Wednesday, February 20, 2013

BBQ Mini Meatloaves, Mashed Potatoes Ole & PCOS

Last night's meal comes straight out of my recipe box.  Well, actually, I guess I must give credit where credit is due.  Last night's meal came out of a Kraft Food & Family magazine and off the back of a container of French's French Fried Onions container.  And, again, I forgot to take pictures.  But, that's okay, because the ones I've used, come off the websites for these companies and are far more photogenic than mine.

The mini meatloaves are actually made in a 12-muffin tin.  I was excited to make these because I have been wondering for a long time how making individual meatloaves in a muffin tin would work.  You see, the meatloaf recipe I have comes from my mother,and I believe it is the best in the world, but it takes almost an hour to cook, and sometimes I don't have that long.  So, it seems that, once again, this little project of mine is going to help me with more than finding new recipes and cleaning out my recipe box & board.  

While I got my recipe from the Kraft Food & Family magazine, it is also available on the Kraft website.  Just click here.

Marvelous Mini Meatloaves

There are three other variations you can make, but I chose to make the one with barbeque sauce because my mother's recipe calls for barbeque sauce and I wanted to see how the two matched up.  My mother's recipe calls for a can of golden mushroom soup, eggs and oats to act as binders.  This recipe calls for 1 cup of water and a box of Stove Top Stuffing to bind it.  The smell was great, and the taste was too, but, it will not replace my mama's recipe.  I am happy to report that the meatloaves were a success, but they will not replace my mama's.  However, this would be a good go-to on a rushed evening!  All told, the meal took about 45 minutes to prepare.

As for the potatoes, well, it seems to be a trend that I messed up the recipe again.  I did not do exactly what I was supposed to, but it was still a hit.  I'm not sure when I obtained my recipe, but you can find it on the French's website, by clicking here.

Mashed Potatoes Ole

First, I didn't buy the Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  I had Butter & Herb, so that's what I used.  Also, I decided not to buy the Cheddar-flavored French Fried Onions.  I had bought some of the original version for Thanksgiving and still had plenty left, so that's what I used.  I didn't really think it would make much difference in the final flavor, so I decided to proceed with the rest of the recipe as instructed.  At least, I intended to.  As you can see in the picture, salsa and black olives top the mashed potatoes.  I did not intend to use black olives, because I don't like them, and, on the recipe, they are listed as optional.  The salsa, however, is not.  I misread the recipe.  I thought the salsa was added after the potatoes were baked to melt the cheese.  I was mistaken.  And that's okay.  What I ended up doing was just stirring some of the French Fried onions into the potatoes, topping that with cheese, and baking until the cheese melted.  For my taste, it was a little on the salty side, but everyone else loved the potatoes too.  Next time, I think I will try making this with homemade mashed potatoes instead of instant.

To top it off, I served corn and black-eyed peas.  

Good news for me: I've been doing my Weight Watchers-point counting-thing for so long that, for me, the corn and black-eyed peas were far better than the potatoes, and even though 2 of the mini-meatloaves is supposed to be a serving, I only had room for one! 

I am not saying this to toot my own horn, but with the obsession with weight, and the apparent inability  some people seem to feel to conquer their issues with it, I add that last little bit there as proof that if you stick with it long enough, and are truly intentional about what you put into your mouth, your body will start to crave the things you ought to be feeding it, and will start to convince you that you no longer want the things you really shouldn't eat.  

Between 2007-2009, my husband was on an unaccompanied tour, and I took that time to get back in shape, and lose the rest of the weight that I had gained with child number 3, The Bug.  I joined a group called T.O.P.S. - Taking Off Pounds Sensibly - and lost 30 pounds.  On my last meeting, the group asked me if I would be willing to share some hints and tips on how I managed to set and achieve my goal.  The realization I came to is this:  there is not a one of us who has struggled to lose weight that doesn't already know what to do.  Genetics aside, you have to eat less that you burn off, or work out more.  Sweat needs to become your friend.  Furthermore, most of us do not actually work out long enough to burn off the calories we consume.  One thirty minute walk/work-out is not going to burn off a full day's worth of dietary misbehavior, unless you have starved yourself calorically and worked out like a beast.  (Case in point, I have a friend who just ran 5 miles in a little over 30 minutes and burned 578 calories, but eating fewer calories than that during a day is NOT HEALTHY!)  

All I am saying is there is no magic pill.  There is no magic powder.  There are things that can jump-start your weight loss a little, but the claims on most of the pills you buy over the counter have not been proven by the FDA.  And considering what all IS allowed by the FDA, do you really want to risk taking something that hasn't been reviewed?  Don't get me wrong.  I have tried several of these things.  But I have to tell you that the only program I have ever done that has given me any kind of consistent success is keeping a smart diet (and by diet, I mean eating plan, not a "diet") and exercise.  And, with that, I also don't experience any crazy, negative side effects, like a racing heart, or insane blood sugar dips, that make me feel like I'm going to hyperventilate and/or die.

I have another reason to try to keep on top of my weight.  Though I didn't know it for years, as it turns out, I have PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  I found out in a freakish sort of way, in that I had 2 separate visits to a female doctor when my husband was on his unaccompanied tour, and just from my medical history on my first visit (it took several years for me to get pregnant with The Bug), and one question I asked in my second visit (I think I have a little more hair under my chin than what my mother and grandmother seem to talk about), she was able to deduce that maybe I had PCOS.  A blood test and an ultrasound later, it was confirmed.  In fact, it was so bad that the ultrasound tech looked at me and said, "I'd have never guessed that you had PCOS.  You don't bear any resemblance to most people I get in here who have it."  Apparently, one of the symptoms is obesity.  That's one I can do without!  Keeping up with my health and taking care of myself means more to me than just staying in shape and letting me eat chocolate cake if I want to; it also helps me buck against my PCOS, which I may have, but which will not have me!

***  If you want to know more about PCOS and what it's symptoms are, you can visit the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome directory in the Women's Health section of WebMD or

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