April 23, 2012

Life Really is Good

This month our book club chose Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman.

This book is a true story and it's about the life of Mr. George Dawson. He was born in 1898 in Texas and was still alive when this book was published in 2000. It's truly amazing to read the life this man has read because it's not a story you can imagine someone doing these days, times have changed.

A man who spent his younger years working to help support the family instead of attending school, spent 9 years of his young adult life traveling around the United States, seeing Mexico and Canada, and then eventually settling down to start a family back in Texas. 

A man who got by without knowing how to read a single word. It's amazing to see how he traveled around relying on the honesty of other people since he was unable to read. He managed to live with almost nothing financially but seemed extremely content with the life he lived, in his eyes, life is what it is. Essentially you make the best of your situations.

He's most well known for taking the initiative and going to school at the age of 98 and finally learning to read. Which if you read the summary of this book is a huge plot point of this novel. Honestly I was more interested in the parts before then. 

Don't get me wrong to learn such a key "function" in life at the age of 98 is amazing, but I felt that the rest of his life was so interesting to read about. It was just a different time and way of living, but so fascinating!

I won't give away much more because I feel everyone should read this book. It's fascinating, heart warming, and you might learn a thing or two.

Overall Grade - A-.

April 21, 2012

Weight Watchers Classic Corn Bread

As promised here is the recipe and review of Weight Watchers Classic Corn Bread recipe! I made it the other night with Skinnytaste's Turkey Chili Taco Soup and it was the perfect side!

You only need a handful of ingredients - Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, Cornmeal, Lowfat Buttermilk, and 1 large egg!

 First up mix your dry ingredients - 1-1/4 cups yellow cornmeal, 3/4 cup flour, 4 teaspoons sugar, 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

In a separate container, I used a large measuring cup to make it easier, combine 1 cup + 2 tablespoons low fat buttermilk and your egg. Whip those together in the measuring cup or bowl, whichever you prefer.

Drop your buttermilk/egg into your dry mixture.

Mix until just blended. Do not over mix!

Then evenly distribute the batter between 12 muffin cups. Make sure to spray your muffin cups with nonstick spray before you put batter in.

Pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. These only took 20 minutes in my oven but I bet if you make them in an 8 x 8 pan (which is the other option to these) it will probably take you 25 minutes. Do not over bake them!!!

I chose to pair mine with the amazing Turkey Chili Taco Soup and it was perfect for "dipping".

Overall these are pretty good. A little dryer and denser than regular corn bread but being only 2 points per muffin I'm sold on them! Since they are super easy I recommend to try these!!

April 19, 2012

Chili Soup and Cornbread!

Despite the crazyness of our lives right now I was dying to try something new for dinner so I made that a priority last night and whipped up a couple new recipes!

And who better to rely on for ideas than Skinnytaste and Weight Watchers?!?!?

I ended up making Weight Watchers Classic Corn Bread and Skinnytaste's Turkey Chili Taco Soup! See how one goes with the other!

First up I want to share the Turkey Chili Taco Soup recipe cause it's so extremely EASY and DELISH!! I wish I had made this during the winter instead of now with the sunny skies we are getting!!

But still it's worth it and can easily be whipped up on a day when you might be getting off work late or have something to do right after work. This takes a total of 20-25 minutes!

Without further ado - here you go!

Ingredients needed - 1.3lbs 99% lean ground turkey, 1 medium onion (chopped), 1 bell pepper (chopped), 10oz can tomatoes with green chiles, 15 oz can kidney beans (Drained), 8 oz can tomato sauce, 16 oz can fat free refried beans, 1 packet of low sodium taco seasoning, and low sodium chicken broth. She technically calls for 15 oz canned or frozen corn (drained) but I hate corn so it got the boot!!

First up you will want to chop up your onion and red pepper, lucky me I have an awesome fiance who always offers to do that kind of prep work. Seriously takes him 2 minutes, while it takes me at least 5 if not longer, I'm a slow chopper! Then drain your can of kidney beans. And while your at it go ahead and get your 2 1/2 cups chicken broth ready to go.

Once you've got that prep work done toss your ground turkey into a large pot and get it nice and browned.

Once your ground turkey is browned toss in your onion and bell pepper, stir and then let that cook off for about 2-3 minutes. It will smell so good at this point!

Then gather all these items....

And dump into your pot! Stir and let simmer for 10 - 15 minutes!

Remove from heat and if you aren't super impatient I highly recommend putting some in a bowl and letting it cool for a few minutes. It is hot! 

Add a couple (2 points each) corn bread muffins to the side, a small amount of cheese (I used a taco seasoned style cheese for more spice, not that it needed it ) and a small dollop of sour cream to your chili soup...


This seriously is so amazingly delish!! It's filling but doesn't feel super heavy like chili! And you get get 1-1/4 cups of it for only 5 points!! And unless you are starving you probably won't want to finish the entire bowl! I ended up only eating one of the corn muffins with my soup cause it's super filling!

And for those of you wondering here's the Weight Watcher Points Breakdown for the whole meal:

1-1/4 Cup Turkey Chili Soup = 5 points
1 Weight Watchers Corn Bread Muffin = 2 points
1 tablespoon light sour cream = .5 points
2 oz the taco seasoned cheese = 1.5 points!

Total = 9 point dinner

Now I could definitely take out the cheese, but the sour cream adds such great contrast that it's a must! And if you "dip" your corn bread in the chili soup you won't need any butter or honey to top it with!!

Overall this dinner could be 7.5 points or less and it's so filling! A must try for everyone who loves Soup, Chili, and Cornbread!

Stay tuned for the Weight Watchers Corn Bread recipe...............

April 12, 2012

Get Your Bridal Basketball On!!

Since I've been knee deep in wedding plans (Only 16 days until THE BIG DAY!!!!!!) I haven't had much time for blogging, new recipes, and barely enough time for reading.

But I did have time a couple weekends ago to spend some non wedding related quality time with my scrapbook room! Granted it wasn't completely un-wedding related because I worked on a layout of when Chuck and I went to the Brides & Basketball Event last March (2011)!

This layout was so fun. I mean aren't they all?? I just loved it because I had bought the paper and stickers a long time ago and finally got to use them!!

I ended up having to redo my journaling three times!!!!!!! As you can see I had a lot to say :) But it all finally fit!!

This was a lot of fun to work on and it was nice to work on something other than wedding DIYs. I can't wait until my Scrapbook Room goes back to being my normal scrapbooking/craft room and no wedding to dos :)

So excited!! 16 Days!!!

April 1, 2012

Foodie Review!!

Since I've been doing weight watchers I am always on the prowl for healthier low in point snacks and I figured why not go check out Trader Joes one day on my lunch break

So I did!! And I picked up these snacks to give a try. I got the Trader Joe's Everything Bagel Chips, Trader Joe's Lightly Salted Crunchy Green Beans, Snapea Crisps, and few different Luna Bars - Smore, Peanut Butter Cookie, and Nutz Over Chocolate.


Let me first put a small disclaimer on this post - I have not tried the Peanut Butter Cookie or Nutz Over Chocolate Luna Bar, partly because they are high in points and I look at them as good bars for after a work out. With the weather we've had recently I haven't had many options to go running so I'm holding off on trying those two. I have however tried the Smores bar.

Let's go ahead and start with the Smores Luna Bar...I spit it out. I took 4 chews and had to get it out of my month! I had just went for a run, it was a Saturday morning and I was pretty hungry. I thought the Luna bar would make me feel full but it was pretty gross. I am hoping the other two are better but there was something wrong with the Smores one. I know that Luna bars are not everyone's cup of tea but I still would like to like them!! So we shall see!!

Why not just get the bad foods out of the way right? The Lightly Salted Crunchy Green Beans were HORRIBLE! Now I'm not a huge salt fan, in fact I hardly add salt to anything but I do get the salty cravings every once in awhile. Unfortunately these just won't do. They were way to salty and I just felt the flavor was quite off and I personally love green beans. I definitely won't be buying these again.

On to the Delish, Slightly Addicting Foods!!

I first tried the Everything Bagel Chips from Trader Joes and knew it was love! It was only 3 points for a serving and it was something to change up my normal baked lays or reduced fat cheez it's with lunch. They are perfectly flavored with the right amount of crunch! I really would recommend these to any chip lover!

And now for the most addicting, best tasting food out of this post!! The Snapea Crisps are AMAZING!! They are seriously the right amount of saltiness, the right amount of flavor, and while they are slightly fluff food I'd give up the three points for them! You get 22 of these babies for 3 points. For those of you on weight watchers I'm sure you think 22 is a lot, but these are pretty light, airy, and super addicting so be prepared to eat a whole serving! These are seriously becoming a staple in my house now and the great thing - you can find them at many different grocery stores!! I've found them at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Lucky's and Safeway!! Just look for them in the produce section!!

Even though I really didn't care for the Luna Smores Bar and the Salted Green Beans I was so stoked to have found the bagel chips and Snapea crisps!! I can't wait to throw the Snapea Crisps in a salad instead of croutons this summer!!

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