Recipe #2 – Southwestern Chicken-Bean Salad

For my second recipe, I again went for a Weight Watcher recipe.  Part of the reason I did this was because I was trying to figure out what I wanted to make while at work and I knew I could research recipes on their website.  I wanted something easy that wouldn’t take a lot of time as I had a long day at work.  I stuck pretty much to the recipe, using canned corn instead of corn on the cob (really…I don’t know why they suggest corn on the cob when you’re going to take the corn off the cob anyway!)  I also opted not to use corn oil….I didn’t see any point in adding it to the recipe since it wasn’t used to cook the chicken.  I also couldn’t find taco seasoning at the Safeway I went to (I’m sure it was there, I just couldn’t find it and was in a hurry) and instead opted to cook my own chicken (chicken breast cutlets with oregano, salt cooked in balsamic vinegar).  I also decided to make these open faced tacos, using whole wheat tortillas and adding a small amount of shredded cheese.

Overall I was pretty happy with how it came out.  It was easy and tasty.  No culinary masterpiece but a good weeknight meal.

Southwestern Chicken-Bean Salad

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POINTS® Value: 5
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 0 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
This crisp, refreshing salad takes only minutes to make if you begin with precooked chicken breasts, available at most supermarkets. Serve our salad as is, or roll it in tortillas for finger-lickin’-good wrap sandwiches.


2 medium scallion(s), chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper(s), chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper(s), chopped
15 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 piece(s) corn on the cob, kernels removed
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp corn oil
8 oz chicken breast, cooked, skinless, chopped
2 tbsp reduced-sodium taco seasoning, about 1/2 a 1.25 oz packet
4 tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
4 tbsp fat-free sour cream


  • Combine scallions, peppers, beans and corn in a large bowl; toss until well mixed.
  • Add lime juice and oil to bean mixture; toss to coat. Add chicken, taco seasoning and cilantro; toss. Top with sour cream and serve. Yields about 1 1/2 cups salad plus 1 tablespoon sour cream per serving.

New Recipe Challenge of 2009

Im not a chef, but I play one on TV...

I'm not a chef, but I play one on TV...

So for those of you who know me, you know I’m not much of a cook.  I made the admission a month or so ago that I had used my oven for the first time in my apartment (I’ve lived here for over 18 months).  That being said, I’ve always wanted to cook more, (I have about 10 cookbooks) but I’ve been hard pressed to get inspired to cook for just myself.  So when a friend of mine started talking about how he had decided to cook more I thought, hey, I should take a hint and do that as well!

I figured the way to try and stick with this would be to challenge myself (and anyone else who would like to) to cook one new recipe a week.  So, the plan is to blog the recipe and how it turned out each and every week for this year.  I started on Sunday with a Sesame Chicken recipe I found in my Weight Watcher’s Dining for Two Cookbook.


2 (5 ounce) skinless boneless chicken breast halves (I used breast cutlets)

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 TBSP plain dry bread crumbs

1 TBSP sesame seeds

1/2 tsp cajun seasoning

2 tsp olive oil

1. Combine the chicken and buttermilk in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate, about 20 minutes

2. Preheat oven to 350 F

3, Mix together the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, and Cajun seasoning on a sheet of wax paper.  Lift a chicken breast from the buttermilk, allowing the excess buttermilk to drip off.  Coat the chicken on both sides with the crumb mixture, pressing gently so it adheres.  Repeat with the remaining chicken; discard any remaining buttermilk and crumb mixture.

4. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until golden, 2-3 minutes on each side.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

This yields 2 servings and each serving is 281 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 1 g fiber.

So what I realized when doing this was that with cutlets you need more of the bread crumb mixture because they’re smaller pieces that you need to cover.  The cooking time is also different because of this.  Luckily I figured this out before it was too late  but if I do this recipe again, I’ll use halved chicken breasts.  To get a real crispy texture you have to make sure that you’re cooking the breasts in a well oiled skillet.  Some of the pieces were pushed off too far to the side so didn’t come out as crispy.  Other than that, I was really happy with the recipe.  I served it with asparagus grilled in a garlic white balsamic vinegar.

I did another recipe this evening but that’ll be saved for a later blog post.  I’ve already been told by a few people they want to see pics…I’m going to hold off on pics until I get a bit more confident with my skills.  Right now it definitely tastes better than it looks!


Happy New Year!

I know a lot of people have been talking about resolutions for 2009…but this year my only resolution was to not have any resolutions.  I figure if there’s something I want to do I’ll do it, regardless of the new year or not.  Hence why I started my 12 days of Christmas exercise program prior to 2009.  I managed pretty well, btw.  I only ended up missing one day…

That being said, I hope good things happen for those of you who are looking for changes in your life this year!  Happy 2009!

Merry Christmas to all….

What does Christmas mean to you?

What does Christmas mean to you?

As I was doing the last of my Christmas shopping this morning (prior to the mobs) I had time to reflect on what Christmas means to me.

Of course it means lots of good food, presents, parties, etc.  But for me it’s more about spending times with the friends and family you love and care about.  It seems fitting that Christmas falls toward the end of the year because I feel like it’s a great time to appreciate the people who mean the most to you and who have been a part of your life.  Christmas, while a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus (for you religious folks out there) is in my opinion, a time to celebrate the gift of life, love and friendship.  When I give someone a Christmas present, in a sense it’s a thank you for being a part of my life and making it better.  There is so much commercialism during this time that I feel a lot is lost in the giving of gifts.  You make a list of the people you HAVE to give gifts to…it becomes a hassle, you get frustrated with the crowds or not knowing what to give people.   Even I get get caught up in this from time to time, but I always try to remember what Christmas means to me….and this morning I had time to really think about it and let it sink in.

If you’re reading this, I hope that you take some time out to think about what the holidays mean to you…and find some joy in it.  For those of you who are a part of my life, thank you for being there.  You are appreciated even if I don’t say it enough…know that I think it on a regular basis.  And for those of you who don’t know me but happened upon this post, I hope you too find some joy and meaning behind this holiday.  Whether your religious or not, I think everyone can find something positive in this season.

Merry Christmas to you all, with much love, joy and peace.

My Twelve Days of Christmas…

Isnt this a LOVELY quilt?!

Isn't this a LOVELY quilt?!

Well, that doesn’t really look like my twelve days of Christmas but it made me laugh.

So, by twelve days of Christmas I mean that I’m challenging myself over the next 12 days (actually, I started yesterday) to work out every day.  Why, you may ask?  I need something to counteract all these damn parties where I’m drinking & eating far too much!  Plus, it eases me into the New Year where resolutions are always to be more healthy and active! 😉
I will report back on 12/31 to confirm whether or not I was able to make this possible.  For those of you who know me and talk to me on a regular basis, feel free to gently remind me to work out!  Yesterday was the first run I’ve done in over a month!

Happy Holidays….wait, I’m not ready!

Hello there.

It’s been a crazy month of big happenings at work, parties and concerts. I’ve not really started my Christmas shopping (which is why I’ll never be a true Capricorn…I procrastinate far too much) but I at least know (or have an idea) of what I’m getting everyone.

Meanwhile, The Choral Project has been preparing for our upcoming concerts this weekend entitled Winter’s Gifts: Solstice.  This is how it’s described on our website.

“The Choral Project and the San José Chamber Orchestra present their annual holiday offering Winter’s Gifts, featuring music that highlights wintertime and the Solstice with Native American music and traditional holiday pieces. The two ensembles combine with the stellar talents of Ann Licater, a specialist of the Native American flute, to weave a rich tapestry of seasonal sounds with which to celebrate the yuletide. Works include “Winter” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasy on “Greensleeves,” and Eric Whitacre’s Winter, set for strings, harp, sitar and choir.”

It should be a pretty good concert.  Not Christmas-y but we haven’t done that in years.  There are some beautiful pieces with the sitar and Native American flute.  I also have a solo (really an interlude between pieces….just myself and the orchestra) that is quite beautiful.

Shows in SF and Santa Clara.  If you’re interested in going you can purchase tickets on the website.  Fingers crossed we have a few people at the SF show as we haven’t performed up here in years (so not much of a base).

Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz …

Not all of these descriptions fit me but a few do! I <3 silly quizzes!

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz…

You Are a Marilyn!


You are a Marilyn — “I am affectionate and skeptical.”

Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Be direct and clear
  • * Listen to me carefully
  • * Don’t judge me for my anxiety
  • * Work things through with me
  • * Reassure me that everything is OK between us
  • * Laugh and make jokes with me
  • * Gently push me toward new experiences
  • * Try not to overreact to my overreacting.

What I Like About Being a Marilyn

  • * being committed and faithful to family and friends
  • * being responsible and hardworking
  • * being compassionate toward others
  • * having intellect and wit
  • * being a nonconformist
  • * confronting danger bravely
  • * being direct and assertive

What’s Hard About Being a Marilyn

  • * the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
  • * procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
  • * fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
  • * exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
  • * wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
  • * being too critical of myself when I haven’t lived up to my expectations

Marilyns as Children Often

  • * are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
  • * are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
  • * form a team of “us against them” with a best friend or parent
  • * look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
  • * are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent

Marilyns as Parents

  • * are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
  • * are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
  • * worry more than most that their children will get hurt
  • * sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

I <3 Google Image Search

This is what I got when I looked at Self Sabotaging Behavior…

That and a picture of Tom Cruise…oy vey.

Somehow I’ve managed to fuck up one potentially good thing in my life…live and learn, I suppose.  My self sabotaging behavior has led to self hate at the moment.  I’m sure I’ll get over it…but I’ll be kicking myself for a while.

All you need is…


I admit it, I’m a sucker for love (as if you couldn’t tell from my previous post).  I don’t think I will ever be jaded when it comes to love, no matter how many times my heart is broken.  It it something I truly believe in because to be honest, if we don’t have love, we don’t have anything to live for!

Sharing a quote from one of my favorite films, Love Actually.  The beginning of the film starts with Hugh Grant’s character stating the following:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspision love actually is all around.”

I hope you all have someone to love, whether that be a girlfriend, boyfriend, mother, father, sister, brother, friend.  Because truly, it is the root of all happiness.

The Lovers

You are The Lovers

Motive, power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.

The Lovers represents intuition and inspiration. Very often a choice needs to be made.

Originally, this card was called just LOVE. And that’s actually more apt than "Lovers." Love follows in this sequence of growth and maturity. And, coming after the Emperor, who is about control, it is a radical change in perspective. LOVE is a force that makes you choose and decide for reasons you often can’t understand; it makes you surrender control to a higher power. And that is what this card is all about. Finding something or someone who is so much a part of yourself, so perfectly attuned to you and you to them, that you cannot, dare not resist. This card indicates that the you have or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing that you will fall in love with. You will know instinctively that you must have this, even if it means diverging from your chosen path. No matter the difficulties, without it you will never be complete.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.