Orange Halloween Jack o' lantern

From the girl who loves Pinterest, but sorta hates doing crafts about 30 seconds into making a craft, comes the Halloween Orange  Jack-O’-Lantern. This could not be easier, takes a total of maybe 5 minutes, and the results are adorable. I mean, look at that little guy – so cute! I think they would be perfect for a Halloween party, or lining the steps of your house for trick or treaters.

I have to give credit to my cousin, who had made Orange Jack-O’-Lanterns with her sons for a fall camping trip. They were so cute, all little and glowing. She mentioned they were super easy, so I decided to see if I could recreate the results at home. Turns out, I could, easily!

Here are the step-by-steps to get your own sweet little Halloween Orange Jack-O’-Lantern.

Halloween Orange Jack-O’-Lantern

You will need:

  • Oranges (look for large ones)
  • Metal spoon (a serving or tablespoon works well)
  • Small knife or pumpkin carving tools
  • Tea light candles

To make:

  • Being by cutting a small, round circle in the top of your orange. It should be big enough to get a spoon into, not much larger. Remove the circle, cut off the orange flesh and save as the lid.
  • Begin scooping the flesh of the orange out. This will be slightly difficult at first, but keep working until the flesh begins to peel away the way an orange normally would. You can put the orange guts in a bowl and eat as you go along.
  • Once your orange is all clean inside, make your design and carve with a knife or pumpkin carving tool.
  •  Place a tea light inside your orange, replace orange’s lid.
  • Light candle and enjoy the cuteness!

 

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I’ve finally become the famous blogger I hinted I’d be in November 2013. A mere year later, I’ve been quoted in the November issue of Health Magazine as part of a frozen food review feature. The section I’m quoted in deals with how to turn frozen food into five star meals.

Health Magazine November 2014

Bring on the speaking engagements; I’ll clear my schedule. I think maybe, quite possibly, this is the push I need to finally reach the bare minimum Google AdSense cash out threshold. That’s still $50, right? Looks like someone’s retiring early!

Dining at my Desk Health Magazine November

In all seriousness, it is exciting to be recognized for eating a TON of frozen meals-for-one over the years. I actually take my own advice if I’m eating a frozen meal for dinner – at the office it’s harder to make a frozen meal much more than it is. At home, you can perk up a frozen meal with whatever you’ve got on hand to make it a bit more enticing. It may not be clear from the Health blurb, but my advice is to is to take a frozen meal that may work as a lunch for one, and make it a side dish for two paired with a protein. For example, that same calorie-conscious macaroni and cheese frozen meal-for-one works great as a dinner side when you’re making dinner for two. Instead of serving a box of mac and cheese with your chicken breast or pork chop, you’re way ahead of the calorie curve if you split an already portion-controlled meal, and you’ll save time.

Now these are the types of pro tips that make you famous.

 

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Weight-Watchers-SimpleStart-App

I officially started the Weight Watchers Simple Start program 2 weeks ago. I can’t even tell you how hesitant I was to just eat off a list of Power Foods until I was “satisfied” and expect to lose weight. I’m an old school Points-counter; how could this work? Do the good people of Weight Watchers know how much I can eat?!

I decided to take to Twitter to inform my gazillions of followers (um, please follow me) of my progress. It was humorous journey, obviously best told through embedded tweets. If you want to know if the Simple Start program worked, just read until the end!

 

 

 

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I’ve got the sads. This was a direct quotation from a friend and I’s gchat today:

I’m just eating fat free cottage cheese out of the container
and working late
feeling sad
there was a fuzzy in my cottage cheese and I felt too sad to pick it out
eh
this is what my life is now
I’m sure this has happened to the majority of us. Sometimes when you’re sad, eating a stray piece of lint seems much better than the alternative of picking the lint out. Sometimes when you’re sad you need to find ways to make yourself not so sad, like searching for lamb cupcakes to be your friends on the internets. Other times, you just want to live in your sads, like your favorite pair of comfy pants. I’ve decided to fully embrace the pitifulness, stepping into the abyss, purchasing what might be the single saddest thing I’ve ever seen, at Aldi of all places, a locale that usually makes me wildly happy with very cheap prices:
Happy Harvest Vegetables
This is what my life has come to – individual cups of green beans, shelf-stable, single serving. SIGH.
Pause with me for a moment, internets, while we really feel the sads.
Aldi Single Serve Vegetables
Ok, are we done? I’m done, because actually, as you can see, these things are awesome for your diet! They’re next to no calories, and they’re totally friendly for desktop dining, particularly if you lack refrigeration at your workplace (sorry). The green beans are 10 calories per serving, the corn is 30. 0 points. Each has 140 milligrams of sodium. Is that a lot? I don’t know.
This is what a serving looks like fancy-style, on a dinner plate with other dinner items:
Single Serving Veggie Cups
They’re kind of pretty perfect, if you ask me. They tasted like (drumroll) green beans, and maybe just a hint classier than those in a can. I’m going to throw the whole lot of them in my train bag for this week at work. And…if there’s a fuzzy or two in there, I may just have the strength to pick it out. Maybe.
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When you are an important executive, like myself, you may one day find yourself with two vital pieces of office machinery in your private work suite. These items are: a microwave and a mini-fridge. The mini-fridge is especially indispensable for filing away your most important files (a 6 pack of Bud Light), and the microwave is critical to your overall desktop dining experience, lending its magical heating powers to your favorite new work lunch: the Refried Bean Surprise. Allow me to tell you how this delightful dish came to pass.

I’ve recently re-joined Weight Watchers – that Jessica Simpson got me all pumped about the Simple Start two week program:

Ok, this body has made zero amazing little human beings, however, it’s eaten a lot of amazing donuts & pizza and drank its fair share of booze, which is sort of like the same thing. 

Enter the Weight Watchers Simple Start program. It’s easy – eat until you’re satisfied from a prescribed list of Power Foods, lose weight. Take 7 Points Pluses a day for fun stuff not included in the list, like doughnuts and booze.

Weight Watchers Simple Start List of Power Foods

Weight Watchers Simple Start List of Power Foods

It really is that simple – and it works. I lost 3.2 pounds in my first week; I’ll keep you posted on the results of the second week.

But what I’m really getting at here is that my favorite “Power Food” from the list is fat free refried beans, specifically the Old El Paso spicy ones. These mushed up beauties are an essential source of protein and deliciousness in my new simple diet. Combine them with almost any meat, a sprinkle of fat free cheese (it’s as disappointing as you might imagine), a liberal dousing of hot sauce, some fat free Greek yogurt to top it off, and you’ve got yourself a truly respectable office meal. It’s like a tostada without all the best parts, but with cheese that almost melts – kind of. Just look at this thing of beauty – yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m losing weight eating that.

Dining at my Desk Refried Bean Surprise

Refried Bean Surprise

At this point, I’m sure you’re dying to know what the surprise is. Well, the surprise is that fat free Greek yogurt does not taste exactly like sour cream, as promised by my best friend, Renee. The first day I tried it as a substitute was in a bowl of chili, resulting in a big blob of yogurt in my chili. Cool. That being said, the fat free Greek yogurt does work a little better in Mexican-themed dishes, especially if you put enough hot sauce on it.

If you’d like to try your hand at making Refried Bean Surprise in your own office, I’m sure you can figure it out for yourselves, but just in case, here’s the recipe:

Refried Bean Surprise – Weight Watchers Simple Start Approved

Ingredients (all Weight Watchers Power Foods):

  • Fat Free Refried Beans (you’ll need a can opener if you’re making this at your desk)
  • Meat (beef, chicken, pork) I used some sort of beef I found at Aldi they claimed was perfect for making a Mexican-sounding dish that I cannot remember. I found it to be a cross between ground beef and steak. I dumped some fajita seasoning in it and threw it in the crockpot.
  • Fat Free Cheese (ugh)
  • Hot Sauce (don’t skimp)
  • Fat Free Greek Yogurt (or fat free sour cream)

Fat Free Refried Bean Surprise

Instructions:

  • Put some refried beans on a plate. Spread them around in a pleasing fashion.
  • Put some meat on top of the beans.
  • Sprinkle a liberal dose of fat free cheese on top.
  • Heat in the microwave just long enough for the entire office to smell like Refried Bean Surprise, about 2 minutes.
  • Debate whether to put the hot sauce or the yogurt on first. I’m sure it doesn’t matter. Again, you can figure this out.
  • Optional toppings: I could see lettuce, tomato, onion and cilantro working nicely with this.

 

 

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