Friday, June 26, 2009

Patriotic Pom-Poms!

For our little town's annual summer fair, Midget and I walked in the parade. I found a little outfit at a consignment store and found this fun pom-pom project in my Disney Family Fun Magazine. I had everything already on hand at home (plastic bags, wooden dowels, and blue painter's tape), except I had to call on a few friends to get enough Target plastic bags and I used cheap wooden chopsticks for handles.

I was excited to find the Patriotic Pom-Poms project online so I could share it with all of you, just in time for Independence Day!

Midget certainly drew LOTS of squeals and giggles!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


If you're wondering why you haven't heard from me in a while, here's what's been occupying our time.

Drove to Madison, WI
Dropped off the Wieners and stayed overnight at the Frazier Family Hotel
Drove to Milwaukee, WI
Hopped a plane to Denver, CO
Took Midget to Open Gymnastics (total maniac)
Attended exactly 6,348,983 little league baseball games, each two hours long
Played Tennis
Roasted Marshmallows
Had my very first meetup with a bloggy friend in real life--more on that later!!
Drove to Nebraska
Went to a big 50th Wedding Anniversary party
Let Midget ride her first horse
Got molested by a giant moth I was trying to take pictures of
Visited Carhenge--this is a once in a lifetime opportunity peeps...
Drove back to Denver, CO

Feeeeeee-yoooooooof! I'm tired just from writing this and I'm not scheduled to return until the 1st of July.

We'll return to your scheduled programming shortly, folks! Until then, here's a few pics of some of the activities.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lusciously Lowercal Chicken Spanakopita

I figured I'd better redeem myself after posting that last disgusting-looking pile of goo. Yes, we ate them. No, they weren't as disgusting as they looked. Maybe I'll try again with a thicker dough instead of a batter.

This should remind you that I AM a cooking prodigy in an ever-shrinking platinum blonde package. hehe

So you might be going, "Chicken Spank-a-what??"

Spanakopita is Greek for Spinach Pie. Traditional Spanakopita is FATTENING--buttery layers of phyllo dough stuffed full of eggs, onions fried in olive oil, and full-fat feta cheese. It normally comes in around 12 Weight Watcher points (approximately 500 calories and almost FORTY grams of fat), but I made several small changes and kept the dish lip-smacking delicious and cut the WW points down to FIVE!

Phyllo dough is a mystery to some and many people are frightened to work with it, but by using cooking spray instead of melted butter, it not only cuts the calories, but it's as easy as (spinach) pie!

*bah dah bomp-chhhhhhh* Thank you folks, I'll be here all week.

By the way, you can find phyllo dough in any decent-sized grocery store freezer aisle, usually in a box containing two 8 oz twin packs of dough. Be sure to let it thaw out completely at room temperature or you will hate me forever for suggesting working with phyllo is easy.

This recipe is simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner and impressive enough to make for company! This dish manages to stay lowercal and adds ground chicken to make it a complete meal. Pair it with a salad dressed with Red Wine Vinegar, a sprinkle of garlic salt, and just a tish of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and you've got yourself a meal you'll want to scream OPA!! after!

Lusciously Lowercal Chicken Spanakopita

Nonstick Cooking Spray (butter or olive oil flavor recommended)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 large Onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb Ground Chicken
2 10 oz. packages frozen chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain liquid
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
dash of Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano (or 1 Tablespoon Fresh)
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 cup Lowfat or Light Feta Cheese Crumbles
1 cup Egg Beaters
8 oz (9 x 14 in) Phyllo Dough, THAWED COMPLETELY

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Over medium high heat, heat a large skillet and add Olive Oil. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add chicken. Cook until no longer pink, approximately 8 minutes. Add spinach and all spices. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until there is no liquid coming out of the spinach.

Remove the spinach mixture from the heat and set aside while you are working with the phyllo.

Spray a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Open and unroll the phyllo dough. Place one sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the pan (the dough is nearly paper thin, so be sure to just do one sheet at a time) and spray with cooking spray. Repeat with 9 more sheets of phyllo, making sure to spray with the nonstick spray between layers.

Mix the feta cheese crumbles and the egg beaters into the spinach mixture. Spread this mixture over the the phyllo "crust" in the pan.

Repeat the same phyllo, then cooking spray technique over the top of the spinach mixture with the remaining sheets of phyllo (there should be about 10 sheets remaining).

By the way, if your phyllo sheets tear, don't worry--it doesn't matter at all! Just piece it back together and keep layering.

LISTEN UP! Do not skip this next step or you risk your spinach pie turning into a crumbling mess!

Cut the top layer of phyllo crust into 8 equal pieces BEFORE PLACING IN THE OVEN and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. You will need to cut your 8 pieces again after baking to cut your bottom crust.

Makes 8 servings, 5 Weight Watchers points per serving.

This is what your pan should look like. Give yourself a few activity points for all the jumping up and down you'll be doing after you taste this dish!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Recipe Flop

Since I always post perfect pictures of excellent recipes (yes, I'm quite modest--or completely delusional), I thought I'd post a picture of a recent flop. After taking Midget to her first carnival on Saturday, I had a massive craving for corn dogs! But I was not ready to spend a day's worth of points to eat a soggy microwaved one at home.

By the way, here's evidence of how much Midget loved the carnival rides.

So, I jumped on the good ol' internets and tried to find a recipe for baked corn dogs. The closest I came to finding a recipe was a baked dairy-free soy corn dog--bleeeeeech!

So I attempted to do one out of my head. This was the result.

I dub thee--PUDDLE DOGS!

Do not attempt this at home, kids.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Garden Goddess

Or as I like to call it, "Ho with a Hoe."

I know you're all laughing with me, not at me, right??

Excuse the blue hue--I'm still getting to know my new camera and I change things and can't remember how to get them back.

Oh! And can you believe how skinny I'm getting?? You may now commence heaping praise (even though I still gots lotsa chunkies). Actually, I don't think I've ever posted a full body pic on here before. Don't even ask for a full body "before" pic--I'm DEFINITELY not going to post one!!

By the way, all my plants are in the garden! Now I just have to have patience. This is not a skill I possess.

Trust me...