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!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fan Mail

Yes, that is right, little ol' me got my first fan mail! And here is a picture to prove it! When I made my first video I knew I was going to have to communicate to my cameraman Josh that I was ready to quit the video...and not knowing what to do, I said, "Peace, OUT!"  He knew precisely what to do then and since it worked once I did it everytime as a way to end the video.  So this gal, who watched the videos found the perfect way to motivate me!

I was so excited because not only was the note awesome, this gal knew I would be so smitten with the "Peace Out" stamp that she used to make this card!  She included the stamp when she sent the card to me!  She has been watching my videos and encouraging me all the way!  Woot! paws2ink!  She made me so happy I decided to do a little exercise...and it had to be fun of here's a picture to prove I did it!
Dance Dance Revolution was fun exercise!

And tonight I decided to exercise more by making my own cards and by sending a bloggy thank you to paws2ink for my first fan mail. 

I used Art Tissue, which is colored tissue paper that is supposed to bleed and I took card stock, a water spray bottle and torn pieces to make my background paper.  Spray the paper slightly and apply pieces of paper.

Then spray with water to make tissue bleed.

Put another layer of card stock on top to blot up excess water and color and use it as the next card stock that you add more tissue to!  Remove little pieces of tissue ad discard them.  Allow cardstock to dry and keep making more colored card stock until you are sick and tired of all the exercise!
Iron the colored card stock to remove all dampness so that it is easy to cut!

Stamp with the cutest stamp ever and layer on your colored card stock for a great card!

and through the magic of blogging....


Tons of nifty cards for my fellow Slimmingworld friends who are on this incredible journey with me! Now don't you wish you were coming tomorrow so you could have one too?

Thanks Dawna (paws2ink), exercise was fun and you made me do it!

Peace Out!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Southwestern Bean Salad

2 cans (15 oz.)  black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) Black-eyed peas, drained
Optional:  1 can small red beans, drained
1 can La Costeno carrots, with jalapenos, these are sliced, then I chop them. They can be found in the Mexican food aisle.
4 ears corn, cut off cob, cooked or roasted or use equivalent canned or frozen
2 cups chopped tomato, chop small
1 medium sweet red pepper(s), cut into small pieces
1 medium sweet yellow pepper or green bell pepper, cut into small pieces
1/2 medium red onion, chopped and sauteed until tender crisp.
1/2 cup cilantro, fresh, finely chopped
1 bunch medium scallion(s), chopped
4 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Spray a nonstick skillet with Pam spray and saute chopped red onion until tender crisp.  This takes away the strong flavor that is often present in red onions but adds a nice texture and layer of flavor. Add together all the remaining ingredients and chill.  This salad can be kept refrigerated for a long time.  (Option:  Omit carrots and add feta cheese for your A choice) Adjust seasonings to taste.  Tomato and lime juice create a nice dressing for this salad.

This is one of the salads served at Suzy's party.  I make it frequently because it is high in protein and non fat, easy to grab on the run and great to have on hand to serve with grilled meats for dinner!

Party Hauling

Marcia, Suzy and Laurel at Marcia's house.  Her house should be in a magazine!
I am getting ready for a party.  Shhhhh, it is a surprise for my friend Suzy...remember her?  She's the one who broke her foot.  Well, it's her ____ Birthday and her husband called about a week ago and asked if I could have a surprise party to cheer her up.  I was more than happy to do that and immediately panicked and called my go-to girl, Marcia.  Marcia and I put our heads together and did loads of planning and preparation and party hauling...because there were 50 people invited!  YIKES, and most of them are coming because everybody loves Suzy!  We were so happy to get to do this for Suzy, and on short notice it meant we really had to be organized.

But it reminds me to say that in Slimming World they are big on planning and preparation. Sometimes they jokingly say, in their lovely British accents, that we have to "mind our PP's"!  We all snicker and crack up, but it is so true.

So, in my PP, I was sure to include ham, a big, huge fruit platter, and a southwestern bean salad that is FREE.  In fact, all the Slimming World guests will have some great options to eat at Suzy's party.  It all tastes great and looks great and is healthy.   I just might have to save this entry and upload a few photos of the Birthday table and Birthday party since loads of hauling went into it all! And if I publish too soon she could read this on her phone on the way to the party and spoil the surprise!

Do you have great food options for a party you would like to share?
Slimming World Birthday Feast!
The weather was beautiful and a good time had by all, thanks for getting older Suzy!