Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tree Trek 2010

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we made our annual trek to get our Christmas tree. Despite the bright sunshine it was quite cold and very breezy but that didn't stop us. We even brought Tuukka, giving him another chance to get used to riding in the car and to check out all kinds of new sights and sounds. He of course got lots of attention from all the other people out getting their trees.

After checking out several trees, we finally found that special one. Of course no tree gets to come home until it gets the official Kenzie hug of approval.
Once the tree gets the official hug Dom cuts it down..
This year we found a little suprise in the branches of our tree after we got it home. Tucked all cozy inside was a bird's nest! This has got to be a sign of good luck, right?
We ended up way back in the tree farm so it was a little bit of a trek back but no one seemed to mind. Especially Tuukka who thought it was fun to chase the tree as Dom pulled it on the sled!
And here is the finished product all lit up and ready to enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blueberry Muffin Tops

This week I've got a recipe that is not from weight watchers and not very healthy, but it is very yummy and goes great with a cup of coffee!

1 roll(16.50z.) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup of sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 pkg cream cheese (3oz.) softened
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 to 3 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen(thawed) blueberries
Let cookie dough stand at room temp. 10 mins. to soften. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup of the flour, sugar and butter with a fork until crumbly. Set aside to use for topping. In another small bowl, mix remaining 1 cup of flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
In medium bowl, beat dough and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended. On low speed, beat in egg, milk, lemon peel and lemon juice until well blended. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Do not overmix, batter will be thick. Carefully fold in blueberries.
Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 1 to 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Bake 3 mins. remove from oven. Sprinkle each muffin top with about 1 tsp. crumb topping then immediately return to oven.
Bake 16-20 mins. longer or until edges begin to brown. cool on cookie sheets 2 to 3 mins. before removing to cooling racks. Serve warm or cool.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

On this Thanksgiving I have many things to be thankful for.

I am thankful that Dom and I have both of our parents, and our children have both sets of grandparents to help us celebrate.

I am thankful for the healthy birth of my great-nephew, Ari.

I am thankful for a husband who is a huge help in the kitchen.

I am thankful that we will spend lots of quality time with the kids over the next several days.

I am thankful for warm fuzzy puppies.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sicilian Sausage Stuffed Pizza

Here is another favorite from the Weight Watchers cookbook. This one is 5 points a slice.


1/2 pound fully cooked smoked chicken sausage, coarsely chopped
1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms or white button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup part skim ricotta
1/4 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese
1/2 recipe Basic Pizza Dough at room temp.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add mushrooms and onions to skillet. Cook stirring occasionally until mushrooms give off liquid, it evaporates and the mushrooms are golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add mushroom mixture to sausage; let cool. Stir in mozzarella, ricotta, and romano cheese.
Sprinkle a work surface lightly with flour. Turn dough onto surface; knead lightly. Cut dough in half. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll half dough into a thin 12 inch circle. Transfer circle of dough to a nonstick pizza pan or large baking sheet, gently pulling the dough back to a 12-inch circle. Spread the filling onto the dough to 3/4 inch from the edge. Brush around the outer edge with water.
Roll remaining dough into a 12 inch circle and place on top of the filling. Press the edges together to seal, then crimp the edges/ Cut five slits in the top of the dough. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool 5-10minutes and serve hot, or let the pie cool on a rack and serve at room temperature. Cut into 8 slices.

Basic Pizza Dough


1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl combine the water, sugar,and yeast; set aside until foamy. Stir in the oil, flour,and salt until the dough starts to gather around the spoon. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 mins.
Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and put the dough in the bowl. Cover the dough lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size, about one hour.
Punch down the dough, then cut in half. Refrigerate or freeze in floured zip-close freezer bag at this point or use as directed in the recipe.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tuukka Time!

Last Friday we brought our new Springer Spaniel puppy, Tuukka home. He has been keeping us on the go ever since. In true puppy fashion he has completely taken over the house and our hearts. He's got lots to learn besides the obvious housebreaking, like no chewing on shoes, furniture and people and how to go up and down stairs. He's actually mastered going upstairs. Down is a little tougher, but he can do it with a little coaxing.

He loves to be outdoors chewing up sticks and leaves. He will even whine at the door because he wants to go outside, not to do his business, but just to play. And because I want to encourage him to go to the door I spend a large chunk of my day going in and out. That is all part of having a puppy though!

You can expect to see a lot more of Tuukka and his antics in the future.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eight is Great!

Mackenzie turned 8 on the 8th. She had a few friends over for an Austalian themed party complete with Koala cake!
Since her party was on the Saturday before her birthday I made cupcakes for her to take to school on her actual birthday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Winning at Losing

Over the past several years I have been gaining weight and it was finally to the point that I was feeling tired and sluggish all the time. I knew I had to make some changes but I had fallen into the "I'll start tomorrow or next week" trap.
After hearing some first hand accounts from people I knew who were having success with Weight Watchers I decided to try it out. I gave myself 4 months to decide if it was going to work and would be something I would stick too.
I joined on September 10th and have lost 15 pounds so far. My clothes are getting loose and I have a ton more energy. I am feeling pretty proud of myself!

I have been trying a lot of recipes from the website and a Weight Watchers cookbook that I purchased. I have liked most all of the recipes so far but I definitely have some favorites. One of them is the Mexican Style Brown Rice Casserole. It is perfect for the cooler weather and there is enough for leftovers the next day!
So I thought I would share the recipe.


1 spray cooking spray
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/4 cups salsa
1 tsp ground cumin
15oz. can refried beans
10oz frozen corn kernels, thawed
4 oz canned green chili peppers, mild, sliced
1 Tbsp chili powder
10oz chopped frozen spinach or collard greens, thawed and set to drain in a strainer over a bowl
3/4 cups low fat shredded cheddar cheese divided
2Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped (optional for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 2 quart rectangular, round or oval baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine rice, salsa and cumin. Spoon 2 cups of rice mixture into prepared baking dish and spread out evenly on bottom of dish.
In another large bowl, combine refried beans, corn, chili peppers and chili powder. Using a rubber spatula, scrape bean mixture on top of rice layer and smooth out top.
Squeeze and excess water from spinach or collard greens and then spread on top of bean layer. Sprinkle with 6 Tbsps. of cheese. Top with remaining rice mixture and smooth out top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Place casserole on a large rimmed baking sheet to catch any spillage. Bake until heated through and cheese is browned and bubbling. About 30 mins. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Cut into 6 pieces and serve.
One serving is 6 points.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010