a preheated oven.  Allow it to cool down and then chill.  
4 servings, each one is 1 "A" choice on Slimming World.

Oh my gosh...hope you love it like me.  This would be simply divine for Thanksgiving with a spoon of Cool Whip on top.  Even though that would be a syn I think you will agree that it would be a very satisfying dessert.  You could also make this in individual ramekins by placing them in a shallow pan with about an inch of water and baking them that way.  Hey, let me know how you like it and I will go work on my next creation.  Peace, out!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rice Pudding, a yummy breakfast!

Mmmmmmm, all baked and ready to eat!  Thanks Mark!  Mark was Man of the Year in Slimming World and he makes the best rice pudding.   So, of course I decided to upload it to Youtube and you can see it on my channel laurelwright7 .  With making extra rice, I made stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage rolls and then Mark made Rice pudding.  It makes 4 servings and I like to eat it with half a sliced banana on top.  In fact, I wish I had some right now.  Here is how he makes it for me.

Rice Pudding
3 cups of fat free skim milk
3 eggs
10 or 12 packets of Splenda
2 cups of rice, cooked
cinnamon to taste

Mix the above ingredients in a sauce pan and bring slowly just to a soft boil while continuously stirring.  Then dump into a dish sprayed with Pam Spray and bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until set. Don't forget to see Mark make it on youtube...he is camera shy so I had to sneak up on him!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Three meals at once...Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

Make your stuffed peppers in the crockpot!
 It all started with cooking 2 cups of raw rice! And I made several meals, all of which have not been eaten yet.  Stuffed Peppers, Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and Rice Pudding all made from the same two cups of rice have made meals easy this past few days.  I was going to also make Porcupine Meatballs from a recipe passed on to me but Mark ate the rest of the rice!  It is free on Slimming World so what's a person to do?  And if I had made even more rice...hmmm, what else could I make?  Maybe you have a few ideas of what to do with leftover rice?  If so, please post your ideas for all of us in the comment section.  I was thinking stir fry rice with egg, chicken and veggie or a nice rice bottomed pie crust with chili or a rice bottomed quiche...I have a few recipes like those.  What great ideas do you have? If you want to see me in action it is here:

Here are my ingredients, add a pound of ground beef (94% lean), the rice (cooked), and a head of cabbage for several quick meals!

Ok, let's get cookin'!

Crockpot Peppers

1 pound ground beef
2 cups cooked rice
1 Fresno Chili
2 garlic cloves
2 cups baked beans (yes, I really used these)
2 cans Diced tomatoes
1 Large can tomato puree (passata)
1 can corn
1 onion
5-6 green bell peppers (red ones are even better)
1 head of cabbage

Spray a large skillet with Pam Spray.  Saute chopped garlic and finely chopped Fresno pepper, then add the ground beef and cook it until no longer pink.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drain off any excess fat.  Add cooked rice, baked beans (strain off most of the juice), 1 can diced tomato, 1 can corn, 1 diced onion.  Mix this together well and stuff into peppers.  Red ones have such a mild lovely flavor and I prefer them but green ones look pretty.  Put some tomato puree in the bottom of the crockpot and put your stuffed  peppers on top. Put the lids on the tops of each pepper.  Add the remaining can on diced tomatoes and the rest of the puree with 1/2 cup water.  Cook in crockpot on high 5 hours or on low for 8 hours or until raw peppers are cooked through.  It is hard to overcook this.

Cabbage Rolls

Take your head of cabbage and with a sharp knife cut around the core.  You do not need to remove the core but make 5-6 deep cuts around the core.  Put the whole head in a glass dish with a few Tablespoons of water and covered with Saran Wrap into the microwave for 4 minutes.  When it comes out let it cool to handle easily.  Remove leaves starting at the core.  Put large spoonfuls of filling at the base of the leaves and fold in sides and roll.  Layers these cabbage rolls with diced tomato and tomato puree in a casserole dish.  I also chop up the remaining cabbage and add it in layers.  This can be frozen and cooked later, in the oven or in the crockpot!

I have to tell you, I have been putting corn and beans in my stuffed peppers for a few years now and I like it that way.  I never put baked beans in until this time but WE LOVED IT!  We scarfed those puppies right down!  And I still have the Cabbage Rolls to eat at a later date.  I can pull them out someday when I am busy and throw them in the crockpot for a no fuss, satisfying meal...voila!

And Mark, "Man of the Year", made me some extra special rice pudding.  I like it custardy with loads of cinnamon from Penzy's and he made it just how I like it.  That video and recipe will be coming up to a blog and youtube channel soon!

Speaking of Mark, can I proudly say that for the first time since he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes some ten years ago, his blood glucose tests showed him in the normal range at 6.9.  AND, he is now only using one of his types of insulin instead of two!  So this Slimming World diet has been so good for him, even with all of the fruit, pasta, potato and rice that he eats...just look at the results!  His Doctor told him to continue his current regimen.  Now we both have to get some more exercise.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Training for 5K

I've done a little rock climbing...

I have run away from a  few snakes...

I have walked on some pretty trails...

Here's a video of my beginnings...
I do have to get back to the gym and do some weights...I did really enjoy some of those weight machines there.  When I think about it, it is not that I don't enjoy exercise...there seems to be some different ways to exercise that are fun.  And yet, I had the feeling that I always had to be increasing the intensity of what I was doing and the time committment to  continue to lose weight.  Between all that focusing on how many points this food has and what I had left in the day and what was I going to be happy eating and THEN to throw in torturing myself with so many hours at the gym I was caught thinking, "when do I get to have time for what I want to do?"

I am in this training period with my mind right now.  Rethinking ALL of it.  See, I don't focus on food at all anymore.  I just love that!  I just do what my leader Carol said to do..."pile it high and keep it free!"  I am SO SATISFIED with my food and I do not feel deprived in the least.  I do not think, "I can't wait until Slimming World is over so I can eat a_____...or drink a _____.  And face it, I know what those ______'s taste like anyways and if I really want one I can have it.  Right now though, I am satisfied and I don't need it to be satisfied and I love the results.  Do you know that my size smaller jeans that I just bought 2 weeks ago I can already put my whole arm right down my leg when I have them on...they are too big!  Yet I don't feel the size 12's are loose enough to go down to them yet.  But when you are only lasting 2-3 weeks on a jeans size you have to look at it and realize that you are satisfied in more than one way!

I don't want all this loose skin dangling around...and I have more energy to do things so I am trying a bunch of new exercise options to find a few that I might find as satisfying as my new way of eating, 'cuz I love stand by because I will post about those too as I post recipes and haul groceries...

and for now, I am tuckered out...hey there isn't a snake in this picture is there?
I am getting SMALLER...

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Spicy Hauler hauls SPICES at Penzey's

Man, how did that title grab ya?  Like "She sells seashells at the sea shore"? Well, no seashells, but loads of great spices.  I went today with the spice girls...and I am not naming any names but you know who you are.  They didn't want to be in the video!?!  Can you imagine that?  But they saw me in action, close up and personal like. 

You can watch my haul at Penzey's to feel like you are a SPICE GIRL too!

This is THE BEST cinnamon you ever tasted.  I PROMISE.  It is apple season and even though apples are not super slimming foods I do enjoy them... we like to slice them up and sprinkle this cinnamon on them, and perhaps a packet of splenda but this cinnamon is already so sweet and there is no added sugar!  It is Vietnamese cinnamon.  They have many kinds of cinnamon at Penzey's and you can smell 'em fact, I wish this computer had smell-a vision so you could take a whiff because you'd be convinced!

I am going to try the Salsa salad seasoning in my bean salad recipe that is posted here...can't wait to do that.  And I am super excited about the Spice Blend called "Sunny Paris"  MAN alive did that one smell great...and the Sate and the Curry...

It all re-energized me for cooking ideas...and I bet you want to come over huh?Well, there may just be a Penzey's near you or you can get a catalog or look online at The catalog has loads of recipes to inspire you and remind you of home.

I love that on Slimming World I can so enjoy cooking and food frozen meals, no feeling deprived and now I have lots of fun spices to experiment with!  And so do my anonymous friends, the spice girls!

Maybe you need to spice it up!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Campfire Chicken - Perfect for Slimming World!

Campfire Chicken Dinner Recipe can watch me make it by clicking this link:  Laurelcookscampfirechicken

2 Chicken halves
2-3 Baby Red potatoes
4 wedges onion
4 Whole carrots, cut in half
4 Corn on the Cob frozen mini cobs
4 Tomato wedges
Salt and Pepper
Spices of your choice

You will need large pieces of the Heavy Duty Aluminium foil (I used the nonstick grill foil) for this recipe. You will need 1 piece for each person eating.

Salt, pepper and spice the pieces of foil. Place a chicken half MEATY SIDE down in the spices. I put the carrots next to the foil with the meaty side of the chicken on top of the carrots. Arrange potatoes, and corn on the cob around the chicken. Cut onions and tomatoes into wedges or slices, whichever you prefer and place on top. Close the aluminium foil well so all juices will stay contained.
Either grill this or bake in a 325°F oven until all is tender. I grilled mine on low for about 1 hour 45 min.

The slower you cook this, the more tender and flavorful it will be.
Super yum and so easy to make...all in one packet!  I love Slimming World, did I tell you that?  I traveled for a few weeks this Summer by car and I would stop at Cracker Barrel Restaurants and order this and eat the WHOLE thing.  The waitress would always ask if I was going to need a to-go box and I would laugh!  Do you know what?  I lost weight while I was away!  4 Pounds...eating all this great food!  You can too!  I have to admit though, tonight I just wasn't that hungry and I only ate about half of my chicken...what is wrong with me?!?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Heaven

I get inspired when I go to the produce market.  I always have.  Sometimes I am so inspired I want to draw what I saw, or paint it, or arrange it. This watercolor was of a vegetable stand in Pike Place Market in Seattle.    Didn't God create the most beautiful shapes and colors?  There's nothing prettier than God's creation. 

So often when I get home from buying produce I want to make roasted veggies.  There are so many wonderful combinations of roasted vegetables and so many lovely ways to eat them.  They can be a base for fish or chicken, a sandwich, great on a pizza, layered in a casserole for a vegetable lasagne, eaten as a topping for pasta or rice or just plain eaten! Roasting them brings out all the flavor and sweetness.  Today I sprayed a cookie sheet with my friend, Pam spray and then put sliced eggplant on it.  I sprayed the top of the eggplant and added salt and pepper.  I put a piece of roasted Hatch green chili on each eggplant slice and some crushed garlic.  I added chunks of yellow bell pepper, zucchini (corgette), onion and cherry tomato.  After it cooked about 15 minutes I turned the eggplant over and added mushrooms.  Today I ate the veggies with Mexican rice and Turkey burgers.  But I made plenty so I could have them tomorrow too.  Aren't they beautiful?

Have you experiemented with roasted vegetables?  I love some of the combinations I come up with and I will surely share them.  Yum!

This is my leftovers...Roasted vegetables and turkey wrap with watermelon.

This morning I was talking with Mark about Slimming World.  I can honestly say that this is the first time I have ever been on a diet that I didn't even think thoughts like..."when I lose this weight I am going to eat____"  or "I can't wait until I can go back to having more _____"  I am just always so satisfied.  That is why I think I can do this for the long haul.  Share your roasted veggie ideas with me!  I will soon be doing a haul at my favorite Spice store...Penzey's.  I love experimenting with spices on roasted veggies!  Oh, and I lost 3 pounds this week eating all this fabulous I am a Smaller Hauler!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Diet Coke Chicken and all things plain amazing!

Now I cannot take credit for this one, only for passing it along! But this is the important thing here; you can take your own plain ol' recipe and convert it to something very Slimming World friendly.  If there are any ingredients with syns then try to find a substitute that is syn free OR divide the total number of syns by the number of servings.  I have a recipe like this that I make in the Crockpot for Pulled is simple 1 pork shoulder, 1 can diet coke or Dr. Pepper and 1 bottle barbeque sauce of your choice...cook in a crock pot for several hours and shred for sandwiches.

This is a take on that and I have come up with loads of ideas springing forth from goes, first the recipe and then the ideas!

 3 boneless breasts sliced raw chicken
1 12 oz can diet coke (can use  diet Dr. Pepper)
1 cup diced onion
7 TBSPs tomato puree (not paste)
salt and pepper
dash worcestershire sauce

Spray Skillet with my friend Pam.  Saute chicken until pink is gone along with onions.  Salt and Pepper the chicken and onions.  Add diet coke, 7 TBSP pureed tomato (NOT PASTE) and dash worcestershire sauce.  Simmer until thickened up a bit.  YUUUUMMMM! And sooooo SYN FREE!

Now for the ideas...

*  Serve it over a baked potato!
*  Make a barbeque sandwich on a B choice Deli thin!
*  Roll it up with shredded cabbage in a Flat out bread!
*  Make a Flat out BBQ Chicken Pizza with it!
*  Eat it for a is SYN FREE and chicken and tomato are super slimming, right?
*  Add some Hatch to it for sure, Ya know I am lovin' my Hatch peppers.
*  Make it with Ground Beef for a Barbeque (not as super slimming)
*  Eat it while you watch my latest grocery haul at this link.
*  Make my Pulled Pork recipe substituting a whole 14 oz. can of crushed tomato in the crock pot! Just make sure you remove all the visible fat.

The guy who makes it has his own Youtube version I posted on my Facebook page. I tweaked it a bit because he uses products that we can't get here in the US.   

Did I tell you  that I LOVE SLIMMING WORLD? Oh, I didn't remember saying it.  I am going to have another big weight loss this week, from what I can see so far on the scales.  It is just how my body does it.  I am consistent in what I eat from week to week and I have a big loss and then my body plays around with a pound or so for 2 or three weeks and then I have another big loss.  I have done it 5 or 6 times now.  I could graph it out! 

But the whole effect is that I'm gettin' Smaller!  Watch the Youtube and see for yourself!

Shout out to all of you who are watching and wondering about all of this...ya, I am having so much fun doing SlimmingWorld...wish you were here with me!  And no, I don't get a kickback if you join and I do not work for them (HEY SLIMMING WORLD,  WANT TO HIRE ME...I WILL COME TRAIN IN ENGLAND!) and you can do this  online with me at  But if you do, let me know so we can have fun together, eh? 

Oh, and I walked to the High School football game and back (we won, of course.) This is a great dish for football season!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blueberry Burgers and Slimming World Fries!

Okay!!! As promised!!!  These are not empty promises out there!  And a shout out to Don who wants more recipes with Hatch Chilies!  Don is doing GREAT on Slimming World, I think he is "slimmer of the week" every week!
Blueberries are supposed to be brain food and we all know I need more brain food so why not add them to burgers!  My go-to girl Marcia gave me the recipe and I tweaked it to be more SW friendly.  You can see me make them on my youtube video by clicking  here!

I am so excited about all the new friends who are following the blog and the Youtube channel!  You are from the US and from abroad and I am hearing from you by email, facebook and  in comments and personal messages!  I can never have enough friends or meet enough of you.  YOU GO Marilena in Georgia!

Well, enough of my dribble...Marcia's recipe does not call for Hatch and if you have poblano peppers they might be a little similar.  You don't need to add it but I am just adding it to everything lately, 'cuz I am in luv!  In love with Hatch, with Slimming World and with my new happy, energetic lifestyle, my size 14 jeans and with you,  my friend...stay posted as I hatch more ducky ideas!

1 pound (16 0z) 96% lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped blueberries
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup dry oatmeal, quick oats or chop in blender

Mix all ingredients well and form into 4 patties.  Place on outside grill or broil in your oven broiler.

< 1 syn per burger

Slimming World Fries
 Laurel style

3 or 4 Russet Potatoes
Seasoned Salt
Pam Spray
Parchment paper

Peel and Cut potatoes in fy shapes.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with Pam.  Par boil the fries 3 minutes.  Drain in a colander and spread on parchment.  Spray them with Pam and sprinkle with Seasoned salt. Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes, turning after 12 minutes.

Enjoy and don't forget that at least one third of your plate should be something really slimming!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Woman of the Year!

Let me introduce you to Donetta...she is so sweet.  We are all so warmed by her kindness and encouraging words every week.  We can all probably close our eyes and see her routing us on in our journeys.  That is what it is is a journey!  Donetta was elected as "Woman of the Year" in my group today.

With other weight loss plans that I have been on I have always dreaded the day that I went there.  I have resented the time that I had to spend sitting in the group and I HATED going to get weighed.  I hated weighing and measuring and counting everything I put in my mouth.  I found a plan with freedom from all of that!

I have to tell you that right now I am not really happy because I gained a pound this week.  And I so wish I had eaten some yummy cake or treat that justifies my weight gain, but I did not.  I am steadfast.  And I will remain that way.  See, the thing is, because of people like Donetta in my group it is such a wonderful place to be.  We are all on the journey together with our ups and our downs.  I don't dread going to Slimming World.  They make the journey so much fun. 

I know, one of my friends recently said that I think everything is fun. But this is different.  There are so many things at a meeting that are FUN!  It is nothing like I have seen at any of the others and I HAVE DONE THEM ALL! I so wish this would spread like a wildfire across the country so you could be in a group too.  Because, I want you to know, you are not alone in your struggle...there is a Donetta near you, or a Sonya, or a Nancy, or an Amber or a Karen or Rachel...cheering you on and believing you can do it!

You can sign up to do Slimming World online at and online it is called Body Optimising.  It is different than being in a group because you won't be blessed to have Donetta there cheering you on each week.  But hey, let me know you are doing it with me and I will cheer for you!  Cheers go out today to Marilena from Georgia who has just completed her first week online!  She lost 7 pounds!  WOW!  You go girl!  They will simply not recognize you when you get back home!  Marilena has not figured out how to post a comment but she has been watching and a Slimming World leader gave her my number and she called me today to say how well she has done!  So glad to meet you Marilena!

Wish I could say I did the same today Marilena, but hey, I am real about this and I got lemons today so I am going to go make some is a super slimming food!