Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


Thanksgiving 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I spent the day home with the kitty, except for a little trip to Walmart to see if I could nab a fake Christmas tree before things go bananas tomorrow with the Black Friday shoppers.   I went to the dinky little store near my house, which is a really terrible store, and their selection was meh.  If I’m feeling up to it, I may go to the real store later this weekend – or else just be content with a 5′ fake tree I spotted at Home Depot.  I’m allergic to real trees, which is why I bother.

Last week I was able to add fish into my diet, and that went well – tho to be honest, the idea of actually cooking fish just to get a 2 oz serving wasn’t appealing, so I mostly just had tuna, which is soft and comes in little cans perfect for taking into the office.  I’m not in love with plain tuna, though, so looked forward to being able to add chicken this week.  For Thanksgiving I cooked a small chicken in the crockpot, yielding so much meat I wondered why I did a whole chicken instead of just a breast.  Oh well, lots to freeze for future meals.

So far my system is doing well.  It’s been 4 weeks today since my surgery and I had my first fill of 1.5 cc of saline into the lapband on Monday.  My next one will be just before Christmas.  So far I’m not noticeably less hungry but am still limited to 8 oz/day (tho I’m kind of stretching it a little bit).  Still, I’m taking in under 350 calories/day at this point and as soon as I’m healed up, I’m looking forward to having more variety.   Here’s the total change since April:

Last weekend I was up in Foxboro, MA, to visit my nephew who plays football with the New England Patriots.  He’s been on the practice squad for a month and his dad flew up for the weekend and went to the big game with him on Sunday.  It was great to see them again after almost a year, especially since the family will be in Texas for Thanksgiving without either of the New England contingent.

I’m looking forward to a low-key sleep-in long weekend.  I have no leftovers except chicken but am just as happy not to be in a carb-coma on the couch after eating too much food I didn’t really want or need.  My two weeks off post-op really spoiled me for lazy quiet days so I’m thrilled to have these now, and the promise of a long Christmas recess break in just a few weeks.

For now, hope your holiday was happy, your family and friends are healthy, and your weekend is relaxed.


Recipe: Crockpot Salsa Chicken

SparkRecipes is a wonderful site with recipes submitted by members with nutritional information for everything. It’s not Weight Watchers or any other plan but having the nutrition makes it easy to figure out points values (if that floats your boat) or other things to watch for such as lower fat, carbs, whatever.

One of the most popular recipes is for Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken, which I’ve been wanting to try for a while.  I made it today, with some variations suggested by some of the people who made comments.  It was awesome and will be added as a regular option.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1 1/4 lbs)
1/3 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning (or regular if you can’t find the reduced sodium)
1 C. fresh salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1/2 C. fat free sour cream

Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Place chicken breasts in bottom and sprinkle with taco seasoning.  Pour salsa on top of that, followed by black beans and corn.  Top with cheddar cheese soup.  Leave in layers; do not mix.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Shred chicken with a fork.  Turn off heat and stir in FF sour cream.  Serve over rice.

Yield:  5 servings, approx. 2/3 C. each = 5 points  (rice not included)
Supposed to be even better as leftovers, which could be folded into tortillas or turned into a quesadilla.


Brunswick Stew

Original Brunswick Stew potThe best Brunswick Stew I ever had was cooked out over an open fire at a Mennonite fair in Virginia. It tasted smoky and the meat had fallen apart until everything was thick and totally yummy. I got the original version of this recipe from a WW cookbook almost 20 years ago. It no longer bears much resemblance to the original – I added the smoke and started using the blender to replicate that Mennonite stew of long ago. More vegetables helps it stretch.

Feel free to tinker with it yourself or use fresh instead of frozen, though you may need to add a little bit more liquid if you do that. I’m lazy and the frozen ones are faster. This isn’t really spicy, but it’s thick and one of the staples of my winter menus.

Crockpot Brunswick Stew

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
Yield: 6 servings @ 5 points/serving

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes [use 1 with chilis for a little extra zing]
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons liquid Smoke flavoring
1/2 Cup White cooking wine
1 tablespoon Better than Boullion Chicken Base
1-1/2 C. frozen corn kernels
1-1/2 C. frozen green beans
1-1/2 C. frozen lima beans
1-1/2 C. frozen sliced carrots (optional)
Red pepper flakes to taste
3 bay leaves

Spray crockpot with cooking spray.

In the crockpot, combine onion, chicken, Worcestershire Sauce and Liquid Smoke until chicken is thoroughly coated. Add other ingredients, mix gently, and cover. Cook at low heat for 10 hours.

Using a measuring cup, remove some liquid and chunks to a blender. Pulse on “puree” setting until color changes and contents purees. Return to pot and stir. Repeat until the stew is thick with chunks of chicken and vegetables. Base should NOT be clear liquid.

Serve in bowls. Freezes well.

Note: this is also really good made with lean boneless pork chops instead of chicken. I thawed the wrong thing once and made it anyway, and it was great. I’ve often made it with 1/2 chicken and 1/2 pork.

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Hunter’s Chicken Recipe

Everyone Loves ChickenHere is a great recipe adapted by Arlene from Everyone Loves Chicken. Arlene is my former WW leader and a fabulous cook. Here’s what she said about the recipe:

Sometimes we fall into the trap of “it’s too hot to cook and it’s too hot to eat healthy.” So instead of eating a healthy meal, we graze all day. Grilling is a wonderful option but it’s nice to have other choices. So here is a recipe that I just tried. It was easy, yummy and gave me leftovers for two additional nights. It’s only one plate, a cutting board and a large skillet…so very little cleanup is required.

Hunter’s Chicken

Adapted by Arlene from “Everyone Loves Chicken”

This recipe is CORE or 4 points per serving

Serves 8 people

8 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about (5 oz each if you do Flex)

Or use thighs if you like dark meat

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper I added 1/2 jar of stuffed green olives

3 tsp olive oil

Cooking spray

1 large onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced (I use jarred garlic because I’m lazy)

2 large bell peppers, seeded and chunked

(I used green peppers, they are cheaper)

½ pound fresh button mushrooms, sliced

1 can artichoke hearts, packed in brine or water, not oil..

(drained and cut in half lengthwise)

(you can leave out the mushrooms or the artichoke is you do not like them)

1 28 oz can of low fat marinara or Pomodoro sauce (I used Traders Joe’s)

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat large nonstick skillet, spray and add 2 tsp olive oil. Brown chicken over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from skillet, put on plate and set aside. Cut each breast in half.

Add remaining oil into same skillet and add onion and garlic. Stir until softened, about 3 minutes. Add peppers, mushrooms and artichokes; cook. Stir occasionally until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add back in the chicken. Add the Sauce and stir so the chicken is coated. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes.

You can serve this right away, or make it in advance as it tastes even better the second day. This is an easy “bring to someone’s house” dish. This would also be excellent as a buffet dish, served in a chafing dish or on a hot tray. The chicken is good cold the next day.

I served it with a baked potato and used some of the sauce on the potato.I love potatoes as they are portion controlled. A salad completes the meal.


Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken

Roasted ChickenI found this recipe on the WeightWatchers.com message boards (must have etools account or a WW monthly pass for access) and made it this weekend. It’s an easy recipe, tasted yummy, but was a little bit messy because I overcooked it and the chicken fell apart. Oops. The meat was just fine but it made retrieving and picking it out a bit of a challenge.

Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken
1 whole chicken
olive oil cooking spray
Lawry’s seasoning salt
aluminum foil

Spray inside of crockpot with olive oil cooking spray. Clean chicken inside and out. Spray chicken with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Note: Do not put any water in the crockpot. Roll 3 or 4 wads of aluminum foil into 2”-3” balls and put them in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of these aluminum foil balls.

Cook on HIGH (will not come out the same if cooked on LOW) for 4-6 hours. (My 4.5 lb turkey cooked for 5 hours and it was too long, so keep an eye on it). Remove skin before serving.You have to use the aluminum to get the deli taste. This chicken tastes very close to one you would buy, precooked, in the deli section of your supermarket.

Yield: 1 chicken
Points: 1 point per ounce of chicken

The original recipe had a variation: to wrap up individual small potatoes in foil and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker to make the foil balls. I tried it and it was very messy. The potatoes ended up sitting in chicken fat and got punctured by the falling apart chicken (the bones had a life of their own, apparently). I threw out the potatoes because they were too fatty. Next time I’m making this with just wadded up foil balls. But I will make it again!