Yellow Daisy Chick Chat



Cooking Light Comes Over

Cooking Light came to my house a few weeks ago.

As I re-read that sentence, it still hardly seems real. If you’ve been anywhere near me the past month, you already know all of the details; feel free to “x” out now. However, I’ve decided to preserve that day in writing so that when I’m old and senile, I will know it actually happened.

Cooking Light came to my house a few weeks ago. As a huge fan and guest blogger of their life-changing Cooking Light Diet, they asked if we could make a little cooking video together to go along with the January/February issue. I was like, “yeah, sure, you know, no big deal, I do this all the time. My house is always magazine-ready, and I always have magazine-worthy clothes ready to go, and I’m never anxiety-ridden about cooking with award-winning food writers.”

Ha! As thrilled as I was about getting this amazing opportunity, I actually was more in disbelief, which quickly led to denial. For a few weeks, with the date being a ways off, I lived life and made a lot of lists of things I needed to do. I am amazing at list-making. Unfortunately, list-completing is another thing entirely. With a week left and the details being communicated, I soon found myself in panic mode. I had tried to convince them earlier that I was a terrible choice, that I was not worthy, much less able to speak coherently on camera. I’m a writer, not a speaker. (Also a lover, not a fighter.) Unable to change their minds, once the plan was a-go, I decided I needed to channel a strong, capable woman to get through this. As any middle-aged, dieting, white woman would do, I chose Beyonce. She is the queen. She can do anything!

beyonce sasha fierce
This is basically what I looked like in my head.
With my new Beyonc-spiration (sorry,) I realized that my house and wardrobe and yard and everything was wrong and I contemplated burning the house down. After deciding that was a bit extreme, I decided to temporarily move in to someone else’s house. That plan didn’t work out either, so I asked a friend to help me spruce up the house decor. I purchased 734 blouses, hoping one would work. I planted some flowers. In the end, things were looking so good, I felt as happy as Beyonce on a yacht with Jay-Z and Blue.

bey jayz
Beautiful AND bad ass.
The folks from Birmingham arrived late morning and with the help from some courage-boosting mimosas, we got acquainted. There was a great deal of Cooking Light Diet talk, lots of football talk, quite a few Parks and Rec references (knowledge of which being my main criteria for “good people”) and eventually, we got down to work. They even brought a hair/makeup/wardrobe lady! Marie, who also blogs and cooks in CL videos, tended to my every want and need, mostly by making me laugh at her perfect impression of Kristen Wiig’s Target lady. Her doting on me only encouraged my inner diva, which was of great concern to my family. I tried to get my son to fan me and my daughter to feed me grapes, but they both refused. Kids today!

There was also a chill video guy, Caleb, who basically kept the camera rolling all day. I felt so awkward; honestly, I don’t know how reality stars can stand it for more than a day. There was a sound guy with really good energy, Sean, who mic’ed me up early, and of course, I forgot it was on in the beginning and went to the bathroom with it on. He kindly assured me I wasn’t the first to do so, but good grief, Beyonce would never do that! The group brought lots of yummy Cooking Light Diet snacks; some gorgeous cookbooks; some delicious, much-needed wine; and basically made my whole family feel comfortable and appreciated.

After displaying multiple speech impediments and an inability to think under pressure in an on-camera Q&A with the smart, funny, and down-to-earth Matthew Moore (CLD Community Manager,) I had the pleasure of cooking with the lovely and talented Ann Taylor Pittman. She immediately made me feel at ease by being a mom and a dog lover, as well as being a super nice person. Her recipe for Easy Thai Steak Noodle Bowl was ideal for my family: healthy, easy, delicious, and interesting. We had some laughs as she showed me some of her techniques and I tried not to be distracted by the fact that my ovens from 1994 might be in the video.

Note how I am smack dab in front of the ovens. Well-played, self, well-played.
Please focus on me and not the ovens! I’ve never felt as fascinating as when I poured out this pasta water.
Afterwards, I cooked our very first Cooking Light Diet meal, Linguine with Garlicky Kale and White Beans, for the camera. I was so nervous, I messed up the amount of kale, but hopefully no one noticed. It was surreal to be cooking with these awesome food professionals. We ate a lot of fabulous food, drank some great wine, and overall had an incredibly fun day.

I was so busy, I didn’t take many pictures. I wish I had taken one of the whole gang. Beyonce definitely would have thought of that. Suffice it to say, my day with Cooking Light is right up there with all of my best days. They were truly the nicest people; professional but laid-back at the same time and very gracious. I loved having them here. As stressed as I started out, I ended up having a ball.

It’s funny how quickly it was all over. Monday morning came and it was back to life as usual. Which was good and bad. I had 733 blouses to return, two kids and two dogs to parent, and dinner doesn’t just cook itself, now, does it? But I had leftovers, thanks to the generosity of the Cooking Light Diet team, and through that food, I was able to relive that day one more time. I’ll be reliving it in my mind for many years to come. I have so much gratitude for the wonderful Cooking Light Diet that got me here and for the Cooking Light Diet team for showing us some new healthy recipes that even Beyonce would love.

beyonce kale

Take care of yourselves and each other,


Yesterday’s Taco Tuesday: Deep Dish Nachos, #CookingLightDiet Style!

Technically, this dish is called “Mexican Casserole,” but since my kids avoid the word “casserole” like the plague, I marketed it to them as “Deep Dish Nachos.” Even if you’re selling dinner to your children, marketing is everything! And children and nachos go together like chips and melted cheese, do they not? This meal worked out great for me because my next door neighbor and my mother had just brought me some beautiful farm stand and homegrown tomatoes..lucky us!

First, brown ground turkey with onion, jalapeño, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
Make a lighter refried bean using canola oil and smash a can of pinto beans with the back of a wooden spoon.
Combine tomatoes and cilantro. Look at those gorgeous tomatoes!
Layer baked chips, ground turkey, beans, and tomato mixture. Then top with another layer of baked chips and one cup of monterey jack cheese. (Somehow I forgot to take a pic of the final layer…oops!)
I found a quick Cooking Light salsa to make to use up more tomatoes. Easy and yummy!
The final product. I topped each portion with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, green onions, sliced olives, and some of the salsa. The kids loved it, and voted it a “Do Over.” Taco Tuesday is a big deal at our house, and “Deep Dish Nachos” definitely lived up to the fam’s expectations. So glad there are leftovers for lunch!

Sunflower Granola Breakfast Parfaits — #CookingLightDiet Style!

Oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, flaxseed meal, and pepitas drizzled with honey/butter/vanilla/cinnamon/salt mixture and broiled for a few minutes. Smells incredible! Can’t wait to put this over Greek yogurt and strawberries tomorrow am!

Crispy Fish Sticks with Pineapple Ketchup, #CookingLightDiet Style!

It’s our first full week of school and I’m trying to get back into cooking a healthy meal most nights. Summer was a lot of quick and easy…and a lot of late dinnertimes. With football practice and high school homework, I’ve been trying to get dinner on the table at a decent time. This meal was loved and devoured by my kids. I had some trouble getting the corn flakes to adhere to the fish but it was still good. I loved the ketchup but the kids were pretty meh about it. The overall work involved was too much for a weeknight. Save this one for the weekend or prep earlier. (Full disclosure: also added some sweet potato fries for starving, growing boy.) Peas and corn were from the Veggie Patch down the road…so so lucky to have their produce stand convenient to my house! Lady peas and sweet corn make any dinner rock!


No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars, #CookingLight, August 2015 Issue

Dessert last night. Breakfast this morning. Sweet and salty, peanut buttery perfection. Healthiness from Cheerios with Ancient Grains, oats, coconut, dates (can’t taste ’em but makes ’em chewy), pistachios, peanut butter and honey. At a mere 149 filling calories, quite #CookingLightDiet worthy! Until this recipe, I did not know that Cheerios were available with Ancient Grains. Did you see the funny @TheOnion headline this week about them? “New OmniGrain Cheerios Made With Every Existing Grain On Earth.” Oh, how I love those Onioneers and their multigrain humor!
I got all Martha Stewart and wrapped them individually. Makes for a great grab ‘n go breakfast or snack, and even better, tie a bow and send some in to Vacation Bible School teachers to assuage your own guilt for not volunteering!

Chicken Enchiladas, #CookingLightDiet Style

Sometimes we are too hungry to wait to take a picture. Here is what’s left of a 9×13 pan of chicken enchiladas: rotisserie chicken, salsa verde, light cream cheese, cilantro, red enchilada sauce, light cheddar, and corn tortillas…this, my friends, is what I call a diet dinner. #TacoTuesday

Browned Butter-Pecan Chewy Crispy Bars — I <3 #CookingLightDiet!

These grown-up Rice Krispie treats were too delicious. No, really. I will not make them again because I want to eat the whole pan.. #bestworstsnackyet
These grown-up Rice Krispie treats were tooooooo delicious. No, really. I can’t make them again because I want to eat the whole pan. Best and worst snack yet. Only 105 calories a bar, 2100 calories a pan. Damn you, you buttery, crunchy goodness.

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