Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Red Wine Blues

My sister, Joanne, is a proud new condo owner. She bought a brand new unit, in a brand new building, and it is beautiful. The apartment features granite counter tops, hardwood floors, and the latest stainless steel appliances. My very favorite feature is that the bathroom floor heats up with a touch of a tiny little button.

I'm so excited to sleep over one night this Winter, just so I can shower there and use this feature. I can't wait. No more cold bathroom floors for me. My little tootsies are going to be pampered, even if it is just for one morning.

She bought everything brand new, for her brand new place. Everything... from her beautiful new furniture to the free-standing toilet paper holder she purchased for her fancy new bathroom.

So, you can imagine how pissed she was, and how sick and nervous I felt, when the kids and I came over for a visit, and my son knocked the tray table over, which held the glass of red wine that I had just poured myself, and the contents of which splattered all over her brand new living room, in her brand new pristine condo.

The poor little guy just learned how to walk backwards and he was happily showing off his new "talent."

Every single drop of red wine splattered all over her brand new hardwood floors, freshly painted walls and gorgeous sage green couch with tiny delicate stripes of cream and rust.

Both mine and my sister's reactions startled my son, who then started to cry. My sons crying startled my daughter, and then she started to cry. Both kids quickly ran into Joanne's bedroom and hid behind her dresser.

I wanted to hide too but I couldn't. I had A LOT of cleaning to do! Thankfully, for me and my bank account, I got every last drop of red wine out of the couch. I used a mixture of water and Dawn.

There's a new rule at Aunt Joannie's house and that is, no more red wine in the living room! 

I'm sure that after the painful memory has faded though, that she will permit it again.

Any suggestions on how to get red wine out of fabric for when it happens again?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lighten Up - Recipe for Chicken Burgers with Portabella Mushroom Buns

This week's topic at my Weight Watcher meeting was about following their Good Health Guidelines, which are designed to ensure that members meet their body's nutritional needs. The one I struggle with most, is getting in the healthy oils. 2 teaspoons a day are recommended; nursing moms need 3.

Healthy oils are olive, flax seed, canola, safflower and sunflower oil. One teaspoon of oil equals one point though, and it's been hard for me to replace food, that will fill me, with oil, that I feared would not. I am a very hungry girl.

I learned this week though, that not only are two teaspoons of healthy oils a day good for our skin, hair and digestive track, but they also keep us full for a longer period of time. I'm commiting myself this week to finding creative ways of getting them in.  I figured that in doing so, I may have fun with this and will be more likely to adopt it as a lifestyle change.

While watching The Biggest Loser the other night, I got the greatest idea for lunch. Chef Curtis Stone, gave the contestants a cooking lesson, in which they made burgers from ground chicken, instead of beef or turkey,(I hate ground turkey), and used grilled portabella mushrooms in place of a bun. I've replaced beef with grilled portabella before but never ever thought of using the portabella's as the bun. 

He seasoned the ground chicken with garlic and thyme, which the contestants found to be delicious, but that combination didn't do much for me. I went ahead and thought of my favorite seasonings and flavor combinations and went with them for my lunch.
I took out my grill pan and threw the portabella mushrooms on with a little bit of Kosher salt and some pepper. I actually placed the mushrooms on the grill pan dry...(Baby Steps for me)... You can brush them with olive oil though, if you like.

While those were grilling, I quickly diced up a little bit of red onion and red pepper. I threw them together in a little bowl and seasoned them with a little bit of Kosher salt, pepper, red vinegar and one teaspoon of olive oil.

Now it was time to season my chicken burger. I sprinkled my pre-made chicken patty with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chipotle, onion powder and Johnny's Garlic powder.  I cooked it for about 4 minutes or so on each side. I like my chicken burgers well-done.

Voila!!! This was the tastiest lunch that I've made myself in a long time. The flavor combination of the seasonings I chose for the chicken burger, topped with the seasoned diced onions and peppers with red vinegar and oil, was amazing. The burger was delicious and juicy. It was also so quick and easy, that I was able to prepare both my lunch and my kids lunch, in the same amount of time. 

I counted my 3oz chicken burger as 4 points and the teaspoon of olive oil was 1 point. The portabellas, red onion and peppers were FREE!  This was a fantastic 5 point lunch and I plan on making it again for myself for lunch today.
Have you found any creative ways of getting your healthy oils in? 

What flavor combinations/seasonings would you choose?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Children's Health - One Chalazion, two Chalazion

What's a Chalazion? That's what I wanted to know.

A Chalazion is a lump on the eyelid, caused by an obstruction of an oil gland. It resembles a sty but technically, is not. I know this because one has come to dwell on MY little girls eyelid. It's been there for about five weeks now.

Her pediatrician sent us to a specialist in Manhattan to get it checked out. We were all certain that her poor little eye-lid was going to be lanced and drained and Stephen and I were sick about it.

So, in an attempt to calm my nerves, I thought, well, what's the worst that could happen?

And then I pictured it.

I envisioned my daughter seated in a chair in a tiny room. Across from her, is the Pediatric Ophthalmologist, holding a little scalpel in hand. I pictured the Doctor gingerly moving the scalpel up to my little girls eyelid...

What?!!!!!!!!...OH NO!!!!...The telephone starts to ring, which startles the Doctor and alas, instead of lancing my cute little girls eyelid, the Doctor lances her actual eyeball instead!

She could be blinded in her left eye forever!

Yeah...this wasn't helping.

Thankfully though, after seeing my daughter, the specialist determined that a hospitalization to lance and drain a 4 year olds eyelid should be the last resort and therefore recommended that we continue with warm compresses for 10 minutes, 3 times a day. She noted that it will probably take months for the Chalazion to go away.

We needed some guidance as to what to use as a warm compress. I had been wetting washcloths with hot water, yet the cloths stayed warm for less than a minute. The process of wetting and re-wetting the clothes was frustrating, as well as ineffective.

The specialist offered a couple of great suggestions and I'm going to pass them along to you...

She suggested we take a small potato, place it in a sock and then microwave it.  We've found that microwaving it for 50 seconds has done the trick! She also said microwaving a sock full of rice works well too. I opted for the potato because it seemed the least messy of the two. 

Note...check the temperature to make sure it's not too hot for your little one, and then place potato/rice filled sock, directly on your child's eye.  This will work for both Chalazions and Sty's.

The potato retains its heat for the time needed and I am happy to report that her eye looks a lot better. We're not out of the woods yet, but I am hopeful that this works and there won't be any hospitalizations in our near future.

Have any of you experienced anything like this? If so, I would love for you to share your story with me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baking with Kids - Christmas Truffles

I was extremely excited to try this Gooseberry Patch Truffle recipe. My daughter and I both love chocolate truffles and this recipe calls for dipping the truffles in various coatings at the end.

I knew that she and I we were going to have a lot of fun making these together, and we did!

Gooseberry Patch suggested flaked coconut, chopped nuts, powdered sugar, chocolate sprinkles and baking cocoa for truffle coatings. All were delicious.

In addition to their suggestions I picked out Heath Toffee bits because I love toffee, and my daughter spied Christmas colored sprinkles in the baking aisle. It was an excellent find because the red/green and green/white sprinkles made for a very beautiful and festive platter. You have to try this one.

2/3 c. heavy cream

12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 T. unsalted butter, softened

Toasted flaked coconut

Toasted finely chopped nuts

powdered sugar

chocolate sprinkles

baking cocoa

*Red and Green Sprinkles

*Green and white Sprinkles

*Heath candy

candy paper cups

Here's what you do
Heat cream just to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate chips and butter; beat until smooth. Place pan over a bowl of ice water. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixture 3 to 4 minutes or until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

Scoop out one-inch balls using a melon baller or small scoop. Roll between your hands, then dip balls into various coatings. Place in paper cups or on a sheet of wax paper.
Cover and store in refrigerator. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

I don't have a big sweet tooth but I could not resist these and ate quite a few. My daughter's favorites were the ones coated in festive sprinkles. My husband favored the ones dipped in the baking cocoa and my favorites were the ones dipped in the Heath Toffee bits, followed by the ones coated in coconut and then those we coated in baking cocoa.

These festive little truffles are so delicious that we decided they would be the most perfect treats to share with our whole family, not only for Christmas, but for Thanksgiving too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Trusting Ourselves and Our Instincts

After all of the mental turmoil I've endured at the hands of my former Physicians, the only local Doctor that I trust now is my kids Pediatrician.

I remember seeing Isabel curled up in a ball, just floating there, on my 20 week ultrasound. So much so that the ultrasound tech couldn't even get a measurement for her nose or lips. I was scared to death. Stephen was too. We could tell that there was something wrong. I told my former OB how scared I was but he didn't take me seriously. He said the baby was probably just sleeping.

We went back about a week later so the ultrasound tech could try again. This time they got the measurements, but Isabel was still curled up in a ball, hardly moving at all. Stephen and I were extremely worried at this point. I brought my concerns up to my Dr. again, but again, the Dr. said that there was nothing to worry about.

However, about a week later my OB called with news from the High Risk Specialist. This practice, as well as most, send their patients out to High Risk Specialists for the ultrasounds. The specialist told my former OB that Isabel had a 2 vessel umbilical cord. A normal umbilical cord has 3 vessels. He told me again, that it was nothing to worry about, but they would have me come in once a month for an ultrasound to make sure that the baby was growing properly. I want to note right now though, that when we finally got the Autopsy Report, it revealed that Isabel did not have a 2-vessel cord after all, she had a 3 vessel cord.

Stephen and I were freaked out at this point, so I went ahead and made an appointment for us to meet with the High Risk Specialist ourselves. At our meeting I asked about the babies well-being, due to the alleged 2 vessel cord, and I asked if I was going to need an amniocentesis to check the babies overall health. He said NO and told us both again, that there was nothing to worry about and that I was going to give birth to a totally healthy baby girl.

After Isabel died though, I went ahead and obtained all of my medical records and it was then that I saw the brazen lie in my chart. The High Risk physicians correspondence to my former OB stated that he did indeed, recommend amniocentesis due to all of the things that could go wrong with a baby with a 2 vessel cord, and that I DECLINED! I felt shocked and betrayed. I trusted him. I trusted them all.

I called my OB's office immediately and another Dr called me back. He said that he believed me but was sure that the High Risk Specialist really did believe that my baby was fine, but lied in my chart to cover his butt should anything go wrong and I wanted to sue, as a Dr's written word is more valuable in a court of law than the word of his patients. He went on to say that it was a good thing that my husband was in the meeting with me, and heard what really happened so I could not be portrayed as another "hormonal pregnant woman."

The truth of the matter is that had Isabel lived, I would have never discovered the lie in my chart. People don't typically request medical records unless things go horribly wrong.

Now, the story of the Autopsy....

I called my former OB's office a couple times looking for the Autopsy Report and I wasn't getting anywhere. The receptionist was curt and rude to me, so I decided that I wasn't going to deal with her anymore and that I was going to start calling the Coroner directly.

He was kind enough to take my phone call but unfortunately for me, mixed my baby up with someone else's in his mind, and told me that he saw serious problems with Isabel's heart and sent it to a specialist in Brooklyn. Yes, seriously. Now, for a whole month I believed that there was something wrong with my babies heart, until he finally realized his mistake and revealed that Isabel's heart was there in the hospital the whole time and was fine. There was nothing wrong with her heart. Oops.

Now about 2 months have passed and I finally have the Autopsy Report in hand and lo' and behold, another shocker, the Autopsy findings revealed that Isabel actually didn't have a 2-vessel cord either. Isabel had a 3 vessel cord, as she should have. The Coroner told me that this was a very important find. It sure was.

He went on to explain to me that Dr’s can’t give their patients proper care because they have to take on too many patients to afford their outrageous insurance premiums. I had just gone through 14 hours of labor and the subsequent delivery of my stillborn daughter. My OB wasn't even there come delivery time. There were 2 residents there on staff that day. The Dr's said nothing would turn up on the autopsy but not having an autopsy done on Isabel was out of the question. There was no way that I was not going to cover all of my bases. Now, I was to understand that the Dr’s couldn’t possibly take care of me and my baby because they have to take on more patients than they can handle because of the insurance companies? We all have a big problem on our hands then.

After Isabel's delivery, I remember the nurses would bring her to me but then after a while would take her away. This went on for what seemed like forever. In the end the nurses told me that it was time to bring her down to the morgue. I asked to hold her one more time to say goodbye. I didn't want to let her go but I knew it was time...she had grown so cold in my arms.

Having endured all of this, I did not accept the Dr's explanation that Isabel's death was a "fluke, just bad luck." I knew that there had to be something else going on and there was no way that I could endure having another stillborn, so I began to ask other women if they had any recommendations for another High Risk Specialist. I was led to another hospital with Dr's, who in the end, determined what went wrong and gave me my son.

The High Risk specialist that was recommended to me looked at my chart for about 5 minutes and told me that it was his opinion that my baby did not die from a two vessel cord and at this point, the autopsy results weren't even in yet. He told me he thought I had Gestational Thrombophilia and that there were "red flags all over my chart." He took 14 vials of blood that day. Side note... my new Dr's recommend women be tested for Gestational Thrombophilia after enduring THREE or more miscarriages or ONE Stillbirth.

I am grateful for my new physicians for taking me on, for determining course of treatment, watching me closely and giving me my son. Had I not been medicated from conception with him, not only would my son have died, a pregnancy for me without blood thinners could prove fatal for me as well.

I'm sharing my story in the hopes that I may empower other women to trust in themselves and their instincts. As you can see from what I have endured, our physicians are not always right. Whether it be a lack of knowledge on their parts, that their priorities are wrong because there is too much focus on how to cover their butts to avoid lawsuits, instead of spending the time caring for their patients, or whether patients are slipping through the cracks because the physicians have taken on more patients than they can handle, doesn't matter.

None of these reasons are acceptable. What happened to us isn't ok.

I will spend the rest of my life wondering if Isabel would be here with us today if I had just gone for a 2nd opinion and switched physicians. Would my new Dr's been able to save her? I ignored my instincts and listened to my former Dr's because they were the ones with the medical degrees. I trusted them. Maybe it was too late for Isabel at that point. I don't know. I know for a fact though that had I not followed my instincts after Isabel died, that my son would not be here with me today.

That is a fact.

My former Dr's thought Isabel's death was a fluke, just bad luck, they told me that I could wait a couple of cycles and try again. That wasn't true though. My instincts told me to seek out new physicians and those physicians determined that I needed specialized care. I needed blood thinners. I needed Dr's who were going to be watching me on an almost weekly basis. Even with the medication, my son needed to be delivered at 35 weeks. Thankfully my new Dr's took me seriously, medicated me and kept a close eye. For as grateful as I am to God and my new Doctors, I know that my son would not be here with us today if it weren't for my instincts and perseverance.

I realize that most people have pregnancies like the one I had with my daughter. Aside from all of the morning sickness, it was perfect. I loved my Dr. at the time because he was a nice guy, but other than performing the c-section for a 10 lb 13oz baby, there wasn't anything involved in my pregnancy with her that anyone had to worry about. Then came Isabel and it all fell apart. Everyone took for granted that I should have non-eventful perfect pregnancies because I had one child already. That lax attitude had grave consequences for my Isabel, and could very well have ended in grave consequences for my son.

I was hesitant to blog about this because sharing my story has resulted in a lot of pain for me at times and I don't want to be hurt anymore than I have. In the end, although difficult, I decided to post this because if I could help one woman trust in herself, then it will have been worth it to me.

I have a lot of respect for my kids Pediatrician...well, so far, so good, and before I even had to go into my whole spiel about my lack of trust in local physicians, he had already written a referral for an eye specialist for my daughter in Manhattan. "They're the best," he said.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baking with Kids - Chocolate Covered Cherries

10 oz. Pkg. Powdered Sugar

1/2 c. Butter, softened

1 T. Evaporated milk

2 t. Vanilla extract

2 10 oz. Jars Maraschino cherries, with or without stems, drained

12 oz. chocolate flavored candy coating

6 oz. Pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Here's What You Do

Blend together sugar, butter, evaporated milk and vanilla. Wrap each cherry in about 1 tsp. sugar mixture. Arrange on wax paper in a baking pan and chill overnight.

Melt together candy coating and chocolate chips in a double boiler; stir until melted and blended. Use a candy dipper to dip cherries in chocolate, tapping off excess. Place on wax paper to cool.

Well, this was not one of my finer moments. This is one of the Gooseberry Patch recipes that I was most excited to try too. The recipe looked innocent enough, but, Oh no, NEVER again, what a pain in the neck. This was a tedious nightmare!

It seemed to me, right off the bat, that the powdered sugar mixture was going to be a problem. The texture of it seemed all wrong, the cherries were difficult to wrap, and there was no way that we were going to be able to make them all nice and neat and uniform.

So, my daughter and I wrapped each of the tiny little cherries, in the very messy mixture, as best we could.  At one point, she knocked the bowl containing the sugary mixture off of the table, and some of the sugar fell all over the floor. My son hurried over and had a field day playing in the sugary mess.....eating some and wearing most. I just couldn't get to him fast enough because my hands were so messy from the mixture. Now that I think about it though, he was so messy, what was a little more gunk!

We finally finished the cherries, cleaned ourselves up, and placed the cherries in the fridge to chill overnight.

The next day my daughter and I dipped each sugar covered cherry in the chocolate and again, it was a very messy, tedious project. At this point, I didn't even bother to melt the dipping chocolate and chocolate chips in the double boiler. I just opened up the pre-packed chocolate, put it in the microwave and we started dipping. The added weight of the chocolate on the sugary cherry pulled the stems off some while dipping.

They were too sweet for me and Stephen but on the bright side, my daughter was happy and she and my son loved them. We shared with Stephen's cousins and they loved them too.

If we make chocolate covered cherries in the future, I think we'll skip the sugar step altogether, and just dip the maraschino cherry straight in the chocolate.

This is not to say that you won't have better luck. If any of you try this recipe and can give me some helpful tips, I'd consider trying it again... sometime in the not so near future.... perhaps a few years from now, when the memory of the tediousness has faded, and I start to think of this ordeal, as the time when my son looked absolutely adorable all covered in sugar, while my daughter and I had a fabulously-fun time making chocolate covered cherries together!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Turkey Bacon - EXPOSED!

I'm sure, like me, some of you have purchased Oscar Mayer's turkey bacon in place of their regular pork bacon. I used to buy it when I was in the mood for bacon and eggs or a BLT. I was getting the taste that I wanted, without the guilt. After all, there it is written in large print on the front of the packaging, "50% less fat".  For me, it was a pretty easy and painless food swap.

But then, I read an article in one of my husband's magazines...Men's Health, "Eat This, Not That"....and there it was..... the real bacon is better for you! Why? The fat and calories are exactly the same, per 2 slices of bacon, only turkey bacon has 360mg of sodium and Oscar Mayer's "real" bacon has 290mg of sodium.

I had to check it out for myself, so I went into the grocery store and checked out the nutritional information labels on both packages and I noticed, for the 1st time, that the turkey bacon's fat and calorie content is based on 1 slice of bacon, while the regular bacon's label is based on 2 slices.

Confirmed..... same fat and calorie content per 2 slices of bacon, only turkey bacon has 70mgs more sodium than the "real" thing!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baking With Kids - "The Best Bread Pudding" by Paula Deen

My daughter and I typically bake on the weekends. Last nights bread pudding adventure was inspired by an overabundance of Italian bread. See, my husband's cousins were given many loaves of bread by a friend who owns a small restaurant. The poor guy ordered all of these loaves for a customer, to be included in their catering order. The customer cancelled the order last minute and our friend was left with loaves upon loaves of Italian bread, which he so generously shared with Stephen's cousins, and they in turn, very generously shared with us.

What to do with all of this bread? Why, make bread pudding, of course!

Except, I had never made bread pudding before so I did a search on Food TV's website and came across "The Best Bread Pudding" recipe by Paula Deen. It seemed simple enough and I am so happy that we tried it because this bread pudding recipe is outstanding! It is rich and sweet and delicious and if you like bread pudding, I highly encourage you to try it too!


• 2 cups granulated sugar

• 5 large beaten eggs

• 2 cups milk

• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 3 cups cubed Italian bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl

• 1 cup packed light brown sugar

• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

• 1 cup chopped pecans

For the sauce:

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

• 1 egg, beaten

• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 1/4 cup brandy

Here's What You Do

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.

Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.

For the sauce:

Mix together the granulated sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy, stirring well. Pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.

This recipe calls for you to bake the bread pudding in the oven for 35-45 minutes, however, I kept it in much longer...about an hour. I did this because I was envisioning one of those thick bread puddings, that my husband has been served numerous times before, in various steakhouses (bread pudding is his favorite). I kept checking the pan and it seemed "loose" to me so I kept it in. When I finally went back to consult the picture on Food Network's website, I saw in the picture, that the bread pudding is meant to be on the loose side, with more of a yes, pudding-like appearance, rather than thick cake.

Our bread pudding was not at all over done though, even with the added baking time. We all absolutely loved it!  I hope that you try it and love it too. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Curb Your Enthusiasm

One of my friends was teasing me the other day, telling me that she wants me to write about corduroys because she loves them and says she wants me to bring them back! This cracked me up.

I'm also a fan of the corduroy pant... so I figured... heck, why not? I thought, hmmm what's so great about corduroys? How can I sing its comfie praises? How can we bring corduroy back? Well, not exactly back, as I noticed many pairs in fashionable colors at Ann Taylor Loft the other day.

Hmmm... Larry David, of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld fame, wears corduroys... and I have BIG love for him....SO....

Haiku to YOU, Larry David!

"Oh! Larry David.

Put on your corduroy pants.

Autumn brings a breeze."

Monday, October 5, 2009

What I Like About YOU, Sam's Club

1. Gallon of skim milk $1.90

2. Poland Spring, natural spring water, 35 pack case $4.34

3. 32 oz package of strawberries $3.90

4. Wonder, large white bread, 2/24oz loaves $2.97

5. Arnold Selects, 2 count package $4.08

6. Mott's 100% apple juice, 2/86oz bottles $3.82

7. Kellogg's Raisin Bran, 76.5 oz $6.58

8. 90% lean ground beef, $2.49 a pound

9. Kedem Grape Juice, 96oz bottle $4.38

10. Aisles and aisles of low priced deliciousness.... priceless.

We've finally done it! We've taken the plunge and went ahead and purchased a Warehouse club membership all of our very own. Sam's Club! I'm not a total stranger to warehouse shopping, as I've been riding my parents Costco coat tails for years. Only shopping for non-perishable items while visiting them though, as there is a two hour car ride from their Costco to our fridge. Secretly, I was always a little jealous of their robust pork chops, mouth-watering chicken pot pies and decadent spinach dip. But not anymore! We have arrived! Now, WE are a part of the warehouse shopping community and I LOVE every single budget-conscious, high quality, bulk purchasing, morsel of it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Baking with Kids - Heavenly Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I thought it would be fun for my daughter and I to do some baking on this nice lazy Sunday. I decided to try a recipe that we flagged in one of our Gooseberry Patch Christmas cookbooks. Just the other day, she asked if we could bake chocolate chip cookies on our next adventure, so I thought this would be a great recipe to try. They're not your average Chocolate Chip cookies either, as the recipe calls for 2T. instant coffee granules. It's a nice twist on an old classic.

2 c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

3/4 c. butter

2 T. instant coffee granules

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

11 1/2 oz. pkg.semi-sweet double chocolate mega-chips or 12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c. walnut halves, toasted (optional)

Here's What You Do
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Combine first 3 ingredients; stir well.

Combine butter and coffee granules in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until butter melts and coffee granules dissolve. Stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (don't let butter resolidify).

Combine butter mixture, sugars, egg and egg yolk in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixture until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until just blended.

Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts (optional).

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheets.

The cookies are really tasty and are very simple to make. As I mentioned, not your run of the mill chocolate chip cookies because of the instant coffee granules. I wasn't 100% sure that my daughter was going to like them because of this, but she absolutely loves them! She's already eaten 3!!! She didn't want walnuts in her cookies, so we omitted them from our recipe. We used regular chocolate chips instead of the mega-chunk chips because that's what we had in our pantry.  We were at Sam's Club yesterday and I scored a 72 oz. bag of regular semi-sweet chocolate chips for just $7.94 (woo hoo)!  I knew that they were going to come in handy with all of baking we have planned.

Hope that you try this recipe with your kids too and that they love the cookies as much as my daughter does.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nice Soft Pillow

"Mommy, your belly's a nice soft pillow"

Thanks honey.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lighten Up

It's been a crazy few weeks, thus making it really difficult for me to stay focused on my weight loss efforts. I'm still going to kickboxing 2-3 times a week, but I haven't been tracking my Weight Watcher points as usual. I'm so close to my goal now too.

As you may have gathered from my "Party of One" post, I am an emotional eater. I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I'm sad. I eat when I'm feeling stressed and anxious. It's been at my current stint at WW meetings, that the light bulb finally went off, and I realized that I look to food to comfort me, when there is no one else to. I recognize it but I do not have full control over it.

I recognize that I'm doing it now, and this new self-awareness is something I'm very grateful for because it has reigned me in, and I haven't done too much damage this time. See, we Weight Watchers follow a point system. I get my daily allotment of points, which are based on my weight and then get to add 5 extra points because I'm breastfeeding my son. Woo Hoo!!! And boy, do they come in handy. Especially for me, someone who has been nicknamed, "Snacks" by my 4-year old daughter.

Lately, I've been tracking the points in my head and not typing them in on my online tracker.  This has made for some creative point counting. When I use my online tracker, the point values of the foods that I'm eating are automatically subtracted from my daily allotment, and the number of points I have left for the day are left staring me right in the face. When I count in my head, I very conveniently "forget" some points that I've used up over the course of the day. A sandwich I may have valued at 7 points at lunch time, magically becomes 5 points at late night snack time. I think this is pretty common too among my fellow Weight Watchers.

I am recommitting myself this week and am going to try and bring back the things that have been working for me for the past 8 months. Now, this is not to say that there will not be many, many more blog posts describing "food parties" for one, as I am a work in progress.

I thought that it would be fun though, to share with you, some of the tips and tricks and creative food swaps that have been working for me in my future blog posts.

I'd love to hear about your Adventures in dieting too!!! Please leave any comments, funny stories, tips or tricks that you would like to share in the comments section of my blog.

side note..some friends have told me that they are having problems when trying to leave a comment on my blog. From what I understand you need to either sign up for a Google account, or leave a comment anonymously. You can always sign your name in the body of your "anonymous" comment, if you don't want to sign up for a Google account. Looking forward to hearing from you.