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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lighter General Tso Chicken (from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food)

Yes yes yes . . . it has been awhile.  Work, family, school and spring weather have distracted me. 

Here's a recipe I blatantly stole from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine and website (I adore her stuff).

It is tasty, has a kick and is just over 300 calories per serving.  WAY less than restaurant General Chicken.

It has become a pretty regular meal at our house (well, the kids won't touch it - but that's alright.  One recipe serves 4 so we have lunch the next day).


  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1.Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.

2.In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.

3.In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).

4.Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.


Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1.4 of total mixture
Amount per Serving:
Calories                       304
Calories from Fat         11.2
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1.24g                         1%
Saturated Fat 0.05g                    0%
Cholesterol 30.38mg                10%
Sodium 604.63mg                     25%
Total Carbohydrate 39.55g     13%
Dietary Fiber 3.34g                    13%
Sugars 12.71g                            
Protein 29.44g                          58%

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lighter Carbonara

Had a craving for fettucine carbonara ... but heavy cream, parmesesan and bacon are not exactly diet-friendly.  However, I have found a way to prepare this meal and still make it tasty *and* low-fat. 

Lighter Carbonara - Serves Appx 6

6 oz. Whole Wheat Fusilli (or any other pasta)
8 slices Center-Cut Bacon, sliced thinly
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (I used a microplane for a fine grate)
1 Whole Egg
1/2 C Fat Free Half & Half
1 C Frozen Peas
2 Cloves Garlic, finely diced
1/2 C Finely Diced Onion (or 1 med-sized yellow onion - it's close enough)
1 C water (I reserved 1 C of the pasta water)

Chop bacon and fry in a deep frying pan or a dutch oven.  Set aside, reserving bacon grease (unless there's a lot, then remove some, only saving enough to cook the onion and garlic).

In a separate pan, boil pasta according to manufacturer's directions.  Drain and set aside (reserving 1 C of the pasta water in case your carbonara sauce is too thick).

Back in the frying pan, saute onion and cook until translucent (appx 5 minutes).  Add garlic and cook until softened.  Add peas and cook for a few minutes until they're no longer frozen.  Turn off heat.

In a bowl, combine parmesean cheese, egg and half & half. 

When the pasta is done, combine everything in the frying pan and heat through until the sauce is warmed and at the desired consistency.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                   172                        Calories from Fat          73.0
Total Fat                  8.11 g
    Saturated Fat       3.83 g
Cholesterol              53.38 mg
Sodium                    205.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate  13.2g
     Dietary Fiber       2.13g
     Sugars                 2.13g
Protein                     11.62g

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Making the Switch

Well, after one year of Weight Watchers (and losing nearly 30 lbs), I'm bored with point counting - and honestly, I "get" portion sizes - so I thought calorie counting would work better for me.  There are many online and smart-phone programs which are free and easy to use. 

I am currently beta testing and My Fitness Pal.  I am leaning towards Livestrong, but that's mostly due to the recipes posted on their site and the recipe builder.  Whichever one I decide on for the next stage of loss & maintenance, I am happy with the additional 4 lbs lost since making the switch.  I'll be posting more recipes now that I've discovered the calorie counter on the Livestrong Recipe Builder section.  :-)

Here's my light version of PF Chang's Lettuce Wrap   

Makes 12 wraps, serves 3 (4 full wraps per person)                  

10 oz ground or finely chopped chicken breast
1/2 C onion
1 carrot, grated
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1" piece of raw ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 t sesame oil
2 1/2 T soy sauce
1 T water
1/2 T honey
1 T rice vinegar
2 t Sriracha Sauce
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 C cabbage (or spinach, or arugula, etc) finely chopped
8 oz water chestnuts, finely chopped
salt & pepper
12 lettuce leaves
1/4 C peanuts, roughly chopped (optional - I leave it out to save calories)

1. Heat a large, non-stick skillet on high. Add chicken, onion, salt & pepper, and cook until chicken is nearly done, stirring often to break up the meat. Add in minced garlic and ginger, and continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink.

2. Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, water, peanut butter, honey, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce and pepper. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until smooth. Add into the skillet and stir to combine. 

3 Add green onion, carrot, cabbage and water chestnuts into the skillet then cook for 1-2 minutes until the onions are soft and everything is heated through. 

4. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts (optional), and serve with cold lettuce leaves

Nutrition Facts (without peanuts)

Serving Size:                 4 wraps

Amount per Serving:     Calories 249
                                    Calories from Fat 60.5
                                                             % Daily Value *
Total Fat 6.72g                                    10%
Saturated Fat 0.93g                               4%
Cholesterol 61.11mg                           20%
Sodium 1057.79mg                              44%
Total Carbohydrate 23.03g                7%
Dietary Fiber 4.66g                            18%
Sugars 8.13g
Protein 5.94g                                       51%

Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat                                                      98%
Carbs                                                  37%
Protein                                                41%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snowflake Challenge Part 2

So after I was disappointed with Round 1, I dismantled and started fresh.  I added my own silver chain, freshwater pearls and some other beads.  I had nothing in mind other than making something I liked.  Blue is my favorite color, so I definitely wanted to use as many of the kit's beads as possible.  I added a pair of simple earrings from the beads I did not use on the necklace.  I added the pearls so that the necklace did not have too much of a winter feel to it.  I tend to wear blue more in the summer than the winter, so I designed the necklace to be worn over a turtleneck as well as with a v-neck t-shirt and a navy cardigan. 

I have no intention of selling this set, unless the price is right. ;-) 

For those who aren't part of the contest, here is the kit we received. . . .

Here's the chaos  .  .  .  . 

Here's the finished product . . . . 22" necklace and earrings. . . .

A close-up of the beautiful pendant and blue beads . . . . 

And finally, here's the necklace, on a black background. 

Here is a link to the host blog which contains the other contest participants:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Secret Snowflake Challenge - Part 1

So I finally got the time to sit down and work on the jewelry/beading challenge . . . . I had been trying to sit down and work on it for the past 7 or 8 straight days.  But with a family, a full-time job and getting ready for next semester of my MBA, well . . . . time is not on my side.   (Please disregard the fish tank, holiday placemats and Incredible Hulk). 

Meh.  It's alright.  22" lariat styled necklace and two french hook earrings.  I used my own stash for the "back" part of the necklace so that the prettier, "competition" beads could be showcased in the front. 

I like it.  But I don't LOVE it. 

So this is draft one.  I am going to dismantle this and re-do it with a new design in mind.

Stay tuned.  :-)

Before I forget, here's a link to the other participants:

Friday, December 23, 2011

The rush of the holiday

So I started the day with the lofty goal of cleaning my entire house, prepping all Christmas day food, doing all the laundry and also finding time to start my jewelry contest project. 

So far, I'm pretty happy with what I've accomplished . . .  I started my day with a 9am hot rock massage.  Then went to the grocery story for the 90th time this week (feels like it anyway).  Took the older kid to the doctor for what appeared to be an ear infection (wasn't, thank goodness) and got an ice pack for the younger kid who managed to take a header into the corner. .. her shiner is looking much better now.  The 2nd load is in the washer and the house is still a wreck.  I think I'll treat myself to a dirty floor for Christmas.  The dogs will just be tracking mud in anyway, as we still have no snow in my part of Michigan!

So far I've manged to prep the spinach artichoke dip, the cold spinach dip (the one you serve with pumpernickel bread), a cheeseball, some cream cheese & salsa dip, my nearly world-famous bean dip, some salmon spread and the crab rangoon filling.  And I managed to squeeze in dinner of a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and some homemade cheese scalloped potatoes.  All that really remains for Sunday is the cocktail sauce (which I ever buy, I'm a girl of Polish heritage, we Pols need our fresh horseradish . . that store-bought stuff is never horseradishy enough for me!)

Spinach Artichoke Dip:
1 block cream cheese (fat free is just fine if you're diet conscious)
handful of shredded mozarella
1/2 C fresh grated pamesean
handful of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 can artichokes, drained & chopped
generous scoop of sour cream (fat free is just fine)
garlic powder until is smells garlicy enough for you (somewhere between 1/2 t and 1 T or 4-6 fresh cloves, mashed to a paste)

Place all ingredients in an oven-proof casserole dish.  Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until slightly browned and bubbly.

Bean Dip:
1 can refried beans
1 can black beans
1 jar salsa (any variety)
1 T each: cumin, cilantro, onion powder, garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Heat in an oven-proof casserole dish at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or in a crock pot or on the stove top or in a microwave until heated through.

Mixture also freezes wonderfully.  I often make a double batch and then freeze half for a rainy day.  Can be mixed with taco meat or cooked chicken for burritos or enchiladas.  Also makes a great nacho topping.

These are the only recipes I can think of off the top of my head.  If anyone is interested, I will look the others up and post them as well. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, if that's what you celebrate - otherwise, have a good weekend.  We have been jokingly having a Festivus Celebration today - in preparation for the Christmas get together. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let's get this started . . . . .

So I joined a jewelry contest.  Part of the rules were to share our construction photos and ideas for our piece by putting stuff on our blogs.  So now I have a blog. 

I'll admit, I read a few blogs. . . but never really had the desire to start one of my own.  I'm funnier in person than on paper . . . so who would want to read that? 

I'm an amazing cook, but rarely write the stuff down (I'm one of those annoying people who measures by handfuls and pinches and how it smells or looks). 

I do a lot of crafty things - mostly jewelry, but I also work on other odd projects.  Metal forming, glass fusing, some beadwork, etc.  I am attempting my first "real" sewing project this Christmas season - so that could very well turn up on here. 

So welcome to my world.  I'm hoping this will be more of a crafting and cooking thing . . . but who knows what this will end up being! 

Have a great weekend!