Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Pretty Little Princess

If you've already seen this photo in my What Makes Me Smile post the other day, I'm sorry for the duplicate.  I'm behind on editing photos and well, this picture is just so sweet!  I could look at it all day!  

Grace had Princess Camp at a local dance studio last week.  I have to laugh, Grace already KNOWS she's a princess!  I wonder if it was a good idea to reinforce that knowledge in a 4 day princess camp!  haha!  She had a wonderful time and was well worth every penny spent!  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quinoa Black Bean Taco Lettuce Cups ~ A Simply Filling Recipe

I needed something quick and filling for lunch yesterday that would still fit in with the Simply Filling program I am following via Weight Watchers Online.  We had been away over the weekend and hadn't yet done a big grocery order.  

Grace was already fed, so all I had to do was worry about myself, but when I opened the fridge to take inventory of the contents, I had no idea what I was going to make myself for lunch.  I spotted a container of leftover quinoa and it hit me!  Quinoa Black Bean Taco Lettuce Cups!  Easy, delicious and filling!  Perfect!  

Quinoa Black Bean Taco Lettuce Cups ~ A Simply Filling Recipe
     One serving

  • 1/2 cup pre-cooked Quinoa 
  • 1/4  canned black beans
  • 1/4 cup fat-free refried beans
  • 1/2 T. (or more to your liking) low-sodium taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water or fat free salsa 
  • 1/2 T jarred jalapeno slices 
  • Lettuce leaves
To prepare: 
  • Add all ingredients to a small pan, stirring to combine.  
  • Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. 
  • Divide over lettuce leaves, serve.  

  • This was such a delicious and easy meal!  I ate the entire pan for lunch, divided between two "lettuce cups".  I used iceberg lettuce which made for some large (and somewhat messy) cups.  Next time, I'll use romaine leaves and use less of the mixture for each lettuce wrap.  
  • Fat-free mozzarella cheese would also be a good addition if you feel you need cheese to make these more like tacos.  

Linking to:  

Milo's Kitchen Dog Treat + $25 VISA Gift Card Giveaway #MKTreatTruck

Disclosure:  The Milo’s Kitchen® dog treats, gift cards, and information have been provided by Milo’s Kitchen®.

Anyone that knows me personally, knows that my dog is my first baby. My Remmy Girl is part of the family and she knows it!  She is spoiled and cuddled on every available minute of the day!  She returns the favor, too!  When I was pregnant with Grace, she never left my side.  Always following me and snuggling with me throughout the entire pregnancy.

Because she is so loyal (and cute, too!), I like to make sure she is happy.  I buy the food she likes,  she gets new toys more often than some kids I know, and I like to keep the cupboards well-stocked with delicious treats!

When I was offered the chance to let her sample some Milo's Kitchen dog treats, I was really excited! Especially when I found out that they are Made in the USA!

Remmy LOVES people food and we do give her some table food, but try to limit it as much as we can. Milo's Kitchen Treats have 100% chicken or beef as their #1 ingredient.  With the varieties of treats available, dogs get the taste of people food but in a treat made especially for them!

This is a photo of the box that my prize pack was shipped in.  See how realistic those treats look? Remmy and her pals (Sweet Pea the Pomeranian and Sammy the Border Collie) gobbled up these treats so eagerly, I wasn't able to get pictures!

Here is some information about Milo’s Kitchen® Treats:

·  Our dogs deserve only the best. That means treats made in the U.S.A. with real chicken or beef as the #1 ingredient, and no artificial flavors and colors.

·  Milo’s Kitchen® Home-style Dog Treats believes dogs deserve treats made with the same quality of ingredients and care that you want for your food. That’s why we made a treat truck just for dogs!

·  Each recipe is carefully prepared to bring out all the flavors your dog loves. Milo’s Kitchen makes a unique line of mouthwatering varieties for your dog including: Chicken Meatballs, Beef Sausage Slices with Rice, Steak Grillers Recipe, Chicken Grillers Recipe, Grilled Burger Bites, and Chicken Jerky Recipe.

Did you know that Milo's Kitchen is hitting the road and sharing their 100% real, homestyle 
treats with dogs all across America?  In fact, Pennsylvania Readers:  

The Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be coming to your area so
plan a special date with your dog and join us:

August 5th - Pittsburgh, PA 
                  Pittsburgh Pirates Bark At The Park
                  115 Federal St.

*Dog parks are subject to change due to weather 
and foot traffic.  

·  Please let us know if you plan on attending the event so we can be sure to keep you updated on any location changes.

·  It wouldn’t be a food truck without home-style dog treats! Your dog is invited to try free samples of Milo’s Kitchen® treats so you can figure out which varieties will have your four-legged friend begging for more.

·  There’s no such thing as too many pictures of dogs. Receive family portrait photos straight from the Milo’s Kitchen photo booth or take your own selfies. Don’t forget to show off your dog’s look on Facebook, or via Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #MKTreatTruck.

Here are some helpful links so you can learn more about Milo's Kitchen Treats:  

Would you like to win a Milo's Kitchen Prize Pack including a $25 VISA Gift Card to share with
your pup?  Entering to win is easy using the rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

U.S. Residents Only.
Winner will be chosen randomly via rafflecopter and will be notified by Under the Big Oak Tree via email.
Winner will have 48 hours to claim prize by replying with their shipping information (sorry no P.O. Boxes). Failure to claim prize within the time frame will result in a new winner being selected.

Disclosure:  The Milo’s Kitchen® dog treats, gift cards, and information have been provided by Milo’s Kitchen®.

Monday, July 28, 2014

NEW SpaghettiOs MicrOs ~ A Perfect After School Snack!

Hey, Moms!

Are you looking for new ideas for after school snacks for your kiddos?  So often I've heard parents complain that their kids want a snack as soon as they walk in the door from school.  Then, by the time dinner rolls around, the kids are no longer hungry.  With the NEW SpaghettiOs MicrOs, I wouldn't guilty if my kiddo's dinner was "spoiled" if I gave served them to my daughter as a snack.

SpaghettiOs MicrOs are microwaveable and convenient.  A perfect snack alternative for busy school days.

The single serve, no-metal container has an easy-to-peel lid so they are more kid friendly than other microwaveable bowls, and if your child is allowed to use the microwave themselves, they can get their own snack while mom or dad are unpacking the backpacks and checking for that day's homework assignments!

With four tasty flavors, you'll be sure to find one your kiddos will love!

  • SpaghettiOs Original  
  • SpaghettiOs with Meatsauce 
  • SpaghettiOs Cheeseburger 
  • SpaghettiOs with Franks
Kids will love MicrOs because they are fun to eat and parents will love serving them because each serving of MicrOs contains essential vitamins and minerals.  They are low in fat, too, making them the perfect snack to refuel kids between meals.  All that and they are an easy and delicious snack without the mess!  

And in case you are wondering, the suggested retail price of the New SpaghettiOs MicrOs is just $1.29!

Campbell's NEW SpaghettiOs MicrOs are expected to hit shelves Nationwide in August 2014!
Just in time for back to school!  

Disclosure:  I received free samples of SpaghettiOs MicrOs along with a t-shirt and fact sheet about the product, so that I can spread the word about this new item.  

Menu Plan Monday 2104 ~ Week of July 28th

Last week, I didn't pay much mind to my menu plan or my diet and a 1.4 lb weight gain was the result.  I really need to work on following a plan this week.  Not just for the sake of my diet, but for our budget as well.  The meals I planned this week are all Simply Filling friendly if I allow myself to use a few indulgence points here and there.  If you're following the Weight Watchers Simply Filling program all of that will make sense.  If not, no worries.  You will still enjoy the meals I planned for this week!  


One Pan Mexican Quinoa
I have recently jumped on the quinoa band wagon and I am so glad I did!
I'm really enjoying it!  So far, I've made and Enchilada Casserole with Black Beans and Quinoa that I really loved!  I've also added it to some grilled veggies on a wrap for a light, but filling, lunch!
I can't wait to try this recipe since the quinoa cooks right in the same pot as the rest of the meal!  


Hot Dogs and baked potatoes
Reduced Fat hot dogs make it possible to enjoy this simple summer dinner
without causing damage to my diet!
Normally, I'd serve baked beans with the grilled hot dogs,
but all of that brown sugar and syrup would be a diet killer for sure
since I know that I couldn't be trusted to eat just one serving!  


Chicken Taco Salads
Tacos are the best thing for me to eat when I'm on a diet.
I love junk food and making taco meat using lean ground beef or diced chicken
is a great way to trick myself into thinking I am eating something bad!
I love keeping a big container of this Chicken Taco Filling in the fridge,
so I can eat from it all week.
Sometimes I splurge and allow myself a taco shell or two,
or I use a Simply Filling allowed wrap,
but most often, I just add a scoop of the taco meat to a bed of lettuce
with some fat free refried beans and fat free salsa!


Simply Filling Tuna Vegetable Pasta Salad
Corn on the cob
Grilled Veggies


Southwest Scramble 
I love breakfast for dinner!
Especially when it's this hearty and flavorful!  


Tilapia, baked potatoes, corn on the cob



Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable. If you haven't checked out Yvonne's blog before, I suggest you drop everything and head on over to check out her delicious recipes, inviting tablescapes and stunning photographs!

What Makes Me Smile #4

I tend to be a Negative Nelly about my life.  I'm great about putting a positive spin on things when friends vent to me about their bad days, but when it comes to my life, I only see the bad things.  In an attempt to change this aspect of my personality, I want to journal some things that make me smile each week.  Hoping that when I look back, I'll see just how many things I have to be grateful for and smile about in my life.  

Here's what made me smile last week:  

  • My Princess.  Last week was a good week for Grace.  We signed her up for Princess Camp at a local dance school.  Mainly, this was a practice run for her going to school.  Though, now I'm not sure which one of us needed the trial run to work on separation anxiety.  Me or Grace.  Her past dance classes were only 45 minutes long, so I waited in what she calls the "blue room" for her to finish her class.  Princess Camp was a longer class, so no way I was waiting that entire time.  When we were discussing her camp, she was asking if I was going to wait.  I explained that I wasn't going to wait this time, but we'd be back to pick her up as soon as it was over.  We were really hoping it wasn't going to be an issue.  First night went well...the second night was even better.  By the end of the week, she was pushing me out the door.  She even broke through some "issues" she has with things.  That especially made me smile.  

  • Weekends with Friends.  We had a chance to get away this weekend.  It's been too long since we've had an overnight away.  How long?  This was Grace's first night not sleeping in her own bed.  She's FIVE.  That's a long time to not take a trip!  We spent an overnight up the mountains and enjoyed a busy day exploring nature, splashing in the creek and having fun at an amusement park!  That's a lot of fun crammed into one day!  We were tired afterwards, but it was worth it!  

  • Weight Loss Support.  For the past couple of months, I've been really wanting to lose some weight. Keeping on track hasn't been easy.  I've had some good weeks and bad weeks, but the support I've been receiving from friends via conversations, emails, and facebook support groups is constant and wonderful!  

  • Mommy time.  While Grace had her Princess Camp last week, I got a taste of what it's going to be like when she starts school and I get some time to myself.  Having that hour and half break while she was at camp, really helped me feel more relaxed and I found myself being less grumpy about things.  

  • A girl and her dog.  Grace and Remmy have been bonding more and more lately.  While Remmy has always ADORED Grace, our little girl really never cared one way or another about Remmy.  In the past year, Grace has been more playful with Remmy and just this week, I can see there is a huge bond forming between the two!  I just know one day soon, I am going to walk into Grace's room and find her playing dress up with the dog and Remmy will be loving every moment!   

I hope this week brings you all lots of smiles!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Simply Filling Tuna Vegetable Pasta Salad

Lately, I've really been craving picnic foods.  Potato salad, pasta salad, burgers, dogs!  I love 'em all!  Since we aren't having or attending a picnic anytime soon, I figured I'd make myself a quick pasta salad for lunch.

I had a different idea in mind, but came up with this once I started throwing stuff into the bowl.  Very easy, very delicious!

Simply Filling Tuna Vegetable Pasta Salad 
      serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

  • 4 oz. whole grain pasta, dry
  • 1 mini cucumber, sliced 
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 Tbs. fat free mayo
  • 1-2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning, to taste
  • 2 oz. albacore tuna packed in water, drained 
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
  • Pour drained pasta into a medium-large mixing bowl and allow to cool.  
  • Add in the remaining ingredients and stirring until well combined.  
  • Cover and chill in fridge for an hour or more. 

  • I wanted a power food pasta salad that I could eat as a main dish on busy night.  The added protein from the egg and tuna help keep me full if I'm eating this on it's own.  Serve a smaller portion if you are using this as a side dish recipe.  
  • I used 2 tsp. of the Old Bay Seasoning since I wanted a really flavorful pasta salad.  Use more or less to your taste preference.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grilled Veggie Quinoa Wraps

A week or so ago, I decided to switch over to the PointsPlus program on Weight Watchers.  I found myself using my points on lots of indulgences rather than loading up on healthier options like vegetables, smoothies, yogurt, etc.  So, I'm back to Simply Filling and loving the better choices I am making at mealtime.  

On Monday, I made this for myself for lunch but left off the quinoa since i didn't have any premade.  I was hungry almost immediately after due to the lack of protein.  So, today, I decided to make this again for lunch.  This time I was sure to include the quinoa.  Not only did I enjoy the heartier wrap, but the protein from the quinoa really helped keep me fuller longer.  Black beans would have been great too, but I didn't feel like opening a new can at that moment, so I left them off this time around!  

Grilled Veggie Quinoa Wraps 


  • red pepper slices
  • red onion slices
  • broccolini or broccoli florets
  • reduced calorie, whole grain wrap.   
  • 1/2 wedge light Laughing Cow Cheese, flavor of your choice.  
  • 2-3 romaine leaves 
  • 1/4 cup prepared quinoa, heated
  • Place peppers, onions and broccoli onto a stove top grill pan and cook over high heat.  Turning once during cooking time.  Cook to desired tenderness.  I grilled just long enough to get some grill marks on my vegetables since I tend to prefer my veggies with some crunch left to them.  
  • While the vegetables are cooking, spread the 1/2 wedge of light Laughing Cow Cheese over the entire wrap.  
  • Place lettuce leaves down the center of the wrap.  
  • Top lettuce with the grilled vegetables and the quinoa.  
  • Roll up and enjoy!  

  • All of the components of this recipe are Weight Watchers Power Foods, except for the Laughing Cow.  One wedge is 1 point, but I can get away with using just half the wedge for zero points!  I like using the LC spread since it helps work as a glue to hold some of the veggie in!  Also, when spreading all the way to the edge, it helps seal the wrap as you fold it over! 
  • If you prefer all power foods, omit the Laughing Cow.  Use some fat free salsa for some flavor, or spread a thin layer of fat free sour cream.   If you're missing the cheese, sprinkle with some shredded fat free cheese.  
  • Black beans would be a wonderful addition to this wrap!  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of July 21st

We're busy most of this week around dinner time, so meals will be easy this week.  Super-easy.  If I don't keep things simple, I'll want to resort to take-out every night and I can't afford to do that.  Our wallet and my diet just can't handle take-out and fast food all week long!  

Speaking of dieting, I took a break this past week.  Mentally, I just couldn't do it.  I was dealing with a lot of stress last week and Grace was really pushing my buttons on top of all of that.  I ate what I wanted and didn't count a single point (Weight Watchers).  But, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things and start the week off with healthy choices.  

I'll be drinking lots of smoothies for breakfast this week and since I'll be following the Simply Filling Plan again (Simple Start for WW beginners), eggs and potatoes will also be part of my daily routine.  Probably for lunch.  


Brunswick Stew 
I'll use leftover Balsamic Pork for this delicious stew.  


MorningStar Farms Burgers
Roasted Acorn Squash 
I have some burgers left in the freezer from my MorningStar Farms
House Party this weekend.
I'll serve them up on some low point sandwich thin buns
and serve some roasted acorn squash instead of fries.  


Taco Salad
I've been loving taco salads for lunches and dinners for the past several weeks.
The flavors fool me into thinking I am eating junk food,
when really it's just some lean meat with some low-sodium taco seasoning!
I load up on the black beans and fat free refried beans and all that protein really helps keep me full!
No need for dressing with all of those great flavors!  


Leftover Night
This will be a fend for yourself night utilizing any leftovers available in the fridge.
This will not only keep meal time easy for me,
it will also give me a head start in cleaning out the refrigerator.


Coney Island Hot Dogs 
Grilled Potatoes
I've been wanting a Coney Island from Sonic for a few weeks now.
We're not very close to a Sonic, so unless we are heading that way
for other stuff, we rarely get there anymore.
I have some low-cal hot dog sauce and reduced fat hot dogs
that will be perfect for this fast food knock-off.  

Dining Out


Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable. If you haven't checked out Yvonne's blog before, I suggest you drop everything and head on over to check out her delicious recipes, inviting tablescapes and stunning photographs!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

What Makes Me Smile #3

Last week was a rough week on my depression and anxiety, yet, I was still able to find some positive moments that brought a smile to my face.  

  • Water balloons!  You can't beat the fun you can get out of a Dollar Store pack of water balloons! Lot's of cheap entertainment for the kids even if I am the one that gets stuck filling them all up!  We had a few days of laughs watching Grace and her friends playing with the water-filled balloons!  The dog even got in on the act when Joe filled a couple regular-sized balloons with water!  

  • Visiting with old friends.  Grace and I enjoyed a nice visit from old friends last week.  It was great watching the kids play and splash in the pool and hearing them exclaim: "you are my best friend" to each other.  Meeting a sweet new baby was pretty awesome, too!  

  • Laughing at myself.  We had a couple days that were a bit cooler last week.  One night after dinner, we decided to walk at a local park.  I'd like to say we were doing it to be outside and enjoy nature, but really we were being nosy and wanted to see how a local construction job was coming along.  On our way back to the car, I spotted this dead tree covered with turkey vultures.  Now, we always see the turkey vultures soaring above this park and even perched upon this very tree, but not quite so many at one time!  I had to chuckle at myself when I let out a scream when they started to get restless and flap their wings while we were looking up at them!  Apparently, they didn't want their picture taken!

  • Family.  When my nieces were young, we'd have what we called "Girls' lunch" every time I visited.  I had the chance to host "Girls' Lunch" at my house.  Grace is really getting used to playing with babies and told baby N "you are my best baby cousin!"  I was trying to teach baby N to blow kisses and before she left I think she was getting the idea!  It was nice to see her so cheerful since usually she cries when I'm around!  A happy baby is a lot to smile about!  

  • Morning Texts.  I woke up one morning to an incredibly beautiful, totally upbeat and positive text message from a dear old friend.  I don't know if she sensed that this is something I needed or just something she wanted to pass on to me at that moment, but it was well received when I read it before I even rubbed the sleep from my eyes.  

Have a happy week full of smiles!

Linking to:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Trader Joe's Chocolatey Cats...Cookies for people!

In case you haven't heard, I'm on a diet....AGAIN!  Yes, I am getting back on the wagon and attempting to shed some pounds.  I haven't been happy with my weight for a long time and it's about time I do something about it.

A couple of months ago, I joined the Weight Watchers Online program.  It's been slow going since I've had more than a couple of weeks where I just wasn't 100% in the game.  But, I'm going to keep on trying.

Anyway, I decided I should share products that I like to eat while I'm watching my weight.  Sure, we all know that fruits and veggies are great options when trying to lose weight, but sometimes we need items not found in the produce aisle to get us through the day.

This is one of those products!

I started buying these cookies from Trader Joe's ages ago.  Back when I was doing Weight Watchers about 10 years ago!  I had actually forgotten about these cookies until stumbling across them on a recent trip to Trader Joe's.  They were a must-have item in my pantry then just as they are now!

I bought them without checking the points first.  I was hoping that with the new changes to the Points system that they were still low in points.  I was incredibly ecstatic when I found they were still just 3 points for 15 cookies!  They aren't too pricey for a big tub of cookies, either!

They are so full of chocolatey flavor that they are very satisfying if you're like me and have a sweet tooth! Sometimes, I divide the 15 cookies into 3 servings and nibble on them through the day!  Even 5 cookies when I "need" something sweet after lunch is enough to keep me happy on those bad chocolate craving days!

Note:  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  I just love these cookies and thought you would, too!

For more Weight Watcher's Friendly items, be sure to check out the tab at the top of the page under our title.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Strawberry Lemondrop Melon Smoothie

Since I've been eating healthier, I've been more open to trying new foods.  So, the other day when we spotted a Lemon Drop Melon in the produce section of the supermarket, I decided to give it a try.

It tasted a lot like Honey Dew Melon to me and was fabulous in the fruit salad I made for dessert that night.  I've been drinking a lot of smoothies for breakfasts and/or lunches, so naturally, I wanted to try this new (to me) melon in smoothie form.

Sorry, no photo this time around!

Strawberry Lemon Drop Melon Smoothie 

  • 1/2 cup plain, fat-free Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup non-fat milk 
  • 3 splenda packets (optional) 
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup spinach, frozen 
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, frozen
  • 1/2 cup lemondrop melon, frozen 
  • 10 ice cubes (optional) 
  • Add all ingredients, except for the ice, into the blender pitcher.  I added them in the order listed above.  Blend. 
  • Add ice, and blend until smooth and creamy.  
  • This makes a big smoothie!  Easily, this could be two servings.  One for breakfast, one for lunch.  Or one for you, one for a friend.  Or, if you're a piggy like me, drink it all at once!  
  • Can't find lemondrop melons as your grocer?  Use honeydew instead!  
Click here for more of my favorite smoothie recipes.  

Linking to: 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chicken Taco Filling

One of my favorite types of foods to eat while dieting is Mexican.  Heck, it's a favorite even when I'm not dieting!  The bold flavors let me think I'm eating something bad, but if I use lean meats and lay off or cut back on the cheese and sour cream (not difficult for me), it can really be quite healthy.  Especially if I use a low-sodium taco seasoning.

A couple weekends ago, I made what I thought was a large batch of taco meat.  For Joe and I, this would have been considered a large batch and would have left us with plenty of leftovers for later in the week.  I forgot to consider that my eldest nephew was staying for dinner.  Goodness!  Twenty year old boys sure do eat a lot!  Yes, I said "boy".  I'm having a difficult time thinking of him all grown up.  sigh.

Anyway, there was a small amount of taco meat leftover that Joe took for lunch a day or two later.  By the time the weekend rolled around, I was still very much in the mood for tacos, but all out of ground beef or turkey.  I had some boneless chicken breast and decided to make some chicken taco salads for dinner.

I really loved how this turned out and love even more how it fits perfectly with my new Simply Filling lifestyle. While I used some "indulgence" points for the taco shells, these salads would still be great without the shells if you wanted to keep this recipe completely Simply Filling.  Be sure to count points for the oil if you've already used your daily healthy oils.

Chicken Taco Filling
      serves: 6 
      PointsPlus Value: 5 per serving

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1 smaller vidalia onion, diced.  
  • 6-8 mini peppers, sliced into rings (or one large red bell pepper, diced) 
  • 1-2 tsp. minced garlic 
  • 1 cup frozen corn 
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning (reduced sodium)
  • 1/4 cup water, or more as needed (see notes) 
  • Cook chicken in hot oil until no longer pink. 
  • Add in onions and peppers and cook until tender, stirring often. 
  • Stir in the garlic and corn.  Allow to cook until corn is thawed. 
  • Pour in the beans, taco seasoning and water.  Stir until fully combined.  
  • Allow to cook until heated through.  
  • If you find the mixture getting a bit dry during the cooking process, instead of adding oil, add a splash or two of water as needed.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Double Chocolate Cannoli Skinny Dip

When I was a teen, I loved going to Reading Terminal Market with my Mom.  We'd load up on fresh meats and produce, then we'd have lunch.  We'd always grab dessert before going home, too!  My favorite were the chocolate cannoli from one of the bakery counters!  YUM!

Only once since those trips to the market was I able to find another bakery that sold chocolate cannolis.  In fact, it's rare when I see regular cannoli these days.

After seeing a bunch of recipes for Cannoli Dip all over Pinterest, I knew I wanted to give it a try!  Except, I knew I wanted to make Chocolate Cannoli Dip!  While this dip isn't nearly as decadent as the delicious filling of the cannoli I'd get while out shopping with my Mom, it's still a great treat.  Using fat free ingredients makes this a delicious low PointsPlus Value treat!

Double Chocolate Cannoli Skinny Dip 
          adapted from: Skinny Chocolate Chip Cannoli Dip
          serves 10-20

  • 7 1/2 oz. Fat Free ricotta cheese 
  • 2/3 c. Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt
  • 4 oz. Fat Free whipped topping
  • 2 Tbs. Confectioners' Sugar
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (I used slightly less) 
  • 6 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • Additional mini chocolate chips for garnish (optional) 
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese and yogurt.  
  • Add the whipped topping and confectioners' sugar and mix by hand until well-combined.  
  • Add the mini chocolate chips.  
  • Once the above ingredients are combined, mix in the cocoa powder until completely incorporated.  
  • Chill for at least an hour before serving. 
  • I used slightly less than 1/2 cup. mini chocolate chips, but still counted points for the full 1/2 cup.  
  • Once I was finished mixing this together, I transferred it to another bowl for storage in the fridge.  I weighed the completed recipe and came up with 20 oz.  
  • PointsPlus Value for 1 oz = 1 point. 
  • PointsPlus Value for 2 oz = 3 points.  

I'm linking this recipe to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 

What Makes Me Smile #2

It was a little more challenging to find things that made me happy this week.  Some stress and depression tried to force it's way in a few times.  But I was determined to find some happy moments.  Here's what made me smile for week 2.

  • Trips to the pet store.  It's been a while since our once-super-spoiled-puppy got a special treat from the pet store so one night last week we stopped at a local pet store to let Grace pick out something special for her.  While there, we couldn't help but take a peek in the windows to see what kinds of puppies were available.  I know, I know.  There's a huge controversy over pet store vs. rescue, but seeing those adorable little pups running around and playing just really made me feel all warm and fuzzy!  I wished I could bring them all home with us!  Especially one little sassy pup that would have run circles around our Remmy girl!  We were laughing so much at the sweet little thing that I forgot to snap a picture, but I did manage to take one of this cute dog pile!  

  • New Friends.  Grace and I had a nice visit with some new friends this week.  I enjoyed talking to another grown up while Grace ran and played in the yard with her new friends!  

  • Kite Flying.  Grace did a great job of getting her kite up in the air all on her own earlier this week!  Once she got it flying, I helped her with letting out some string to get it flying a little higher!  

  • My daughter, the mini personal trainer.  Earlier this week, Grace and I set up the Wii and did some exercising together.  It was too warm to play outside (I don't do well in the heat) so the Wii is the perfect indoor activity for us, with the AC running at full blast!  Boy, this kid is tough.  She kept both of us going for a while until I showed her that she was able to do some of the things on her own.  After we were finished exercising, I was so happy to see her grab a box of raisins instead of cookies or chips for her after-workout snack!  

  • Trips to the Thrift Shop.  I love when the three of us go to the thrift shop together and I love even more that Grace is usually the one that suggests the outing.  This time, we all found something we wanted to purchase and I was even lucky enough to find a couple of thing that had 1/2 price stickers!  
What makes you smile?  I'd love to hear the things that help you keep daily stress from ruining your day/week!  Please share in the comments!

Linking this post to:

  • List It Tuesday

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