Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple Pork Loin {Revisited}

As of today, it is officially the Fall season for me. I've got my favorite Fall dish of all time in the oven and my stomach can hardly stand the wait. The only difference this time, is that I've made tons of calorie cuts to make this dish diet friendly!

Here is the original list of ingredients....
-1-1/4 cup Apple Cider
-2-1/2 lb Boneless Pork Sirloin
-2 tsp Salt
-1 tsp Pepper
-3 tbsp Olive Oil
-2 small Onions-cut into 1/2 inch wide wedges
-2 Pink Lady or Honeycrisp Apples-peeled,cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
-2 cloves Garlic-sliced
-1/4 cup Chicken Broth
-2 tsp dried Thyme (or 4 fresh Thyme sprigs)
-2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
-4 tbsp cold Butter

Per serving (4 servings total) this is a whopping 645 calories and 34 grams of fat!
This dish isn't even on my point scale for Weight Watchers!

So here is the new and improved Apple Pork Loin {diet friendly}:
-1-1/4 cup Apple Juice
-1-1/2 lb Boneless Pork Loin Sirloin
-2 tsp Salt
-1 tsp Pepper
-Pam Canola Oil Cooking Spray
-2 small Onions-cut into 1/2 inch wide wedges
-2 Pink Lady or Honeycrisp Apples-peeled,cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
-2 cloves Garlic-sliced
-1/4 cup Fat-Free Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
-2 tsp dried Thyme (or 4 fresh Thyme sprigs)
-2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
-2 tbsp cold Butter

Let's go through the ingredients and talk about the changes I made, shall we?
1. Apple Cider to Apple Juice
-There was no real reason for this change. I couldn't find Apple Cider unless I wanted to buy a gallon of it, so I opted for a single serving Apple Juice bottle instead. I just wanted to save money and I've never seen a big difference in taste between the two with cooking.

2.  2-1/2 lb Pork Loin to 1-1/2 lb Pork Loin
Dusty and I do not need to be eating that much meat! There is only two of us and with Weight Watchers, I have learned about portion control and the proper size of meat per serving.

3. Where did the Olive Oil go?
I took out the olive oil because that was a lot of unwanted fat and calories. I achieved the same sear on the pork loin and was able to carmelize the onions, apple and garlic without 3 tbsp of olive oil and just a couple sprays of Pam Canola Oil instead. I promise, you won't notice the difference!

4. Regular Chicken Broth to Fat-Free Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
Who needs the extra fat and sodium? The dish is delicious without it and it's better for you too!

5. 4 tbsp Butter to 2 tbsp Butter
The purpose of the butter in this recipe to create creamy wonderfulness at the end. I'm sure I won't miss those 2 extra tablespoons as long as some butter is there! It's still going to be creamy and it's still going to be wonderful, just without the unnecessary grams of fat and calories.

So what is the grand total of calories now for this delicious dish?
Drumroll please....

345 calories and 13 grams of fat!
7 points per serving for all of you WW people out there!

YAY! Success!

I'm also enjoying a 9 oz baked potato with dinner that is only 4 points and I'm going to take some of the reserve apple/onion chutney from the dish to smother on my potato it instead of using butter and sour cream.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time Flies....

Has it really been 12 days since my last blog post? Wow. I'm a terrible blogger right now. The sad thing is, 12 days ago was the last time I had a day off. On days that I'm not at work, I'm at school. It's been insane, exhausting and I am so thankful to have this Sunday off!

Here is what has been going on in the past 12 days since I last wrote...

1) I'm lovin' nursing school. Labs have been so much fun with eye/ear assessments, learning how to make a proper hospital bed and take vital signs. Dusty is my practice dummy and gets his vitals taken everyday. I'm happy to tell you he has awesome blood pressure, respiration and pulse!

2) At work we are remodeling the entire store, which means I'm getting a great workout at work with all the lifting, pushing and moving I've been doing to get the store lookin' pretty.

3) This week my favorite TV shows (Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy) have returned. My life is complete.

4) Today I'm so excited to have the opportunity to work with the nurses at St. Vincent's Hospital to do blood pressure readings at the Yellowstone Valley Women's Health Fair! It's going to be great practice and an awesome experience.

5) Monday and Tuesday we are going over wound care in class. I'm not looking forward to this. Pressure ulcers make me squirm and gaggy. I won't be eating before those classes.

6) Dusty and I went to the traveling WWI exhibit this morning in Billings. It was really fun and I loved looking at all the uniforms and artifacts. If it comes to your city/town, you should definitely take the time to stop by and check it out. We really enjoyed it!

7) On Tuesday, Dusty and I went on a "date night" to Olive Garden and to see The Lion King in 3D. It was my first time eating at Olive Garden and I gotta say I was really disappointed. Why did it have all that hype? Dusty warned me that Olive Garden wasn't good, but I had to experience it. It was on my "to-do" list of places to eat. Now I've come to the conclusion that I hate chain restaurants. On the otherhand, I LOVED watching The Lion King. I forgot how much I love that movie! It's funny how much you pick up in the movie when you are an adult compared to when you are little. Just the little things that went over your head, now finally make sense. It was a good time.

8) My cooking has taken a slight turn for the worse. I've been making "diet friendly" dishes and Dusty is not happy about it and I gotta admit, I'm not happy either. I miss butter. I miss heavy cream. I miss baking. If you have diet friendly recipes that are absolutely delicious, PLEASE SEND THEM TO ME! I tried making cupcakes without the use of oil and eggs, and it was terrible. I wanted to cry and I threw them out. I've lost 16 pounds, but I want to make good food too! With my blog in the past year I've taught myself how to make delicious rich foods, but now I need to learn how to make delicious light foods. It's an adjustment and I'm working on it.

So this is what has been going on with my life in the past 12 days. Not very exciting, right? This is why I haven't posted since then. But I'm going to be on the search for light and delicious dishes to share with you all because butter and heavy cream aren't good for the waistline (especially if you need to fit into a wedding dress!).

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Football Spicy Wings

It's that time of the year. Back to school, the fall season, cooler weather to finally turn our ovens back on  and....Football! Tonight is the first Cowboy's game of the season, which means it's time to celebrate for Dusty. He has been a die-hard Cowboy's fan since before he can remember, so I'm making him the ultimate "man food" of chicken wings in honor of the game.

Is it delicious?

Is it spicy?

Will your fingers get dirty and will you be licking them?

Will your lips be tingling?

Are they high calorie?

That is the best part of this recipe! I made chicken wings last year for a big Cowboy's game when Dusty had all the guys over and boy were they high caloric. Not that they weren't delicious, but with being on Weight Watchers and all, I wanted to enjoy some this year too and not get left out! So I did some researchin' and found this amazing recipe for chicken wings from Gina's Skinny Recipes. This website has saved me while I've been dieting. It's fantastic, the recipes are delicious, and you gotta check it out!

So can you guess how many calories these bad boys have???
Take a guess....
Give up?

250 calories and only 6 points for 2 wings!
My wings were a little bit larger than the original recipe on Gina's Skinny Recipes. Mine were about 4 ounces per wing, so that is 8 ounces per serving (1/2 lb). But even so, 6 points/250 calories is awesome and I didn't feel left out at all! Plus Dusty said that they tasted just as good, if not better, than the wings I made last year with all that butter and frying oil I'd used before. SCORE!

Here is what you are going to need for 3 servings:
-1-1/2 lbs Chicken Wings (6 wings)
-1/4 cup +1 tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce
-2 tbsp White Vinegar
-1 tsp dried Oregano
-2 tsp Paprika
-1-1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
-1-1/2 tsp Chili Powder
-Salt and Pepper
-Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing (extra calories and points)

In a large plastic bag, combine 1 tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce, white vinegar, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cut the extra little funky tips off the chicken wings because they are useless and don't have any meat. Toss the trimmed wings into the bag with the marinade, shake it up well and let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the broiler on Low for 5 minutes. Place the wings on an aluminum covered and greased (cooking spray) baking sheet. Place them in the oven, about 8 inches away from the broiler (about the middle rack) and bake for 8-10 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, warm up the remaining 1/4 cup of Frank's Hot Sauce.

Once the chicken has been cooked all the way through, remove them from the oven and toss them, one at a time, in the saucepan of warmed hot sauce. Arrange the wings on a platter or 2 wings on your plate with some veggies and ranch/blue cheese dressing for the ultimate "man food" for the big game!


Pictured Above: Wings with Veggies and 2 tbsp of Light Ranch Dressing = 8 points!
Recipe Source: Gina's Skinny Recipes

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

BBQ Macaroni Salad

You are going to love this macaroni salad! Only 5 ingredients and you have a super easy and incredibly tasty side dish. This has become my go-to mac salad because I almost always have the ingredients on hand and it only takes about 10-12 minutes to make.

So here is what you are going to need {4 servings}:
-1 cup of dry Elbow Macaroni
-Salt and Pepper
-1/3 cup Mayonnaise
-1 tsp Chili Powder
-2 tbsp BBQ Sauce
-2 Greeen Onions-sliced thin

Pretty simple, right???

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a pot. Add macaroni and 1/2 tbsp salt to boiling water and cook until tender. Drain macaroni and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain briefly, so that the macaroni is still moist, then transfer to a large bowl.

Add mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, green onions and chili powder to the bowl....

...And toss to combine.
Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
You can either eat it now because the temptation will be too great, or you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill it for about 30 minutes to an hour. Either way, it's all good!

Now I know I told you I was doing Weight Watchers, and I'm sure you guys are all thinking, "Really Haley? Pasta salad with Mayo?"
But let me tell you what....each serving of pasta salad is 4 points, approximately 200 calories! Each servings is a heaping 1/4 cup scoop of pasta salad and it is more than enough!

I had this for dinner last night and it was a grand total of 8 points!

Macaroni Salad = 4 points
Grilled Chicken Breast (3 oz) = 3 points
Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin = 1 point
Veggies (no spread) for Chicken Sandwich = 0 points
Chopped Tomato with Salt, Pepper and Dried Basil = 0 points

This just shows you can enjoy an absolutely delicious dinner for low calories (or points)!

Recipe Source: America's Test Kitchen 30 Minutes Meals

Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting Married!!!!

I'm so excited to announce that Dusty and I are going to be getting married July 13th, 2013!

That would be 677 days from now....just in case you were curious. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Last Friday I was so excited that Dusty was coming home from harvest, I just wanted to see him after him being gone for a month. It was probably one of the longest months of my life because I missed him so much. So you wouldn't believe how happy and excited I was that the day he came home from harvest that he popped the question!
It was the best day of my life.

The Proposal:
Dusty had only been home for an hour when he suggested for fun that we should go look at engagement rings at the mall, just for the heck of it. Also, because he knows how much I love going to the jewelry stores to look at the rings (because I like to drop unsubtle hints about wanting to marry him!). It would just be something fun to do on a hot day. I didn't really feel like getting out of my comfy clothes, so I suggested we could look online at some of the rings before going to actually look. As we were looking through the rings online, Dusty got up and walked behind me and the couch, not thinking anything of it I kept looking at the rings. From behind, Dusty said, "Oh, I really like that ring."
"Which one?" I asked, not aware of anything going on behind me.
"That one!"
"Ok, seriously. Which one are you pointing at?"
"This one..."

As I turn around, I look back to see Dusty holding a box with the most gorgeous ring I have ever seen in my entire life! At first I'm not believing my eyes, I thought I was seeing and imagining things, until he asked me...
"Will you marry me?"

I tossed the computer to the side, covered my mouth with my hand in complete shock, stood up to hug him and started crying hysterically saying, "Really? Oh my gosh! Really? YES!!! OF COURSE!!!"

It was the most wonderful moment of my life.

Dusty's hands were trembling as he took the ring out of the box and as he placed it on my finger. We were both smiling, laughing, hugging and crying tears of joy all at the same time. I'll never forget it. It was absolutely the most perfect proposal.

And can you believe how gorgeous this ring is???
He did good!

As it turns out, earlier in the month, Dusty, his mom and sister went to pick it out. He said that the moment he saw it, he knew it was the ring for me. I love that fact that his family was involved in helping him pick it out, it really means a lot to me, plus I love how the ring looks like an heirloom, even though it's not.
It's just absolutely stunning. Hopefully I don't get in a car accident, because I find myself staring at it while I'm driving! 

I also love that Dusty called my parents 5 days before he came home to ask for my parents blessing. I'm impressed that they were able to keep it a secret! I had absolutely no idea and was completely surprised!
Good job guys! Great work!

The Wedding:
Dusty and I have decided to wait until July 13th, 2013 to get married instead of next summer because we are both starting out our school programs this year, nursing for me and Dusty's health administration masters program. It would just be too stressful and I want to enjoy every moment of planning the wedding with Dusty, his family and my family. We don't want the wedding to feel rushed and stress everyone out. It's going to be a great time!

But don't you worry, we have already gotten quite a bit done already!
The next day after Dusty proposed, we went and loaded up on wedding books, magazines and planners. Dusty has already read his "groom book" and says he is good to go. I still have a lot of reading to do. I didn't realize how much goes into a wedding until I read the checklist!

 So, within the last week, we have picked out our colors....
Green, Purple and Blue (in various shades)

Plus we have already secured our venue (reception and ceremony) at The Daly Mansion thanks to the awesome help from my parents! We are so excited because Dusty and I have talked about wanting to get married there for about 2 years now, and it's finally a reality!

The grounds are stunning!

It's going to be so beautiful and so much fun!

Oh yeah, and of course my sister Annie is going to be the Maid of Honor, I like to call her my "MOH" for short.

Other than that, we have been cutting and pasting things that we love out of magazines and bookmarking things we see online. We are trying to collect as many ideas as possible for the big day!
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