TGIF Week 1

As you are probably aware Hulu has an extensive catalog of wonderful shows from the 90s. I was settling into what was sure to be a Perfect Strangers marathon last week when it came to me: there is a MUCH better way to consume this content! I ask you, Dear Reader, why watch a million episodes in a row of a very terrible 90s sitcom when you can instead watch them as their makers originally intended? Yes, I think you know where I am going with this. Hulu has all of the shows from TGIF, ergo, I, now, in the year of our lord 2018, CAN RECREATE TGIF.

To what extent can I, and you, recreate TGIF? Well, according to Hulu, there are

  • 191 episodes of Full House
  • 214 episodes of Family Matters
  • 149 episodes of Perfect Strangers
  • 159 episodes of Step By Step
  • 158 episodes of Boy Meets World

The list goes on and on. So it looks like our Fridays are covered for the next 3-4 years or so. Will you join me? Every (most) Friday (or Saturday or Sunday). I will be here (maybe). Let’s do this. If you have Hulu and a free Friday night please join along and let me know what you thought of each episode in the comments.

First Up, Full House:

Hulu Description: “Danny Tanner, widowed father of three young and rambunctious girls recruits his two buddies, his brother-in-law Jesse, and his best friend, Joey, to move in and help him raise the brood.”

Season 1, Episode 1: Our Very First Show

Ah man it’s the Hulu Sophie’s choice at the beginning, do you want a long and torturous ad now or to have them interspersed throughout. My brain says “now” but my bladder says “I will MAKE you regret this,” help!

I opted for the upfront torture. This commercial has charts and graphs about Scott and Linda’s investment options that are somehow aligned to various mountain ranges? This is the worst commercial I have ever seen. This is like a Ross Perot speech. What even is this? Who even is the advertiser here? Ok sorry, this is not supposed to be about the commercials.

Opening credits: Full disclosure I have watched many a rerun of Full House on Nick at Nite over the last decade so and slogged my way through one too many (2) Fuller House episodes, so this has pretty much zero nostalgia value for me right now. Mainly wondering how much that house is worth? I’ll Zillow it later.

Well, we knew this coming in but this episode is really depressing. I’m struggling to remember how did the mom die? Jessica offered the possible suggestion she died while giving birth to Michelle (better known in this episode as “The Baby”) and I audibly gasped.

Enter Uncle Jesse. I’m calling it now that Uncle Jesse totally voted for Trump. He’s not telling people that he did, but he did. This is canon.

I like that DJ is creeped out by Joey, as am I. Why does Jesse get a full room and Joey gets an alcove? Because Jesse is family? Do you get a better room if you are “cooler” in this universe? Leather jacket points? Is Jesse paying rent? Chipping in busker money? This doesn’t make a ton of sense.

DJ’s room is timelessly cool.

First laugh out loud: Stephanie’s “just hanging around”

I wonder why the Olsen twins want nothing to do with this show??

Wait did Danny just leave these men with his children including an infant without making sure they know how to change a diaper?

I’m finding the constant references to Michelle Tanner as “The Baby” to be quite jarring despite the fact that calling a baby “The Baby” is a totally normal thing that normal humans do all the time.

Next Up: Family Matters

Hulu Description: What matters most? Family, of course! Over its nine hit seasons, Family Matters brings us a hilarious slice of middle-class Americana – along with one of TV’s wackiest characters, nerdy genius Steve Urkel. The extended Winslow family redefines the word “togetherness” ast heri home splits at the seams with chaos, confusion and laughter.

These descriptions are VERY melodramatic. Describing the Tanner girls as “rambunctious” is a stretch, and the Winslow household is anything but chaotic. They are both lovely households with wonderful children. Chill out, whoever wrote these things.

Season 1, Episode 1: “The Mama Who Came to Dinner (Pilot)”

First laugh out loud: Jess seeing Urkel’s face on the main logo

This is the second in a series of “move-in” episodes that are the hallmark of TGIF pilots, apparently. This show is the inverse of Full House. In Full House, the three kid family is widowed, grandma moves out, uncle moves in. In Family Matters, aunt is widowed, moves in with 3 kid family, grandma moves in. Got it? Got it.

PremiseFullHouse = (PremiseFamilyMatters)-1

Opening Credits: First impression this theme song is MUCH more sing-able than Full House

Other random thoughts:

  • “My digestion’s about to SHUT DOWN” is definitely my new line when I’m hungry
  • More widowing! So much widowing on TGIF.
  • Wait, who are these kids? Did they swap out Richie and Judy??
  • Love BOTH outro songs on this show. The music on this show is absolutely popping.
  • Also it was revealed and quickly brushed over in this episode that Eddie Winslow is a peeping tom which is not great? I would like to delve deeper into this but no time to rewind and review, there was no rewinding and reviewing in 1991!

I have very little negative to say about this episode, but keep in mind that this does not feature Sir Stephen Urkel, Esq. So let it be known that Family Matters sans Urkel is a terrific, enjoyable sitcom with very little to make fun of.


Perfect Strangers

Hulu Description: Emmy Award nominee Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker star in this hilarious comedy series that showcases the fact that family is often stranger than, well, strangers! When Balki, who hails from the distant country of Mypos, arrives unexpectedly at his cousin Larry’s Chicago apartment, cultures clash…with perfect comedic timing.

Season 1, Episode 1: Knock Knock, Who’s There?

Opening scene: Cousin Larry can’t open a cracker bag. So relatable!

So, I  *thought* we all knew the premise of this show pretty well but I learned a new little nugget here – in the pilot episode Balki from the island of Mypos (yes, knew that) moves in with his cousin Larry (yes, knew that), after making an attempt to move in with Larry’s dad in Milwaukee and getting bounced out to Chicago, apparently? I did not know that! Not cool, Larry’s dad.

An immediate question that will haunt us all throughout all of this is: “How old are these two supposed to be?”

This show is ridiculous and as my wife put it, “problematic.”

Balki is supposed to be the dumb character but I relate to him most? For example Balki makes a supposedly dumb statement about pink lemonade coming from pink lemons that everyone laughs at but that moment I’m thinking “hey fun fact I have a PhD in chemistry and I have no clue how the heck pink lemonade is made or why?”

This episode has a lot of scenes in an antique shop, which is very confusing because Larry is a reporter? Ah! Larry mentions that he’s working at the antique shop until he can get his dream job as a photojournalist. Got it. So, I’m relying on very foggy memories here but I’m *pretty* sure the antique shop set is the same as the newsroom set and now I’m definitely wondering how they’re gonna reconcile this.

Balki is very excited about making minimum wage! Larry makes fun of him for being excited about minimum wage and not knowing what minimum wage is! “Echo, how much was minimum wage in 1990?” “THE CLOSEST ANSWER I KNOW IS FROM 1988, WHEN MASSACHUSETTS’S STATE MINIMUM WAGE WAS $3.65.” Thank you, Alexa, this puts the $10 a day the boss is docking from their pay into helpful perspective.

First laugh out loud: I heartily laughed out loud every single time Balki messed up an expression and every time my wife just glared at me.

On to the next one!

Step By Step

Hulu Description: When two mismatched single parents (Patrick Duffy—Dallas and Suzanne Somers—Three’s Company) fall in love, marry, and move in together with their six mismatched kids, they hope its only a matter of time until they al come to love their new life.

Editor’s Note: We decided to go with Step By Step for show #4, which is not really an accurate TGIF lineup, but they always put a crappy show in the 4th slot that never ran past one season, and I don’t remember any of them and none of them are on Hulu. Step By Step suffices in my foggy recollection of what TGIF was all about. And it was part of TGIF for way more seasons (6) than Full House was (1) so just deal with it! Also do not bring up Boy Meets World or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I do not like Boy Meets World or Sabrina the Teenage Witch but will begrudgingly bring them and Hangin with Mr. Cooper and Sister Sister into the fold later, as TGIF did, when all the cute child stars get older and things start to boring.

Was stressing about finding Step By Step on the various platforms and worried for a moment that I’d have to pay Jeff Bezos for it, but I’m happy to report at the end of Perfect Strangers I got a timely pop up “YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THIS SHOW CALLED STEP BY STEP CHECK IT OUT” message from Hulu, so thanks Hulu, you really know me boo.

Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

Opening Credits: I am now learning many things about Six Flags Magic Mountain from my wife, as that is where the intro for this show was apparently filmed? I don’t know, I’ve never been to Six Flags Magic Mountain. I lived in Massachusetts when this mess of a show aired. Ask me about Canobie Lake Park, I’ll tell you everything. She is asking me to confirm that the big roller coaster from the opening credits has been torn down. I DON’T KNOW! Now she’s appalled that I have never been to Six Flags even though I’ve not been able to ride a roller coaster since age 14. Also, she has not been able to ride roller coasters since age 14? I have never ridden a roller coaster with her, we actively avoid them together as a couple. I’m a bit confused and just trying to get through these opening credits, finally understanding how she feels when she is trying to quietly watch a show that I feel compelled to talk about (all shows).

So, you will want to sit down and grab a beverage for the premise of This Show, which is a Brady Bunch knock-off based on the idea that a divorced single father of three played by Patrick Duffy was apparently mildly stalking a divorced single mother of three played by the incomparable Suzanne Somers, to the extent that he somehow conned her travel agent into giving him all of the details about where and when she had booked a solo Jamaican vacation, so that he could *also* travel to Jamaica in pursuit of her, all the while leaving his children either (a)alone in squalor with rapidly depleting food supplies or (b) possibly away from the squalor with their as-yet-unidentified mother. I somehow question the existence of this mother, though,because she was nowhere to be seen later in the episode when her only daughter was hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy. BUT WAIT, I AM GETTING AHEAD OF MYSELF.

So single father goes to Jamaica in pursuit of single mother where they have a whirlwind romance which in their own words is described as purely sexual, and decide to get married, and then, as you probably inferred from the Brady Bunch reference, return to the good old US of A and don’t for a moment rethink or doubt this decision at all, and rather opt to immediately merge their bewildered families together as they take the time to get to know and learn about one another as a couple.

At this point, can we revisit the series description? Like, in what way are the kids “mismatched?” Is it because they don’t have a perfect Brady-esque same age antigender pair? Why are we blaming all of this drama on these kids, and their supposed mis-matchedness? I mean really.

As you may have already inferred, this show is a HOT MESS. My wife is appalled we watched this as children. In fairness, I remember while watching it I was constantly thinking it was somewhat naughty. But I also seem to recall that 90s parents (not MY parents, but you know, friends parents and parents friends who were parents and parents on wholesome sitcoms I watched on a weekly basis) pulled this kind of crap all the time back then. They thought nothing of it! Do parents still do this kind of thing now? I want to think that they don’t, but I know deep down that I’m naïve and wrong!

Not gonna lie, with all of the insanity which is these two strangers getting married and moving all their kids in together after a lustful affair spurned by a questionable amount of stalking, and almost losing one of said children to appendicitis in a half-assed boy who cried wolf situation, this ep kinda drags.

Echo: Is Suzanne Somers still alive? SUZANNE SOMERS IS STILL ALIVE. SHE IS 71 YEARS OLD.

This was a nice moment because I recall a time when Alexa would phrase her answer to these questions differently, to be specific she would say “Suzanne Somers is not dead yet,” and that was really disturbing. Has someone talked to her about this? It’s a terrific development.

Ok, we’ve successfully survived all of the move-in, premise-setting episodes. My wife is already over it, but I’m excited for at least two more weeks of this! Tune in next week for more!

Low Point Zucchini Breads

I bought too many zucchinis yesterday and had an overripe banana, so I decided to make some quickbreads! I have noticed that many of the recipes for “low point” baked goods out there use artificial sweeteners. I don’t mess around with artificial sweeteners, so I thought I’d go against the WW grain and experiment with oil replacements instead of sugar replacements. There are a lot of oil replacements out there and I gotta say, they all sound like terrible replacements for delicious luscious oil! So today I decided to try some of them out.

Today I tested two strategies for lowering points:

  • Replacing AP flour with Kodiak cake mix. I bought this mix from Costco and have never found a reason to use it, so today is as good as any. 1 cup of AP flour is 13 points, with 13 g of protein. 1 cup of Kodiak mix is 11 points, 28 g of protein. That’s more than double the protein! For every bread, I used this mix in place of flour:


  • Trying out four different oil substitutes, by either substituting the oil by 50% (half oil) or 100% (no oil) with:
    • Nonfat Greek yogurt (A and B, below)
    • Mashed banana (C and D, below)
    • Unsweetened applesauce (E and F, below)
    • Canned pumpkin puree (G and H, below)

In order to test half-oil and no-oil versions of each oil substitute, I made eight 5×3 mini loaves, each with the same dry base. However, I did not have enough zucchini for 8 loaves, so six loaves (A-F) had 100% zucchini, and two loaves (G and H) had a 50:50 mixture of carrots and zucchini. After careful consideration, I decided to pair the carrot loaves with pumpkin as an oil substitute.

Here they all are:

(For each pair the one on the left is the half fat, the one on the right is the no fat.)

Most were pretty good! In most cases, unsurprisingly, the half fat tasted better than the no fat. Only one was a disaster – the 100% Greek yogurt one (B). It was rubbery and kind of separated into layers. My wife found the pumpkin (which, once again, included carrot) one to be the best in both the half fat (G) and no fat (H) categories. The runner up for half fat was Greek yogurt (A). The runner up for no fat was applesauce (F). Banana (C and D) worked both ways but both really tasted like banana bread. Half fat with applesauce (E) is the only one I have not yet mentioned. I don’t see the point in it, as the no fat applesauce one was pretty good! With all that said, here is an attempt to cobble together a recipe from this experiment:

Dry Ingredients

1 cup of Kodiak cake flapjack mix

1 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ginger

Wet ingredients

1/2 cup (90 g to be precise) sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

Shredded vegetable of your choice:

1 cup shredded zucchini + 1 cup shredded carrot

              -or- 2 cups shredded zucchini

Oil substitute of your choice:

Half fat version:

[2 tbsp + 2 tsp oil] PLUS [2 tbsp + 2 tsp replacement such as pumpkin puree or Greek yogurt]

-or- No fat version:

1/3 cup oil replacement such as pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce. If using applesauce, one 3.2 oz squeezy pouch of apple puree is the exact amount you need!

Note 1: Don’t do the no fat version with Greek yogurt – it is rubbery and terrible.

Note 2: You can also use mashed overripe banana as an oil replacement in both the half fat or full fat but it tastes like banana bread.


Preheat oven to 325

Combine wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Spray two mini (5×3) loaf pans with cooking spray. Divide mixture across the two pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Might take a bit longer for 100% pumpkin.

Remove from oven and cool (in pan) on wire rack 10 minutes.

Turn out from pan onto wire rack and finish cooling.

Weight Watcher points

The recipe makes two mini loaves.

Half fat: Full mini loaf has 22 points. Half loaf has 11 points. Quarter loaf has 6 points. Eighth of a loaf has 3 points.

No fat: Full mini loaf has 16 points. Half loaf has 8 points. Quarter loaf has 4 points. Eighth of a loaf has 2 points.


WW Recipe MegaPost #1

As promised in my last post, I’m going to start using this blog to share crazy delicious recipes I have found that cost very few Weight Watchers SmartPoints. This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, because I really like to eat a lot of food.


For those unfamiliar, Weight Watchers (a program which I have snobbishly rolled my eyes at for over a decade for no good reason) recently changed their system in a highly controversial and intriguing way. From what I gather, they (1) expanded the number of “Zero Point” foods available and (2) in exchange for this they apparently took a bunch of daily points away from people (but gave them back as Weekly Points? I don’t really know…). What I do know is that people were pissed! It made the news. I read the news. I was curious, and glanced at the Zero Point Food list. I was amazed. Beans? Eggs? Corn? Fish? Why are people so mad? These are like basically all of my favorite foods! So at that exact moment, I said “take my money, Weight Watchers, I have to see if this works.”


I signed up on December 5 and unilaterally decided my poor wife would be signing on too. The first week was a little bit brutal, but mostly because we had bought our groceries not knowing that we would be signing up for Weight Watchers. We got used to it pretty quickly, though, adjusted our breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and as of February 5 (our last weigh in) we have each so far lost a little over 20 pounds each, for a combined 43.7 pounds. In two months. This is completely insane. While we have each lost large amounts of weight before, we have never lost weight together at the same time. We have also never lost weight while not, at the same time, being murderously miserable due to starvation. We are seriously never hungry on this plan, and once a week we do try to make it a point to have something awesome like pizza or burgers or nachos. I don’t know how it is working, but it is working.


So, while this is super great, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I can’t indiscriminately throw foods in my cart that I want to try.  I will continue to try things, though, on the weekends. Friday through Sunday is generally when I cash in all of the Weekly Points, FitPoints, and rollover points that I hoard like a squirrel on weekdays. On these days, the Curious Shopper will live on. But at the moment, my food-related obsession is finding recipes that cost minimal SmartPoints with maximal deliciousness. These recipes are mostly for Monday – Thursday, but some are so good we voluntarily eat them on weekends too.


I have been typing out all of these recipes to print out on old timey paper, because I get annoyed with touching electronic devices while cooking. So I’m going to share them here! This is Recipe MegaPost #1. I’ll do more as I acquire more recipes. Please feel free to send me recipes if you have them! I promise I will try them, but be forewarned that I can’t promise I will post them if they are not absolutely delicious. I have zero tolerance for mediocre food.


Lunch Recipes:

Costco Salsa Chicken (0 SmartPoints)

Turkey Pumpkin Chili (1 SmartPoint)


Dinner Recipes:

Salmon Corn Squash Chowder (0 SmartPoints)

Lemony Salmon (0 SmartPoints)

Ground Chicken Larb & Coconut Pineapple Cauliflower Rice (5-6 SmartPoints)


Dinner Side Recipes:

Lemony Beet & Feta Salad (0 SmartPoints)

Lemony Beet Salad

Note: Two of my diet staples that I thought were pretty healthy but still cost an unacceptable amount of SmartPoints are Kind bars and Craisins. I need something sweet on my salads, so Craisins have been replaced with beets! Here is a recipe that makes them extra tasty. I used to use oil in the dressing, but tried it without and didn’t notice the difference.

Serves: 2


  • 1 package of precooked beets, diced
  • 1 small bunch (or half a large bunch) scallions, diced
  • 1 oz (30 g) fat free feta cheese
  • Half a lemon


Toss the beets, scallions, and feta cheese in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Weight Watchers SmartPoints breakdown: Zero points! If you use reduced fat feta, it’s a mere 1 point per serving. If you use full fat feta, it’s only 2 points per serving. Still pretty good, whatever feta you use!

Lemony Salmon

My wife makes this recipe, and it’s always better when she makes it. I ask her the temperature and cook time every. single. time. I attempt to make it, so I’m recording it here for posterity.

Serves: 4-8, depending on filet size and portion size. We are big eaters and so we generally cut each filet into 8 oz portions.

  • 2 to 3 lb skinless filet of salmon (get at Costco)
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper.


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil. Grab a large second piece of foil (large enough to wrap the salmon), and lay the salmon filet on the center of it.
  • Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of half of it over the salmon.
  • Season the salmon generously with salt and pepper.
  • Wrap up the salmon tightly in the foil, like a packet.
  • Cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. Start checking it after 20 minutes. It’s done when the thickest part is cooked through and flakes nicely when you poke it with a fork.
  • Cut the second half of the lemon into wedges and serve with the fish.

Points breakdown: Zero points!

Zero Point Salmon Butternut Squash Corn Chowder

Adapted from here: but edited for more deliciousness and fewer SmartPoints.

Note: My mom made this recipe for our family over Christmas. As she listed out the ingredients I was THRILLED to learn that each one was zero points, but to be perfectly honest it didn’t sound like it would be that good. Holy crap, I was wrong. We are completely addicted to this soup. To make this meal zero point, I skip the heavy cream from the original recipe. The recipe calls for a “filet” of salmon, which is about as ambiguous as you can get. It could be a small 0.75 lb filet you’d find in the grocery store, or it could be the mega 3 lb skinless filet you get at Costco. Obviously, I go with the latter, but I am also well aware that you might find this to be insane.


  • 1 butternut squash, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 4-5 ears corn, cut off the cob
  • 1 cup baby shitake mushrooms, washed and patted dry
  • 1 2-3 lb filet of salmon
  • 6 cups of water


  • Get a giant pot.
  • Add the squash.

  • Add the carrots

  • Add the corn


  • Add the scallions & onions
  • Add the mushrooms and the dill

  • Pour the water over the top.

  • Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes

  • While cooking, chop up the salmon into small pieces like so

  • After 30 minutes of simmering, add the salmon pieces to the soup. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, and you are done!

Points breakdown: Nothing in this soup has points!

WW Friendly Thai Dinner (Ground Chicken Larb, Coconut Pineapple Cauliflower Rice, and Magic One Point Peanut Sauce)

The larb is adapted/copied from this “Cooking without Recipes” post from Bon Appetit:

A note to Bon Appetit if you are listening: This dish is super fantastic, but I just typed it out myself below mainly because I am so freaking sick of looking up this freeform monstrosity on my phone with dirty hands and trying to scroll through and interpret it. Recipes exist because they are good, simple structured instructions one can follow when trying to cook. We like them. Don’t do this “Cooking without Recipes” thing anymore. Thanks.

The rice is adapted from a real rice recipe I found in the Weight Watchers app and I am not sure how to credit it!

The Magic One Point Peanut Sauce is my own invention.

Serves: This whole meal is four generous servings of Thai-inspired deliciousness for about 6 SmartPoints per serving.

Ground Chicken Larb

Notes: The ground chicken has to be breast meat, eg. 98% fat free, or it will cost SmartPoints, and we can’t have that! Not all stores have ground chicken breast, I have found. It sucks. Turkey breast works too, but it doesn’t taste quite the same.

  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • A couple of limes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped


  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar


  • 20 g of canola oil
  • 2 lb ground chicken breast.
  • Half a large bunch of scallions, or all of a small bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 2 chili peppers (I use serranos because I am a little b*tch but you could use Thai birds if you are braver than me)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha


  • Set the lettuce, limes and cilantro aside for later.
  • Slice the red onion thin and toss it in the rice vinegar. Cover and refrigerate until you need to use it.

  • Put the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. The recipe says until it is “shimmering,” which I find to be one of the world’s more stupid recipe instructions because oil is always shimmering. The real-world translation for “heat it until it is shimmering” is “heat it until it is hot, but not until it is smoking, and good look with that, sucker.”
  • Add the chicken breast, scallions, chili peppers and garlic.

  • Heat until chicken is fully cooked through and starting to brown.

  • Add the sauces & sugar, and mix it up real well. Cook for a few more minutes, and serve with the rice and accouterments below.

Coconut Pineapple Cauliflower Rice

Notes: This is a meal where some normally crappy Trader Joes ingredients can really shine. Specifically, Trader Joes usually has the worst riced cauliflower because it’s a bit crunchy, but that is actually best for this purpose, as it mimics the crunchy toasted rice that is usually found in larb. Also, the coconut milk. The deal with the coconut milk is that you want to use whatever portion of a can of lowfat, reduced fat, light, what have you, coconut milk that comes out to be 8 points. I have noticed that coconut milks can wildly vary in their SmartPoints. In this scenario you actually want to be aiming for the terrible cans of coconut milk (again, looking at you Trader Joes) where the fat separates from the liquid because you can pull off the fat and just use all of the liquid, it’s great.

  • 2 packages of frozen riced cauliflower
  • 8 SmartPoints worth of coconut milk, preferably light/reduced fat
  • One small can or half a full can of chunk pineapple, drained
  • Half a large bunch of scallions, or all of a small bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Put the frozen riced cauliflower in a pot over medium heat. Add the scallions, coconut milk, and ginger. Heat until cauliflower is heated through and most of the liquid is absorbed/evaportated. Add the pineapple and heat for a few more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Magic One Point Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tbsp (12 g) powdered peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp Sriracha

Dissolve the powder in the water, add the Sriracha, and mix it up good. Boom. One point deliciousness.

Other Accoutrements:

  • Peanut sauce from above
  • Pickled red onions from above
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro
  • The butter lettuce, leaves peeled off whole and laid gently upon a plate


To serve, put the rice and the larb on a plate. My wife likes to mix it all up, I do not.  Assemble wraps in the lettuce leaves with the larb filling, rice, onions, cilantro, a drizzle of peanut sauce and a squeeze of lime. So good.

Larb Servings 4
Ground chicken breast 0 points
20 g canola oil 6 points
Onion/Garlic/Chiles 0 points
Soy, fish & Sriracha sauces 1 point
2 tbsp brown sugar 6 points
Lettuce, lime and cilantro 0 points
Per serving 3 points


Rice Servings 4
Riced cauliflower 0 points
Coconut milk 8 points
Onion 0 points
Ginger 0 points
Per serving 2 points






Peanut Sauce Servings 1
12 g peanut powder 1 points
water 0 points
Sriracha 0 points
Per serving 1 point




Costco Salsa Chicken

Adapted from nowhere, because I INVENTED IT

Servings: we generally get about 12 lunch-sized (1.5 cup) servings out of this.

Notes: This is my favorite lunch that you can make entirely from 3-4 ingredients procured from Costco:


The Hand Pulled Rotisserie Chicken Breast Meat, if you didn’t know, is the most amazing thing. It can be found in this general part of Costco:

I saw it in the store, and I looked at it for a few weeks before I had the nerve to buy it. Something about precooked packaged chicken really skeeves me out, which is unfortunate because raw chicken also skeeves me out too. When I first described it to my wife, it started something along the lines of “it sounds delicious, but looks a little gross.” and then as most conversations with my wife go, I wound up talking myself into buying it, ending with “But I guess I’d also look gross if I was vacuum sealed in plastic. I’m going to try it.”

Anyways, I finally bought it, and now I buy one or two of these a week. Let me further explain this product. You know those delicious $5 rotisserie chickens at Costco? Well, someone has painstakingly pulled the breast off the delicious Costco rotisserie chicken for you, for the low low cost of $11.99. I literally have purchased dozens  if not hundreds of rotisserie chickens in the past, only to pull off the breast and discard the rest (I know, I am a monster. I married a dark meat eater to even things out). This is all the chicken breast, none of the hassle, none of the chicken skin temptation, for $11.99. It’s almost 3 lb of tender, shreddable, non-rubbery precooked chicken breast. It’s magical.

You can do TONS of recipes with this stuff, by just mixing it with whatever sauce you’d like. Barbecue! Buffalo! Curry simmer sauces! The possibilities are endless, with the caveat that they all will cost SmartPoints of the sauce. What sets this recipe apart is that there are no SmartPoints in the sauce. The sauce is salsa. Salsa is the sauce.


  • Costco “Hand Pulled Rotisserie Chicken Breast Meat” – you could use anywhere from half the package to the whole damn thing (2 lbs, 10 oz to be exact), depending on how many servings you want this to be. Go nuts. I use the whole thing most of the time.
  • Costco-sized (48 oz) jug of fresh salsa
  • Canned black beans – anywhere from 4-6 cans works. I use 5 cans to get 12 servings.
  • Limes (4 or 5)
  • Cilantro (if you have it. There’s also cilantro in the salsa so not totally necessary).


  • Drain the beans and put them in a giant pot.

  • Pour half the jug of salsa over the top.

  • Cook the beans/salsa mixture over medium heat until heated through and bubbling.

  • Put the chicken in there. It looks like a crime scene, I know.

  • Break it up into breasts but don’t worry about shredding it yet.

  • Once the chicken is warmed a bit and softened up, it should be shred-able with a fork. Shred it up nice.

  • Once the chicken is all shredded, squeeze the lime juice over the top, season to taste with salt, add the cilantro if you’re using it, and remove from the heat.

We divide this into about a dozen 2 cup lunch containers. I like to kill the second half of the salsa jug by pouring a bit of fresh salsa over the top of each portion.

Here is the Weight Watchers SmartPoints breakdown:

Servings ~12
Chicken breast meat 0 points
Salsa 0 points
Black beans 0 points
Lime juice 0 points
Cilantro 0 points
Points per serving 0 points


Turkey Pumpkin Chili

This is adapted from a recipe my mom gave me, I don’t know where from.

Notes: I have added bacon to this dish, because I think bacon is a really great and tasty way to precisely measure the amount of fat I’m adding. I like to use it in lieu of trying to weigh/measure out small portions of oil, but you totally don’t have to! Another tip is that I get the bacon from the butcher counter, which gives me a thicker cut, a precise weight (the three slices are generally between 1/8 and ¼ pound) and lets me avoid having to find a use for the other ¾ pounds of bacon that come in a pack.

Servings: we generally get about 12 lunch-sized (1.5 cup) servings out of this.


  • 2 lb ground turkey breast
  • 3 thick slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 serrano chiles, sliced
  • 2ish tbsp cumin
  • 2ish tbsp chili powder
  • 2ish tsp cayenne
  • 2 cans pumpkin puree
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes


  • Heat the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until fat is rendered and it is browned
  • Add onions, garlic and serrano chiles to the bacon, sautee until the onions are softened
  • Add turkey breast, 1 tbsp of cumin, 1 tbsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of cayenne, plus salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat the seasoned turkey mixture until turkey is cooked through and browned.
  • Transfer turkey mixture to a crockpot. Add pumpkin, beans, and tomatoes. Add remainder of seasonings, plus more to taste.
  • Heat in crockpot on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours.
  • Unplug the crockpot when you are done cooking with it, you maniac.

Weight Watchers SmartPoints breakdown:

Servings 10-12
Ground turkey breast 0 points
3 Slices Bacon 3 points
Onion/Garlic/Chiles 0 points
Spices 0 points
Pumpkin puree 0 points
Beans 0 points
Tomatoes 0 points
Per serving 1 point

I Don’t Even Know What To Call This

Hi! It is now February 4, 2018. I am now finally posting a post I wrote sometime in…May of 2017? I apologize profusely below. Did I really mean it? 

So, it’s only May and I’ve blown it already, failed in my promise to post once per month. I have let all 10 of my readers down and I’m sorry. I will say that I started this post in April and then did not post it, which is possibly even worse. Sorry. Since it’s almost June, I’m going to make this a mega post to cover April and May, reviewing every freaking thing I have eaten in the last two months. I hope you can forgive me and I will try to resume monthly posts from here (2018 me narrates: “She didn’t.”) but full disclosure, I’m moving in June so don’t hold your breath. I feel a lot of posts in the fall (2018 me narrates: “There were no posts in the fall.”) Just, be patient with me.

Last month (15 months ago) something momentous happened on this blog: I got not one but TWO comments from entities that were not Russian spambots and/or my Facebook friends/family. One of the comments was not a comment but a CHALLENGE, suggesting….no, quite literally DARING me to try Stop & Shop’s new Toasted Coconut Gouda.

I immediately freaked out. I was well aware that Stop & Shop was currently pushing Toasted Coconut items. It is part of this thing they do where they make special displays with “Limited-Time items” featuring totally conventional and standard flavors. But, that said,  I was NOT AWARE of COCONUT flavored CHEESE.

For perspective, I really should have known – Stop & Shop did this in fall with Pumpkin, and in December with Peppermint, which is how those wonderous goat cheeses came to be. In January, the flavor du jour was Chocolate. Yes, that’s right, Stop & Shop took it upon themselves to say “Let us introduce you to this taste sensation known as Chocolate. Here are some themed items to introduce you to Chocolate, the Next Big Thing.” And the display had chocolate cookies and cake and whatnot. I will admit that I did get a bit curious and tried the chocolate soda; it tasted like drinking a Tootsie Roll, and was immediately poured down the sink.

I guess I wasn’t really paying attention, because I was completely unaware that these flavor themes had spilled into cheese. NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT THE CHEESE (except commenter Elaine L. Thank you, Elaine L. Sorry this took so long.) That apology was from 2017. Just checking in to apologize again from 2018.

I IMMEDIATELY went to my local Stop & Shop to hunt down this Toasted Coconut Gouda. This was a long and painful search, as this particular Stop&Shop amazingly has no less than four different areas where you can find cheese. There were Toasted Coconut items sprinkled throughout the store, taunting me. There were toasted coconut cookies in the meat section, toasted coconut cookie dough near the cream cheese, toasted coconut cereal abutting the frozen aisle, and toasted coconut cake mix opposite the seafood. I found toasted coconut-flavored water, and even toasted coconut flavored goat cheese, but there was no toasted coconut gouda.

The 2018 version of me is going to chime in here and say that around this time our rental housing situation got flipped turned upside down and we found ourselves somehow househunting with no preparation and no knowledge of how to do so…so, yeah, that was the end of the blogging for the rest of the year. But, I will say that this experience exposed us to a LOT of Stop & Shops. So many Stop & Shops. We stopped and shopped at every Stop & Shop we passed on each of our our Open House meccas, in search of this cheese. I am not lying when I say that we visited at least 10 different Stop & Shops in the Boston metro area looking for this cheese.

So first, here is a quick roll call of all the BS we found and tasted during the weeks we spent looking for this damned cheese:

  • Toasted coconut and mango goat cheese – well, of course this is good
  • Chocolate goat cheese – well, of course this is better than above
  • Pumpkin spice gouda: Huge surprise, this pumpkin spice gouda is FOUL and DISGUSTING, the first pumpkin spice product I have ever encountered with these qualities. Run far far away from this.
  • Ok, yeah, I know, I see the pattern and I made the connection. I am still looking for the chocolate gouda. No signs yet.
  • Cheetos Sweetos Caramel Something or Other – a Cheetos Sweetos item not labeled as “Limited Edition!” My prayers answered! Please everyone buy and eat lots and lots of these so they don’t get discontinued. (2018 Me narrates: They have been discontinued).
  • Thomas Brothers Limited Edition Maple English Muffins – Oh boy, These are satanically good. (2018 Me narrates: they altered the odor profile of our entire home and it took us four months to wean off of them).
  • Trader Joe’s Honey Butter Potato Chips – Holy effing shit. Pause the coconut gouda post because these freaking potato chips are incredible. They probably deserve their own post but I am lazy, so here is a post within a post:

The Curious Shopper learned at a very early age what the best food in the world is. Do you know what the best food in the world is? I will tell you. The best food in the world is when you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (raspberry jam, obv, because grape and strawberry are gross) and you cram as many sour cream and onion chips into it as you can and then you eat it like a boss. Because you are eight and you just created a pleasingly crunchy sweet and savory PB&J, and you are a BOSS and it can only get better from there. Not sure why all of these adorable little punks on Masterchef Junior haven’t figured this out yet, because eight year old me would run circles around them with my sour-cream-and-onion-stuffed PB&J sandwiches, ok? Terrific. Outstanding. Delicious. Anyways, these chips are that sandwich. They transport you back to simpler times, potato chips that are sweet and salty and for some reason even have the little green flecks of the SC&O. Magnificent. I love these chips so much that Trader Joe’s will probably discontinue them tomorrow and send all remaining bags on the shelves to the TJ’s graveyard with the champagne vinaigrette and the creamed kale. (2018 Me narrates: THEY ARE STILL THERE!!!!)

  • Honey Jalapeno Potato Chips – After the TJs chips I was SO EXCITED about these. Boy oh boy, I do nothing but set myself up for disappointment. There is absolutely no honey to be found here, they are your standard jalapeno potato chips, indistinguishable from Ms. Vicks. Buddah snacks, you are on my last effing nerve I tell you what. Shove these in a PB&J sandwich or something, I don’t know. They aren’t sweet.
  • Lays BLT Potato Chips: These are weird shapeshifters. Some taste like bacon. Some taste like mayonnaise. As someone who unabashedly loves both potato chips and mayonnaise, no one wants a potato chip that tastes like mayonnaise. No one. It’s unnerving.
  • Lays Lime & Salt Potato Chips: I am a huge fan of the Limon chips you can for some reason only get in Mexico, so I was super excited about these. The day I tasted these my wife coincidentally brought home “Margarita” flavored cupcakes and TBH these chips were pretty funky and tasted more like the cupcakes than the limon chips, so they were kind of a bummer. My wife thought they were reminiscent of lime Trix.

On that note, I have a quick message for Lays: Let’s take a long hard look at what we’re doing here, Lays. Your new chips taste like lime Trix and mayonnaise. According to this blog post you are underperforming compared to coconut flavored cheese, Cheetos Sweetos, and whatever company’s castoff potato chips Trader Joe’s bought to resell. Not a good look. You can very quickly redeem yourself by getting those limon chips statesite. Or at least live your truth and rename the lime/salt chips margarita.

But all of these items are a distraction from the foundation of this post: the coconut gouda cheese. I finally found it! It was at the end of a horrible day when everything was going wrong, I went to the gym and then trodded into the Stop & Shop next door for my daily depressing check for the coconut gouda and it was actually there!  2018 Me narrates: “2017 was a rough year for me in a lot of ways, and it was a great feeling. Literally one of my best days of 2017. The day I found the coconut cheese. Yeah.” And it has been sitting in my fridge since APRIL 2017 and I am only reviewing it now (2018 Me narrates, “’now’ would be May, 2017”):

So, I like it. I don’t love it. I don’t have a ton to say about it, so I’m just going to state facts about it: (1) It oddly tastes really good paired with a meat (in this case I used turkey pepperoni). (2) It makes me want something coconut flavored that isn’t cheese. (3) It’s way better than the pumpkin gouda, which I never would have predicted. (4) It has a cute tropical rind. (5) That’s about it. I wouldn’t put it on a cheese board. I would probably never buy it again. But I can say I have tried it.

OK back to 2018! The wife and I are on Weight Watchers now (oprahisrightitworks). I simply CANNOT eat all things indiscriminately now, but that is OK. This blog possibly back, but is about to take a turn. Simply put, I will continue to try some things, but I am also finding and/or inventing BOMB low point recipes, and what better vehicle to share them?!

Look, don’t be sad, because it is probably for the best. I’ve tried it all, darlings. The chips are chips. The salty things taste pretty good combined with the sweet things, and vice versa. The cheeses…. are mostly bad. Time for something new!