C’s SALAD OR ANYTHING GOES

I haven’t written in a while. In fact, since our return from Aruba there hasn’t been much free time. In an attempt to reclaim myself and get back into a routine, I felt the need to blog.

I swore when I came home I was going back on Weight Watchers; so I did! Having to wear a bathing suit in Aruba really puts things in perspective. With summer just around the corner, I decided to take a stand. It’s amazing what you can do when you get your head into the game.

I can’t imagine anybody not knowing what Weight Watchers is. I mean, it’s been around since the early 60’s. It was founded by Jean Nidetch of Queens, NY. She began inviting her friends to her home to discuss how best to lose weight. Now millions of people follow this program all over the world. You can still attend meetings and also follow the plan on the web. The program has changed many times over the years. It still offers the same benefits of health and successful weight loss.

I truly hate the word “diet”. As soon as someone mentions the word take a look at the person or people you are talking to. There are the head shakers, the nose wrinklers, the whispers, the laugh under your breath, basically the “non-believers”. So here is something you need to understand. Weight Watchers is a lifestyle not a diet!!!!

At present I have two partners in crime, two of my best friends actually. We all decided to change our “lifestyle” together. One of my friends had lunch for the 3 of us this week which resulted in this salad. She made this and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what I could put in it. I made it for my husband and myself last night. It was a huge hit with him too.

This salad can pretty much be whatever you want it to be. It’s a fantastic way to use leftover vegies. The addition of beans and the egg are good sources of protein. I added some fruit as well. I have a new-found love for Bolthouse Farms yogurt salad dressings. You can use a lot for few points. I was also recently told about a poppyseed salad dressing from Panera that is 1 point for 4 Tablespoons. I haven’t tried it yet but definitely will.

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Here is a list of what I used. This can be changed up by season and what is fresh. Seriously, this has no limits. For those of you that are lucky enough not to have a weight problem, you can also enjoy this. Vegies are for everyone!!!!!

C's Salad

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • Spiralized beets, cut into 3 inches (I use scissors for this)
  • Spiralized butternut squash, cut into 3 inches
  • Spiralized zucchini, cut into 3 inches
  • Carrot match sticks
  • Corn kernels (I used frozen and let them thaw to room temp)
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Chopped fennel
  • Chopped red pepper
  • Blueberries
  • Chopped strawberries
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Chopped scallions
  • Chickpeas
  • All of the above are on the zero points food list, use whatever you like. All of my vegetables are raw.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. I arranged everything in the bowl to make it pretty and eye appealing. I also wanted you to see what was in there.
  2. Serve with your favorite salad dressing. I am into the Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressings. I used the cucumber ranch. Two tablespoons = 1 point. It is a good amount.
  3. Salt and pepper or whatever seasoning you want on your salad.

This would be great for any time. If your hungry it’s a filling meal for little to no points.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

 

 

 

LIGHTENED UP CHICKEN FRANCESE (by Skinny Taste)

Yes, still in Aruba folks. We have a few days before our last and final crew come. I’m excited for them to get here. This has been a wonderful vacation. In the mean time, we are taking some down time and hanging out. In the mood to cook, I turned to one of my favorites. This Chicken Francese is amazing. It’s also one of my hubby’s favorites.

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While my husband loves this, he doesn’t like it if  it’s “too lemony”. Don’t get me wrong…..I love the extra lemon. In order to have my francese and eat it too, I had to cut back slightly on the lemon. The sauce turned out richly flavored from the chicken broth, white wine, and butter and enough lemon to please both of us. I added some roasted vegetables to round out our meal.

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The recipe below is the exact recipe by Gina Homolka, author of Skinny Taste. She has three cookbooks out. I own all three of them and use them all the time. She is an amazing cook. All of her recipes are big on flavor and light on calories. Check our her cookbooks and do yourself a favor and look her up @ https://www.skinnytaste.com/

CHICKEN FRANCESE LIGHTENED UP from GINA HOMOLKA @ SKINNY TASTE.COM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 large (32 oz) chicken breast halves, thinly sliced in 3 (12 cutlets total)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached flour*
  • 1/2 cup egg whites, beaten
  • 1 large lemon, juice of (about 3 tbsp) or more, to taste
  • 1/2 lemon sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 15 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • cooking spray
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the flour in a bowl, and the beaten egg whites in another bowl.
  3. Heat a very large non stick pan over medium heat. When hot spray with cooking spray to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
  4. Lightly flour chicken, then dip in eggs and add to the hot pan a few at a time. Saute chicken 2-3 minutes on each side.
  5. When cooked, transfer onto a plate.
  6. Spray the pan again and repeat until all chicken has been cooked.
  7. Once all chicken is cooked, place the chicken broth in the bowl with 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk.
  8. Add to the pan along with the juice of the lemon, white wine, lemon slices, parsley and butter and simmer over medium heat for about 2 minutes so it reduces slightly and thickens. Turn off heat.
  9. Return chicken to the pan to combine with the sauce.
  10. Serve immediately.

*discarded 1 tbsp flour so only calculated with 3 tbsp.

Note: I used one lemon cut in half. Half for the sliced lemon and the other half to squeeze in the sauce. It was a large lemon.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Yield: 6 servings, Serving Size: 2 cutlets

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Freestyle Points: 2
  • Points +: 6
  • Calories: 216.5 calories
  • Total Fat: 4.5g
  • Saturated Fat: g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 264.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fiber: 0.5g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 38g
All text ©Gina Homolka for Skinny taste
Til next time,
Ciao xoxo
Viki D

BINGO IN ARUBA

No, it’s not the game. It’s a fantastic restaurant on the island. Recommended to us 5 years ago by a local. It is the first stop we make as soon as we get here. We also go multiple times while we are here. Of course we take all of our guests there as well.

We went last night for the third time with our new arrivals. Once again it did not disappoint! We had a delightful waitress, Elena! Cute as a pin and just fun to engage. She informed us she was Dutch and 21 years old. We immediately became fast friends; I hope for years to come.

Our friendly bartender, Jimmy, has been working there as long as we have been going. He too is adorable, always has a big smile on his face. He never ceases to come from behind the bar to hug us and say “Welcome”. If you need to find something here, he is your man!

Bingo is a local hangout for the Dutch. The food is prepared fresh and is phenomenal. I will whisper one thing to you…..beef carpaccio! If you never try another thing; this is a must. We had the salmon carpaccio last night. It too, was amazing. I would never have paired a honey mustard sauce with it; it made the dish.

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Bingo has an old world feel; lanterns, dark wood tables, shutters at the windows. You feel transformed to another time. Bottles of Schrobbeler, a dutch liquor, line the windows and walls. It’s hard to describe the taste but it’s very good.

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There are steaks and burgers on the menu too. I had one of the best burgers last night I think I have had anywhere. Coming from me that’s saying something. I do love a good burger.  It was cooked to perfection and the meat was flavorful. My brother-in-law had steak and he raved about it.

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If you ever get to Aruba, and I suggest you do, locate Bingo. It’s a fun, friendly, atmosphere with great food. The entire staff is truly amazing. It has the feel of your local bar/restaurant away from home. The place is always packed and hopping; a reservation is a good idea. Eat in the bar or the restaurant, whatever your preference. You’ll be glad you did!

https://www.bingoaruba.com/

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

 

THE FUN BEGINS…..IN ARUBA 2019

This year in Aruba we have multiple guests arriving. I guess we talked about it so much they finally bit the bullet and said yes.

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Two of them are terrified of flying. It should be interesting to get them back on the ground. Hopefully all will go well and they will have a great flight.

The guys all love to fish so I know a fishing trip is planned. Sounds like the girls wanted to be part of it too. As for me, poolside is fine. It’s a definite that we go island exploring. So many things to see, the natural bridge, the tidal pool, Casibari Rock, and the many beaches. Beach time is always great here; the beaches are magnificent.

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Over the next month I want to highlight the restaurants here and show you the sights. This may be a place you love. It might be a place you’ve yet to visit. We can’t say enough about how wonderful Aruba and it’s people are. You don’t have to take my word for it. COME TO ARUBA!!!!!!

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Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

 

OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN WITH VEGGIE’S

Vacationing for an extended period? Renting a home? Get tired of eating out? Here’s a quick and inexpensive meal, that is full of flavor. It’s not just for vacation. It’s also a great meal when you get home from work.  I know the feeling. All you want to do is relax and get dinner over with. Right???!!!

We immediately went to the grocery when we arrived in Aruba. The food and restaurants here are amazing. Everything edible is treated with such reverence. I must admit though, there are times when I just want to cook and stay in. Chicken is so versatile and affordable. This is actually all done on a sheet pan. All you have to do is prep the veggies, throw them onto the pan. Top the vegies with chicken and roast.

I used boneless, skinless, chicken legs cut into large pieces. While I’m not usually a leg fan, this was pretty darn good. I would have preferred boneless skinless thighs. Alas, none were to be found in the grocery we were in. I used red skinned potatoes, carrots, chopped garlic and green onions for my vegetables. Everything was heavily seasoned with salt and pepper. I used olive oil to help with the roasting. I also added some white wine for flavor.

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My husband kept saying “oh my” and eating all the while. To say the least,  it was a warm, comforting, meal. So easy to fix while on vacation or at home. Use any chicken parts you like. You could also use any combination of vegetables. Sweet potatoes are particularly good in this dish. In fact, root vegetables in general are excellent.

You don’t have to wait for vacation to enjoy this one; it’s good any time. It’s a great, easy, meal for company or guests as well.

OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN AND VEGGIES

  • Servings: any amount needed
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • Potatoes, cut in half, large slices
  • Carrots, peeled and slice on the diagonal about 2 inches
  •  Green onions, large slices cut on the diagonal (you can use any amount)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, large dice
  • Boneless, skinless, chicken parts (any amount needed)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C white wine
  • Olive oil, enough to drizzle over the veggies and chicken to aid in roasting
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary, can use fresh as well to taste
  • Generous amounts of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set the oven to 375.
  2. Prepare all the vegetables and place them on a sheet pan.
  3. Generously salt and pepper and sprinkle over the rosemary. Drizzle olive oil all over and the white wine. Using your hands toss until everything is well coated.
  4. Clean your chicken pieces and generously salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil over the pieces and rub in with your hands. Put on top of the vegetables.
  5. Bake in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is completely cooked.
  6. To serve, place a good amount of vegetables on your dish and top with the chicken.

Enjoy

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

BASIC WHITE BREAD

Well…..I find myself in sunny Aruba again. This is where ATBB first started 2 years ago. Football playoffs are on so we are hanging out at the old hacienda today.

I’m not as enthused with Football as my husband. The Baltimore Ravens made it; they are playing the Chargers today. So in support of our local team I am logging a little bit of time. Since the TV is in the kitchen / sitting area I decided to bake and watch.

I am a big fan of my Kitchen-Aide mixer when it comes to making dough. Unfortunately, there isn’t one here. So what’s a baker to do??? Make it by hand of course. Yes, old school, kneading from beginning to end. It was actually kind of fun. It yields 2 loaves so I will have one for our guests arrival.

It has basic ingredients. All purpose flour, yeast, salt, water, oil, and a sweetener. I love using honey in bread. It gives it a nice mellow sweetness. You could use sugar if you like. Just remember, yeast loves sugar.  Sweet is essential for the rising process to occur. I used olive oil because that’s what I had. You could use vegetable or canola or any oil of your choice. They all work!

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The first rise takes place in a greased bowl. The dough is then divided in half and shaped into a loaf. The second rise takes place in two greased loaf pans. I put it in the oven with the oven light on. Cover it with a lint free towel. Dough loves warm places, free of drafts.

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Once the loaves have doubled in bulk it’s time to bake them. Bake for 30-45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. When done they should sound hollow when tapped with your finger and golden in color.

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That’s it! Go bake some bread. The biggest challenge will be waiting long enough to let it cool to eat.  You’ll be tempted to never buy store-bought bread again.

BASIC WHITE BREAD

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 C warm water (110-115 degrees) if you aren’t sure use a thermometer
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp honey, or sugar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt, or sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, or oil of choice
  • 6-7 C of all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. (if if is too hot it will kill the yeast. It can be cooler,  it will just take longer for it to bloom.)
  2. With a wooden spoon add 3 C of flour the sugar, and the salt. Beat well until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour a cup at a time until if forms a soft dough.
  3. Flour a surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour if it is sticky. Continue to knead until it is no longer sticky and when you poke the dough and make an indent it should spring back immediately. Form into a ball and place into a well-greased bowl, turning over once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  4. Once doubled, punch straight down into the center of the dough with your fist. Turn out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each into a loaf and place each in a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with a lint free towel and let rise until doubled again, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. Bake the loaves at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped. Remove the loaves from the pans to a wire rack to cool.

This also freezes well. Just wrap tightly in plastic wrap and again in aluminum foil. When ready to use just remove it from the freezer and let it thaw to room temperature in the wrapping.

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Viki D