Archive for July 2011

I made pizza for dinner the other day.

I promise I’m not a pizza addict, I’m just a tired, exhausted mom, and making pizzas seems to be the quickest, healthiest, make-everyone-happy option for me. I can get the 2 year old to eat whatever I eat. The 5 year old likes everything “plain.” The husband doesn’t like vegetables unless he thinks it will earn him brownie points. 

It would have been so much easier to make plain cheese pizza for all of us. But I couldn’t let myself go there. I am trying to make my body healthier, not just thinner. 


They both started out the same – 110 Calorie/3g fat/7g fiber flat breads  and pasta sauce. Add the 50 cals for the pasta sauce and they were an equal 160.

But I had to add some veggies. I used mini bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, and green olives (literally every veggie I had in the fridge. I need to get to the grocery store and stock up!)

Calorie Count- Plain: 160 calories  Mine: 204 calories (well, technically 203.6)


  • Because I added a lot of toppings, I didn’t need a lot of cheese to make mine seem “sturdy” you know? I only added a little over 1/4 C of shredded low-fat cheese. I added over 1/2 C regular cheese to the other one (I don’t like to “waste” my low-fat, healthier foods on people who will chase it down with a package of oreo’s and a pint of ice cream.)

Calorie Count- Plain: 388 (258 if I had used reduced-fat cheese) Mine: 262

Either way, these are pretty healthy alternatives to traditional delivery pizza. But I just want to quickly point out that by bulking up my pizza with less than 40 calories of veggies (and it only took me a couple minutes to prep/clean) I was FULL, to the point where I only ate HALF of my pizza. The boys ate 2 of the cheese pizzas and wanted more. I only ate HALF of my pizza.

I think this is a classic example of why bulking up our foods really does fill us up more. By adding those extra calories, I only ate 130-ish calories of pizza, where if I had eaten the plain cheese, I probably would have eaten the entire pizza, 250 calories more! Again, I’m not saying eating the entire thing is bad, but I am learning to listen to my body’s signals again, and knowing when to walk away when my body says “ssssttttooooppp!!!”

Learning to bargain with your ingredients will really help you in the long term. Sure, I may have been hungry 3 hours later, but I probably would have been hungry after the cheese pizza too, and probably not have made as many wise choices. Every action and decision we make puts us on a path that will help influence later actions and decisions. Eating well early on in the day will propel me to eat well later. Walking away from my plate when I am full will encourage me to pick a good snack later (not the mini chocolate chip cookies I am snacking on RIGHT NOW! Bad girl!)

By the way, the point count for my entire pizza was 5 (6 WWPointsPlus)


The husband proudly came home the other day with 3 gigantic zucchinis. I LOVE ZUCCHINI. I only had 1 in my fridge (very unusual) so the addition was very welcome.

Imagine my surprise when I start cutting up the zucchini to add to my pasta, only to find it was a CUCUMBER. I’d never seen a cucumber like that before.

As you can see in the picture below, it looks like a gigantic zucchini. I have a regular sized zucchini pictured next to it. 

I’m always at a loss at what to do with a cucumber. Yeah, throw it in a salad. Make little tea sandwiches. Throw it in water. Get all culinary and make a chilled soup. Bo-ring. I’m not 80 and I don’t play bridge, so those ideas were all out of the question. So I did a little research. Cucumbers are a fruit, and are considered a gourd. Aren’t zucchinis gourd like? Well, that was my thinking. 

So here is what I created with my cucumbers:

Cheesy Dill Cucumber Bake

  • 4 cups of sliced and seeded cucumbers (I used two of these large ones)
  • 2 C chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 C Fat Free Half & Half
  • 2 C shredded WHITE cheese of your choice (I used a low-fat sharp white cheddar)
  • 1/4 C flour (or more, depending on how much you need to thicken the sauce)
  • 1 T dill weed
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bread crumbs (optional- I used about 1/2 C panko crumbs)
  1. Prepare the cucumbers by peeling them, seeding them, and slicing them into 1/4” slices. Then place them in a bowl lined with paper towels or cheesecloth and sprinkle about 1-2 teaspoons of salt over them to seep the water out. Press down, and let them drain for about 10 minutes. Pat them dry.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, place about 6 cups of water and add the cucumbers (I know this step doesn’t seem to make sense but I promise it will make a difference in the end.) Cook the cucumbers for about 5 minutes. Let them cool and pat dry again.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, add the broth and cook over medium-high heat until it boils.
  4. Add the half & half, stirring. Add garlic, dill, and salt and pepper.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and some water until it is incorporated without any lumps (this will be the cheese sauce thickener.) Add to the sauce.
  6. When liquid has reached a rolling boil, add the cheese, making sure to stir stir stir so the cheese doesn’t stick.
  7. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat.
  8. In an 8×8 pan, place the first layer of cucumbers.
  9. Layer cucumbers and sauce.
  10. Top with the reserved cheese, and if desired the breadcrumbs.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from oven and let it set to coagulate. I let mine sit for about 20 minutes.

I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, cucumbers are known for their aroma and crunch. I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and took a bite. Was that a cucumber I was eating? I swear that tasted exactly like zucchini. It had the same texture. With the pairing of the dill and the sharp white cheddar, it was a match made in heaven. I’m relieved. I really thought I’d have to discard the whole experiment. 

Next time I make it, I’m skipping the breadcrumbs. I think it would be perfect to use as a bed for tilapia. The sauce and cucumbers would compliment the fish perfectly. I was too lazy tonight to dig through the freezer to find any, so I just ate it as is.

Servings – 4 (NOTE: Points values does not include the breadcrumbs)

Points per serving: 3 Points per serving (4 WW PointsPlus)

Adding a tilapia filet would make this a 6 point dinner. You can’t beat that!


Posted on: July 2, 2011

Check out the link above….

I bought some Sprout baby food at the store because they varieties were mouth-watering, plus I had a coupon.  They come in thin plastic zip-lock type packages, and come in flavors like “baked sweet potatoes & white beans” and my baby’s favorite, “pasta with lentil bolognese.” 

With the coupon, they are comparable in price to the jarred brands, but they are certified organic, and again, the varieties are astounding! And they taste REALLLLLY GOOD! It’s rare that baby food gets the mom-approval when it comes to taste. Anyway, check out the TerraCycle site, it offers a way to recycle the packages for this baby food, along with many other products, plus they donate the proceeds to charity. 

Baby Food Find! Plus- I’m Saving the Earth!


Posted on: July 2, 2011

I made Jack the test-dummy for our new homemade baby food experiments. I think he liked it…