Things from my heart 1.0

I launched the blog (again) and then I completely disappeared. I have a whole list of blog post ideas, and had no idea where to even start. It’s been a tough month or so, emotionally for me. I got some advice from my incredible mom friends, and one told me to just write from my heart. So here I am! We are surrounded by negativity most of the time, so I want to share some things that have been uplifting me lately.

Fall Weather and Date Nights: the weather in North Carolina has been absolutely perfect in the past week or so. We’ve been enjoying spending more time outside. On Friday night, we had a date night out on our patio where we shared wine, charcuterie, and stories from when we first started dating. On Saturday, we enjoyed IPAs and burgers at our favorite neighborhood watering hole. Having the windows open has been an unexpected blessing.

Stickers: a friend of mine has started her own business doing custom photo edits and stickers. I’ve had some made of the baby, and the dogs too. This is my latest order. She is so incredibly thoughtful and included some blog stickers too! I can’t wait to decorate my water bottle with the new stickers. They make me feel like a kid again!

Real Housewives of Orange County: I am unabashedly and completely addicted to this franchise. Believe it or not, I had never seen a single episode until a few weeks ago. Now I am just finishing up season 8. It’s been a nice distraction from the actual real world. I have no idea what I will watch when this is over, but I think I’ll go back to Hart of Dixie (I’ve only seen season 1 so far) for a bit of a change of pace. Or maybe in honor of the major Emmy’s wins from last night, I’ll rewatch Schitt’s Creek. I feel like I’ve seen everything under the sun, but I really haven’t. I just love watching tv!

My baby: this kid is literally the center of my world and almost one year old. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has gone. Now that the weather is getting nice, we are trying to get out more, since he’s spent so much of his life basically locked up in the house. We just started Kindermusik last week, and as you can see by his face, he was unsure but the kid loves music so I think once he warms up to the new environment, he will do great!

The Holiday Season…

… is upon us. Today is Halloween, Thanksgiving will be here in a few short weeks, and then Christmas is right around the corner. I really need to start shopping…

Halloween: probably my least favorite holiday. For one reason or another, I have cried on Halloween every year of my adult life. So, I just choose to not really celebrate it. When I was little, I loved trick-or-treating so much. In fact, one of my favorite smells is what your pillowcase or pumpkin full of candy smells like after you have collected all of the chocolaty and fruity treats. Maybe one day I will like Halloween again… but for now, I will let it come and go without any fanfare. At least we got an ‘early release’ from work! And so far so good, no tears. I did not eat $hit on my 3.5 mile walkjog, and I think I am safe for the rest of the evening…

In other news, I decorated (barely) for Fall!

The pretty flowers unfortunately did not come from a mystery man who knows I hate Halloween and thought I needed some cheering up, but rather came from Trader Joe’s – best $3.99 money can buy. My table looks so pretty!

Now that it is finally getting cold out (which I do not like, but I will deal with), I can finally cook soups and butternut squash and casseroles without having to turn down the air conditioning in my apartment to have the oven on. This week is Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash and more Tortellini and Tofu soup (it is just so cheap…)

Happy Monday (and Halloween.) to all! 

Paula Deen’s Tomato Pie – Lightened Up!

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite Paula Deen recipes. While it doesn’t taste nearly as ‘bad’ as the real thing (did you see how much cheese it called for?!) I tried to substitute with healthier ingredients for a Weight Watchers friendly version of the pie.

4 tomatoes, sliced medium to thin
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh basil, to taste
1/2 c. light mayo
1/4 c. light sour cream
1 oz. 2% mozzarella cheese
1 oz. 2% sharp cheddar cheese
1 can reduced fat crescent rolls
Salt and pepper

First things first, slice the tomatoes and put them in a colander in one layer. Salt the tomatoes to drain the excess water. You may have to repeat the process in batches, since there are a lot of tomatoes.

While the tomatoes are draining, saute the onions and garlic in a nonstick pan over medium heat on the stove. Cook until onions are softened and sweet. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Prep a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. I used a medium rectangular glass dish.

Mix onion and garlic mixture with mayo, sour cream, and cheeses. Set aside.

Layer the tomatoes, basil, and pepper in the bottom of the cooking sheet. No salt needed since the tomatoes were already salted.

Then, top this with the mayo and onion mixture. Spread evenly over top of the tomatoes. I added more pepper at this point.

Finally, top with the entire roll of crescent roll. My tip: flatten these pretty thin first to make sure they cook all the way through. Mine did not cook completely through, so I ended up flipping the crust and cooking for 10 more minutes… not ideal, but it worked!

Put in the oven for appx. 30 – 40 minutes until top crust is golden brown and dish is warmed completely through and bubbly.

This serves four, at 9 points plus per serving.