Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday Recipes

I was inspired by my weight watchers meeting Saturday to try a few new recipes yesterday.  

Up first:  Simple Cornbread/Corncake

(from my WW Leader, adopted from the Emily Bites Chicken Tamale Bake Recipe

This is literally, a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix and a can of Creamed Corn.  Bake in a 9x13 dish at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 


I think I misheard my leader, because this was essentially a disaster. Perhaps she baked it in a square pan, instead of 9x13.  I think muffins might even be a good option.  But this came out rather flat and took much longer to bake than the recipe called for. Curtis (quite rightly) remarked that it reminded him of corn cake.  I quickly agreed, and resolved to serve this a side with our dinner this afternoon (see recipe no. 2) 

Damage: not much at all since we didn't eat much of it.  Points breakdown is 3 points for 1/12 of a serving. 

Second: Taco Casserole Bake

As you might recall my first Emily Bites Recipe was the Pasta Bake, which I've made twice now and is very tasty.  I love the casserole concept because it's easy to make leftovers out of for lunches.  Here we go: 

25 Baked Tostitos Scoops
1 T Chili Oil (I found this in the Asian foods aisle) - if you are considering replacing this with regular oil please note the chili oil adds a lot of spice and flavor to this dish, so replacing it will affect the flavor profile
1 Onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ lbs extra lean ground turkey (I used Jennie-O which comes in a 1.25 lb package) [I accidentally purchased regular ground turkey but it didn't change the points value]
2 T taco seasoning
15 oz can black beans, drained
1 c salsa (I used medium)
1 c 2% shredded Mexican cheese 

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2.    In a large skillet, warm the chili oil and sauté onions and garlic until softened. Add ground turkey and taco seasoning, break up into pieces and cook until meat is browned. Mix in salsa and beans and cook for a few more minutes until salsa thickens. [I used the George Foreman to Cut out some Fat on the front end]
3.    Break up the tortilla chips into bite sized pieces and use them to line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Evenly spread the meat mixture over the chips and then sprinkle cheese over the top*. Bake for 20 minutes.

*Additional Serving Options:
This casserole is great on its own, but it you’d like to cut the heat it can be served with a dollop of guacamole or reduced fat sour cream. I ate some of my leftovers with 2T of Wholly Guacamole. You can also add jalapenos, black olives or any other toppings you’d like before baking. Toppings will affect the P+ value.


It was tasty, but we had three comments:
1. It would be great as a dip, but we did feel it was left wanting as a stand-alone dish.  It really needs chips or a tortilla. 
2. Some chopped tomato on the top would look great and taste great. 
3. We are not ground turkey people - we should have used ground beef.  It probably wouldn't have resulted in more points (or you could just use less) and would be much more in our wheelhouse. 

On the plus side, it was remarkably easy to make, and wasn't as spicy as I feared it would be.  I would probably make it again, albeit with some variations to make it go faster. It was my first time mincing garlic and I don't have a chopper so doing everything by hand was time-consuming. 

Damage:  1/8 of the casserole alone is only 5 points, which is especially great for lunches.  I added 1/4 an avocado (2 points), 1 TB fat free sour cream (0 points), and a scoop of "corncake" (2 points) to my meal.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I don't like cars anymore.

I like to keep my blog generally superficial, report on life moments, perhaps provide an opinion or two, but never anything overly personal because, well, this is a public website, and I keep much of my life and inner-most thoughts to myself, or in limited ways, to my close family and friends.  This post is a rare exception.

I saw something this morning that I want to write about, in hopes that I can get past it and get some work done today.  I took an unusual way through downtown Mobile to work because of traffic in the main tunnel.  There was a really bad accident on a corner.  The kind of accident where they tape up the windows so you can't see in, kind of accident.  This was the second time I've ever seen this, the first was on the way back from Utah last year.  As selfish as it is, I will always think that that could have been me.

Many of you know that I lost my dream car, my mustang convertible, on the 110 freeway going home from school in November of 2010.  My close friends and family also know that, even though I only came away with your typical post-accident whiplash pain, the mental pain was much deeper.  It wasn't my first car accident, but it was the first (and hopefully the only) in which I know that, thanks to some quick thinking on my part, I probably saved my own life.  I got clipped on the drivers' side by a big rig, which sent me swerving to my right, and thanks to my car's handling, I was able to correct before going head first into the concrete barrier wall.  My passenger side hit the wall, and although the body and the axle sustained total loss damage (I think the body shop was amazed that I was okay), since the car literally went up the barrier and bounced off of it, the cab stayed intact and my airbags did not deploy.  Also very thankfully, no other cars were involved.

But the accident fundamentally changed the way I look at driving.  It made me realize that when it comes to car accidents, especially high speed accidents, the difference between walking away from an accident and being killed in an accident is very small.  I stopped driving regularly for awhile after my accident, because it scared me, and I am all too happy to no longer be commuting in California (north or south).  But these things can happen on a street in downtown Mobile too.  Just yesterday the PA announcer for the Red Sox was killed in a car accident when he hit a tree.  We all need to be careful when on the road, try not to go too fast, and be alert to what is around us. Too many people are hurt and killed each year from car accidents to be worth slacking off about this.

And I look forward to the day that we all have automatic cars - Nevada just registered its first Google car this week.