Sunday, February 17, 2013

Share and Relish - Zero Point Veggie Soup

I have been making this recipe for awhile now and I'm telling you, it's so versatile, it never is made the same way twice.  And each time I make it, I swear it's better than the last batch.  So my best advice for this one is to play with it and make it yours.  This is a good basic to get started but you can go ANYwhere with it!

Originally, this was a recipe from Weight Watchers.  I made it exactly like the recipe and I just didn't care for it.  But, even I could tell it had potential!  First off, I got rid of the spice mixture of basil, oregano etc.  Hey, if that's what floats your boat, put it back in.  But here is the way I made the soup tonight.  Again, play with it and find your favorite version!  The best part of this soup is that it's ZERO POINTS which means that I can eat as much of it as I want!  Once in awhile, you need a food like this.  Something you can eat and eat and eat and not feel guilty.  Keep in mind if you're with Weight Watchers that this version is zero points.  Depending on what you substitute, it may no longer be zero points!  Make smart choices!


1 spray (or 1 tsp) olive oil
1/2 cup chopped vidalia onion
1 handful of mushrooms
1 container (32 oz) of 99% FAT FREE chicken broth (or 99% fat free beef or vegetable broth.  I just prefer the chicken)
2 to 3 carrots, sliced to 1/8" pieces
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup butternut squash
Tony Chachere's creole seasoning to taste

In a large sauce pan, I used one spray or one teaspoon of olive oil.  Once it got hot, I added the one half cup of onion.

There's not a lot of oil in this pan so it's hard to saute the onions.  But, I cook them long enough to get them soft.  This was a good time to put in the mushroom and get them a little time in the hot pan.

Once the mushroom start to sweat, I added the broth.  I've tried all three, the chicken, beef and veggie.  My personal favorite was the chicken.  Whatever you use, if you're going for zero points, make sure it's the FAT FREE broth.  Also,  I buy whatever brand is on sale that week.  They are all good!

Add the carrots, cabbage and tomato paste.  I then put enough Tony Chachere's creole seasoning to cover the top.  This will really give this soup a kick, so please season to taste!

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Add the butternut squash, recover and cook another 10 minutes or so until the carrots and squash are the consistency you like.

This pot should be full of veggies and light on broth.  You want a filling soup!  I guessed on some of the quantities, I eye ball a lot on this one.  I know the major veggie I use is the cabbage.  That's a lot of bulk for no points!  But, lessen the cabbage and add spinach, or kale or swiss chard or any other leafy green you can think of.  Also, instead of butternut squash, I have used zucchini.  But like the squash, the zucchini won't take as long to cook so add it towards the end.

This really is a fun soup to put together and once I got rid of the original Italian type seasonings and went with the spicier creaole, this was one of my new favorite things.  


Thursday, February 14, 2013

She Said What??

My Thursday night routine starts right after work when I go to Sam's Club for my weekly shopping.  Right after Sam's Club I go for my weekly weigh in, so before I leave the store I make sure I go sit in the bathroom for awhile just to make sure I get rid of every ounce I can!  As a side note, as far as public bathrooms go, Sam's Club is definitely one of the better ones.  But, I digress.

Anyway, just as I am finishing up tonight in the bathroom, some woman walks in ON her phone.  I didn't get a good look at her to see if she was actually holding up the phone or if she had a blue tooth in.   But I hear her talking to someone about their weekend plans. 

She walked by my stall just as I was walking out of the stall, talking all the way.  I can hear her pee for crying out loud!   I couldn't imagine what the person on the phone was thinking even though their conversation didn't miss a beat.

I stood at the sink washing my hands then moved over to their hand dryers.  They have the kind of hand dryer where you slide your hands in to two openings and draw them out slowly as the force of air dries them.  Would you believe that this broad had the audacity to bitch pretty loudly to whomever she was speaking to about ME!  It went something like this:  "Can you believe it?  She is actually using the HAND DRYER while I'm on the phone!"  For real, the person on the phone is ok listening to YOU take a crap but you don't want to hear ME use the hand dryer.  C'mon people, I can't make this stuff up!

This just proves that crazy comes in all shapes and sizes.  And, crazy was last seen in stall # 4 at Sam's Club.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Old Habits Die Hard, New Habits Hurt Like Heck

One of the things that we talk about a lot at our weekly Weight Watchers meetings is habits.  You need to replace bad habits with good habits.  Hopefully little small changes will add up and help me to a healthier lifestyle.

Yeah, that's the official version.  As we all know, change is hard.  I hate change.  I don't even always like changing my underwear for crying out loud.  I don't do change.  But change is what I need to do.

Through this last year with my journey, I have made some positive changes.  No where near enough, but I am still trying.  I know I make better choices in my life when it comes to the food I eat.  Not EVERY choice is the better choice but I make more good than bad choices.  I can't ask for more than that.

My next step to a healthier me is my addiction to Diet Pepsi!  For real people, here is some insider trader information.  If you own stock in Diet Pepsi, you might want to think about selling quickly.  Today is day 4 and NO DIET PEPSI.   Diet Pepsi has to be feeling the ripple already I'm sure.

An addiction is an addiction is an addiction.  I quit smoking on January 31, 1995.  I went from three packs a day to nothing.  Cold turkey.  I haven't picked up a cigarette since that day 18 years ago.  That was truly one of the hardest things I ever did.  Is stopping Diet Pepsi as hard as quitting smoking?  Not AS hard but I'm telling you, there is definitely pain involved.  Ugh.  Good health.  I'm hoping this is going to be worth it.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Another Obsession

Ok, maybe obsession is too strong of a word.  But this is something I really, really, really, REALLY like!

One of my favorite places in the world is the San Diego Zoo.  If you've never been there, seriously, this needs to be on your bucket list.  It is so worth the experience.  If you are in the area, call my friends David and Edna while you're in San Diego!  They are the best San Diego tour guides and just all around good people. 

When Ron and I were in San Diego with David and Edna a few years back, this zoo is one of the places I fell in love with.  One of the huge draws at the San Diego Zoo is the giant pandas.  We were lucky when we were there, to see a baby panda that was on display at the time.  The line to get into the panda exhibit at the time was NUTS.  And for real, with so many people waiting to get a glimpse of this little miracle, there really was no time to stand there and enjoy the moment.  You walked in, got a glimpse, and had to leave.

Now I have found my new love.  We all love babies whether it's baby people or baby animals.  You gotta love a baby.  The newest giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo was last year on my Dad's birthday, July 29th.  Baby giant panda cub Xiao Liwu is on display daily and available on a live cam feed!  I can't get enough of this baby!

I find myself checking in on baby Mr. Wu (as he's affectionately called) at odd times during the day.  I am fascinated with watching him take a nap and have even worried that his breathing isn't "right".  It's a good thing there isn't an 800 number for the giant panda caregivers or I'd be on the horn with them all day long.  Watching little Mr. Wu fall out of a tree is heart breaking!  The vet has recently said not to worry, it's expected for the baby to fall out of the trees.  Often.  It's how he learns.  He's in great shape and he bounces!  (It's true!!)  I love watching Mom Bai Yun munching on some bamboo, playing with Mr. Wu or just enjoying a nap herself.

My favorite part is when Xiao Liwu is napping on one of his favorite spots when mama comes to mess with him.  She will sit on him and just nudge him and nudge him until he moves and she takes over his spot!

I love the San Diego Zoo and I love the giant pandas, especially the new baby Xiao Liwu.  Check him out.  I can watch him all day!  I dare you not to fall in love with him too.

San Diego Zoo Giant Panda Cam

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

50 / 1,000 / 100,000

What could the numbers 50 / 1,000 / 100,000 all have in common?  In common enough to rate a blog post?  These are all milestones I have reached recently!

I was trying to coordinate so that all three milestones happened on the same day but I missed it by a bit.  Oh well!  You know what they say about trying to plan things in your life!  Nothing ever goes according to plan!

Let's get back to those numbers:

50:  The age I turned on January 16th.  Hey, why hide it?  I have always been up front about loving my birthday and part of loving your birthday is accepting how many candles are on your cake.  I've been jiggy with it.  Next year may be another story, but for now, I'm jiggy.

1,000:  This is my 1,000th BLOG POST!!!!!!!!!!  I can't believe when I started this blog on August 18, 2005 that here on February 6, 2013 I'd still be at it.  7-1/2 years later I'm still writing about nothing and everything.  Well, most everything.  Believe it or not, I do edit myself and not write about EVERYthing that is on my mind!  Lucky you!!  Let's just see where the next 1,000 blog posts take us to.  After all, with all the notices I am receiving from AARP, Alzheimer's can't be all that far off.  That could only be good for my ramblings on this blog.  

100,000:  This is the mileage on my CAR right now!!!!!!!  Friday night, I thought I was going to roll it over.  After work, I picked Ron up and I drove to dinner.  I thought for sure that would have been enough.  Nuhuh.  On to Plan B.  We needed to go shopping after dinner!  I know I need SOMEthing from Home Depot!  So, on our way, I had to pull over into the Lorain Police Auxiliary parking lot to get this picture!  Soooo close!

I left the police parking lot, headed down Leavitt to our destination of Home Depot and right as I pulled into the parking lot of Home Depot, it happened!!  I pulled right over and snapped the pictures!

100,000 miles on my 2004 Honda Accord.  I just sunk $1500 into it for the 100,000 mile check up.  That better last me because I can't afford to replace this car.  To quote my Dad, "I'm going to drive it until the wheels fall off!"  And he did.  I hope to be as lucky.

2013.  A year of milestones and it's early in the year.  I can't wait to see what's next!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Stray Cat B&B

My family humors me in my obsessions.  That is a given.

For my birthday, my brother Mike and two of his grandsons built me what I like to call the Stray Cat Bed & Breakfast, or Hemingway's Home.  Either way, what a great birthday present!

I wanted another shelter on my porch for my stray cats.  Mike was too happy to help a sister out!  This was totally his idea, his design, my dream!

This is the Stray Cat B&B:

To make this box even more comfy is it's interior design.  As you can see, the entrance to the B&B is there on the left.  When the stray cat walks in to the B&B, he or she would be in the sitting room.  To the right of the sitting room is the sleeping chamber!  Complete with a bed of straw!  Here is the view when you lift the top and look into the Bed & Breakfast!

See?  Sitting room on the left, sleeping chamber on the right.  Pass the word, reservations are now being accepted!