Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Never Stop Learning and Trying

Today was my last day of classes for the fall semester, but I'm never going to stop learning.  This week alone, I've learned how to cut a pineapple and a mango! Ok ok, so that's not exactly what I learned at school, but it's definitely more interesting than Business Development.

So here's the background story: I used to buy all sorts of pre-cut fruit from the fridges at the grocery store, but my dad would complain that it's too expensive and we're paying for people to cut something we could easily cut ourselves.  So the first step was to learn how to cut cantaloupe, but now I'm bored of that and reallyyyy craving pineapple.  So I'm going to learn exactly how to handle this leafy, spiky, pointy ball of yumm!

Luckily enough, my family just happens to have a handy dandy pineapple corer.

Unfortunately it was IMPOSSIBLE to use, and it made a HUGE mess.

But in the end, it was completely worth it, and my mother and I ate the whole think straight off the cutting board!

Lesson learned, but tomorrow I'm going to use a different method to cut the pineapple I just bought today.  I'm usually a huge fan of interesting kitchen tools, but this one seems like a disaster.

Switching gears just a bit, there is no part of cutting a mango that is fun or easy, but now that these delicious things are ZERO PTS+, I would peel and cut a mango every day if I had time.  My mom used to cut these for me for breakfast all the time when I was little, so I tried to remember how she did it back then and this is the result:

 I obviously knew I had to get the peel off and work my way around the pit.  Other than that, it was  easy!  (And yes, I did try to bite all the excess mango off of the pit.)


This free fruit has really given me a new perspective on things... Just look at how I made a 3 PTS+ peanut butter and banana sandwich:
 2 slices Arnold Bakery Light 100% Whole Wheat Bread (2 PTS+), 1 TBSP Better'n Peanut Butter (1 PTS+; if you use 2 TBSP it's 2 PTS+), 1/2 banana with a half to enjoy on its own (0 PTS+).  I could probably have one of these every day and never get bored of it.  Whoever decided that peanut butter and banana should be consumed together was clearly a genius!

When the new PointsPlus program rolled out, and I got my hands on the PointsPlus Cookbook, I immediately went through all the recipes and made a list of all the ones I wanted to try.
The one my whole family was most excited about is actually the one on the bottom right of the cover: linguine with pesto-ricotta and peas.  I think my version came out looking almost identical to the picture in the book...

This much (1 cup) is 7 PTS+, and my whole family loved it! If I didn't have a huge list of other recipes to try, I would definitely make this again.

To have with the pasta, I chopped up an onion, threw it on a baking sheet, sprayed it with some nonstick spray, and stuck it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 450 degrees. MMMM how I loveeee onion!

Yes, I love onion, but I've always been weary of spinach.  There's something about it that's just too leafy for me to get over.  It feels too much like I'm eating a tree.  BUT when this recipe for Spinach with Parmesan Bread Crumbs popped up on the Weight Watchers homepage, I took it as a sign that I needed to give spinach a second chance. 

While it looks fabulous, and smelled fabulous, spinach just isn't my thing, and it may never be my thing.

The most redeeming part of the recipe was the breadcrumbs!!

For the longest time I've been craving tomato soup, so when my mom and I went to the grocery store over the weekend we brought our PointsPlus calculator and our Food Companion with us to try to find a soup that will fit my PointsPlus budget and satisfy my craving.  Well, one out of two isn't bad, right?

I ended up going with Campbell's Select Harvest Tomato with Basil (1 cup = 3 PTS+).  The tomato part was great, but the basil was overbearing.  Every bite felt like a mouthful of herbs... not appealing at all!

As you can see, I had something else with my soup that night... and I ended up enjoying my Garden Lites Roasted Vegetable souffle more than the soup.  1/4 of the entire souffle is 2 PTS+... and it was so good that I ended up having two servings (only half of a serving is shown there).

 That's all I have for you guys for now, but tomorrow I'm making a broccoli-potato-cheddar soup (recipe can be found in the PointsPlus cookbook) and Friday I'm making a shrimp lo mein (a variation of a recipe in the Ready, Set, Go cookbook).  I'm super excited about the lo mein on Friday, but I really can't wait to exchange Christmas presents with my boyfriend on Friday!!  He'll never guess what I got him =)

I'll be sure to let you know how all of that goes.  Until then... happy eating,
Steph =)

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