Thursday, May 27, 2010

I love visitors :)

Yesterday was an exceptionally good day. This is because Josh came to visit! He was coming around dinner time so I wanted to try a new dish. I made breaded chicken nuggets and some instant roasted garlic red potatoes (I grew up on instant potatoes so to me these are the real thing haha). To make the chicken nuggets I cut to chicken breasts into about 1-2 in. pieces. In a zip-bloc bag I combined ~1/2 c. bread crumbs, ~ 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, and some montreal chicken seasoning. Then I dipped the chicken in EggBeaters and then tossed them in the bag. After they were coated in their breading I cooked them at 400 for 15 min, flipping halfway. I have to say they were a success because I loved them!

After dinner it was just some hanging out and trying to stay cool with the temperature remaining at like 80 into the night.

This morning I said good-bye to Josh and then slept just a little longer. For breakfast I needed something cool. So I made a yogurt bowl. It contained: 1 strawberry Chobani, strawberries, Special K granola, and some melted chunky pb and honey. Wow this totally hit the spot!

Then it was off to be productive. For lunch I had a wrap with deli turkey, laughing cow garlic and herb, topped with a mixture of lettuces and carrots, along with a couple pita chips and pine nut hummus. I think this is my new favorite kind of hummus :) I ate on the go so no photos.

After relaxing for a bit I headed off to the gym for a little elliptical and aerobics. Definitely a good sweat session. The temperature definitely helps incase my sweating dramatically, therefore I need to drink more water. For some reason I forget to drink as much as a should in the heat, I really need to work on that.

When I got back from the gym I warmed up my leftovers from last night.. chicken nuggets with some ketchup...

Mashed Potatoes topped with some ff cheddar...

and carrot sticks and light ranch...

Along with 2 glasses of Country Time lemonade. If any drink reminds me of summer days in my childhood it is this lemonade. It just tastes like summer :)

Now its time to relax a bit more before bed because I have another early day tomorrow. So glad it's almost the weekend!

FYI this is my new favorite song of the week.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

Yes the weather is HOT. At least for me, I start to sweat when the thermometer hits about 80. While I enjoy summer and the laziness it entails, sometimes I don't want to walk outside in the heat, unless there is a pool or some body of water close by :)

With that being said, today was a typical lazy summer day. For breakfast I had oats. Somehow I can still eat a hot breakfast even with it being ridiculously warm. They contained 3/4c. oats, pinch of vanilla extract, squirt of honey, almond slices, dried cranberries, and some vanilla soymilk. Notice how accurate my measurements are, with oats, you just learn to know how you like 'em.
While eating breakfast I caught up on the Bachelorette. I am addicted to that show, especially since Ali is the new bachelorette because I loved her on the Bachelor. Gotta love reality TV. After my dose of TV I spent the rest of the morning reading Handle With Care, a Jodi Picoult book. I definitely recommend reading her books. They are always intriguing and make you want to keep reading. I'm about half way through the book after 2 days of reading. For lunch I had the leftovers form dinner last night. A salmon salad with spinach, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, dried snap peas, and walnuts. I love texture in my salad. I topped it with some balsamic vinaigrette.
I also had leftover nut butter parsnip fries. I made them for the second time last night and this batch definitely turned out much better than my first. Maybe it was because this time I used both almond butter and chunky peanut butter. I combined 1 tbsp of both nut butters with 1 tbsp olive oil and coated the fries with the mixture. Then I baked them at 400 for about 30min, flipping them at the half-way point. I also created a little honey mustard dressing for dipping. Perfect combo. I made the dressing my mixing some honey into my dijon mustard. Yum.
After lunch I did some cleaning and tiding up. I seriously wonder how I make the house so dirty sometimes. I mean I am only one person. Oh well, I don't mind cleaning anyway. It's good for clearing the mind. For snack I had a bowl of strawberries and a fiber one bar before hitting the gym for some elliptical and aerobics. I really enjoyed the walk there today since the weather was so nice. Nothing like working up a sweat on a casual walk. When I got back I started working on dinner. I decided to use my Light life "ground beef" crumbles to make meatballs. They consisted of 3/4 a package of "meat", 1/3 c bread crumbs, 1/4 c water, 1 egg (eggbeaters), 1 tsp each of dried minced onion, garlic powder, and italian seasoning. Then I smushed them into little meatballs and cooked them at 400 for 25min.
During this time I also heated up some pasta to accompany my meatballs and some sauce. Then I combined them all and topped it with a little mozz and parm cheese. And by little I mean a lot of cheese, because that is my favorite part of a pasta dish.
Now that dinner is over and dishes are cleaned and put away its time to get back to my book, because like I said it's hard to put down!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

That was a fast week!

Wow...I didn't realize it's been a whole week since my last post. Seriously, where does the time go? This past week I have been super busy. Monday I had to take a class for ServSafe certification and then Tuesday - Saturday I was busy babysitting and running errands. Today has been a day for stress-relief and I did that buy shopping and buying myself pretty things :) And that was exactly what I needed to do because now I feel relaxed and ready for whatever the week may bring. While I won't bore you over my meals during the past week, I'll just recap over the past 2 days.

Saturday I finally got to experience oats in a jar. Boy does it really make a difference to the flavor in the oats. I feel like every bite was infused with nutella-y goodness. I was about at the end of my jar of Nutella so that's the jar I used for my oats. It was definitely chocolately delicious!

I spent the morning mulching and gardening so when 2pm rolled around and I realized I hadn't eaten yet I grabbed a quick PB&J. It was on the German Dark Wheat Arnold's Bread (which I think might be a new favorite) and toasted so the peanut butter (Crazy Richards 100% Natural Chunky) melted right into the mixed berry jelly. It definitely hit the spot!

That afternoon I ventured out on a walk with my friend Sarah to get some physical and mental exercise. It was nice to get out and enjoy the day before it started to rain. When I came home I was ready for dinner. I really wanted to try the Eggplant Parmesan that I saw on this blog. I sliced up an eggplant and then put the slices on a salt covered plate and then covered them with more salt and a paper towel. This was to eliminate some of the moisture from the eggplant. After about a half-hour I rinsed off the salt and started the breading process. I dipped the eggplant in Egg Beaters (~1c.) and then Panko Bread crumbs (~1.5c). Then I placed them on a baking sheet and cooked them at 375 for 10min, flipped them and cooked them for an additional 10 min. After they finished cooking I poured some tomato sauce in a shallow bowl, then placed half the eggplant in the bowl and topped it with more sauce and mozzarella cheese. Then I placed the bowl back in the oven on broil for about 3 min to melt the cheese. Boy did it come out goooood! I seriously loved this dish and definitely recommend it!

After dinner Sarah came over and we made funfetti cookies. These are one of my favorites :) After a few cookies and hanging out with some reality tv it was time for sleep because I was exhausted!

This morning for breakfast I had a some more oats. This combination contained ~3/4c. rolled oats, some pomegranate flavored cranberries, sliced almonds, and a squirt of honey and cinnamon made with ff vanilla soymilk. I loved this combination. I was trying to get some new flavors into my oats and I definitely enjoyed this one.

I also had a slice of pumpkin bread that I had in the freezer and topped it with some of Wegman's almond butter. Yum :)

Then as I already mentioned I spent the majority of the day shopping spending some hard earned money. haha Sometimes I wish I didn't love to shop so much because then maybe I would be a little richer. However, I don't think it's a hobby I could give up. When I got home from the shopping excursion I was starving so I whipped up the leftover eggplant parmesan. Definitely just as good today as it was yesterday.

After dinner I went for a quick run around the neighborhood. For some reason my body was ready to go so I just went with it and ran until I was tired. Now its time to relax for the evening and maybe nibble on a funfetti cookie or two. They are dangerous to have in the house because they are soooo good.

Tip for the day: If you have a food you enjoy try to mix it up a bit and eat it in a different way. This not only keeps you from getting sick of food but allows you to be creative in the kitchen.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On to another week...

So I have been MIA a couple of days because I was off playing nanny. Well not really playing because I was actually watching kids :) It was a busy yet fun couple of days. However, while I am babysitting my food is not very creative. In fact I think I ate almost the same thing for the past couple of days. This would be Kashi Go Lean Crunch with some dried mixed fruit and almonds with milk for breakfast, Chobani yogurt with berries and granola for lunch, and a turkey sandwich on sourdough with laughing cow cheese and spinach for dinner. Plus some snacks of peanut butter pretzels and string cheese through out the day. Meals with kids are tough. Especially when the kids are VERY picky eaters. Therefore, its a lot easier to keep meals simple but healthy.

Today however I was back to the usual breakfast of oats. In this combination was 3/4. c old fashioned oats, 3/4 c. strawberries, pinch of sugar and vanilla, crushed cocoa roasted almonds, and Almond breeze unsweetened vanilla milk. I love me some oats!

After breakfast I went on a 3 mile run on a trail by my house. It was a beautiful day outside so I was glad to be able to get out an enjoy it. Not long after I got back from my run it was time for lunch. I made yet another turkey sandwich, seems to be kind of a trend. This one was on an Thomas everything bagel thin with light swiss Laughing Cow cheese, dijon mustard, and spinach. Plus some carrots with hummus on the side.
The afternoon consisted of some cleaning and getting some reading done for a class I have to take tomorrow to get ServSafe certification. Its an all day class that starts around 7:30 am. Its going to be a long day because afterwards I have to babysit. However, being busy keeps me on my toes and I like that :)
Dinner tonight was simple yet delish. I made some penne and while that was cooking sauteed some spinach with 1 garlic clove. Then I combined the two and put pesto on top and some part-skim mozzarella cheese. Pesto on pasta is seriously amazing!

After dinner I decided to again take advatage of the beautiful weather since I knew I was going to be stuck inside all day tomorrow. I went for a nice leisurely walk around the neighborhood. Although I somehow still managed to work up a sweat. Now its time to finally relax for the evening and hopefully get to bed early so I am energized and ready to go tomorrow.

Tip of the day: Summer is a time for fresh fruit and vegetables; however sometimes this produce can be covered with harmful chemicals. Some vegetables you are better off buying organic so you don't have to deal with the chemicals. Check out this link to see which veggies and fruits you should be weary of:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Being Adventurous in the Kitchen

Today was a cold and dreary day. I used this as the perfect opportunity to cook up some recipes I have been wanting to try. First though I started the day out with my breakfast staple, oatmeal of course. It consisted of 3/4c. oats, 1c. vanilla almond milk, 1/4c. raisins, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, and pinch of vanilla. Oats are such a good start to the day! Then it was time for a few errands and to pick up some ingredients for my recipes. By the time I got home it was time for lunch. Today I really wanted to try nutbutter parsnip fries. (The original recipe can be found here.) Never in my life have I had a parsnip, probably because my mom hates them which I found out after talking to her today. Anyway to make the fries I cut the parsnip into strips. In another bowl I mixed 1 tbsp of creamy and 1 tbsp of chunky peanut butter with 1 tbsp of evoo. I then put the fries in the bowl and coated them with the mixture. Next I place them on a baking sheet sprayed with some pam and place them in the oven at 400F for about 35min. They smelled really good while baking. When they were done I was excited to try them.

However, while they were good, I think I need to do a little adjust. Maybe next time I will try them with almond butter. I also want to try nutbutter on sweet potato fries. Oh I love new concoctions! With my fries I had a spinach salad with salmon leftover from dinner, dried cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and light balsamic vinaigrette.

After lunch I spent the day cleaning and re-organizing. Then it was off to the gym. At the gym I did the elliptical for 20 min, bike for 15min, and went to aerobics class. Definitely got in a good workout today :)

When I got home I was hungry so I started dinner. This dinner is inspired by my friend Jess since she always raves about pesto. I have had pesto before, but never on pasta. So tonight I cooked up some pasta with baby artichokes and spinach then topped it with pesto and mozzarella/parm cheese combo.

Wow this was delicious! (which is why I had another serving haha) She is right I definitely did not know what I was missing with out pesto in my diet. haha I can't wait to try it on other things, like sandwiches. I also had a side of carrots and hummus with my pasta.

Now its time to relax and unwind for the night. The next couple of days are going to be pretty busy and filled with babysitting, hopefully I can keep my sanity ;)

Tip of the day: Try to make your own fries if you never have. Not only are they healthier, but in my opinion they also taste better and fresher. My all-time favorite fries to make are sweet potato fries sliced into circles topped with evoo, salt, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. Yum! However, now I really want to try the nutbutter on my sweet potato fries. I'll let you know how they turn out when I do. Any other favorite fry recipes out there?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oh Monday

Well since I am officially on summer vacation, Monday has become no different then any other day. Yesterday was a relaxing day as well. I started the day off with a bowl of old fashioned oats, 1 banana, walnuts, pinch of vanilla and sugar, and topped with vanilla almond milk.

Next I went on a little shopping adventure. I ended up getting this really cool picture and frame for 90% off because the glass was missing. That's something that can easily be replaced so I was quite happy with my bargain. In fact the picture is already hanging on my wall. After shopping I was starving so I came home and ate the last of my bacon asparagus pasta along with the leftover asparagus. (leftover asparagus not pictured because I chowed down on it while the pasta was heating)

Then I finished cleaning and organizing my apartment. Nothing like some late spring cleaning :). Then since it was cold out I wasn't going to go for a run so I started doing a yoga DVD, however I really had the urge to run (which is rare for me since I usually have to force myself) so I bared the cold and went on a 30 min run. After that it was time to get cleaned up and cook some dinner. I wasn't in the mode to cook really so I has some carrots and hummus with a wiener wing (which is a slice of whole wheat bread, topped with a slice of ff cheese, and a turkey hotdog). The wiener wing is assembled and then cooked at ~350 F for 10 minutes or until the bread starts to brown and the cheese melts.

Definitely a meal that makes me feel like a kid again because my elementary cafeteria is where "wiener wings" were introduced to me. Then to finish off dinner I made a small smoothie with a Stoneyfield fruit on the bottom yogurt and some frozen berries and vanilla almond milk. mmmm it was delish!

After that I did some reading for a one-day class I have to take next Monday and relaxed with a movie. Definitely a good was to end a Sunday night.

Now off to see what Monday will bring!

Tip of the day: Try to eliminate some sugar in your diet. Research is now finding that processed sugars may also lead to high cholesterol :( Sugar is my one food I have problems with. I love everything sweet! However, I'm trying to choose items with less sugar like plain yogurts instead of flavored. Hopefully soon I won't even miss that added sugar.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Busy Busy

This has been a busy weekend with shopping, a birthday, graduation, and lots of babysitting. However, I'm not complaining because I enjoyed all of those things. Tomorrow will be a day to relax and get in some me time. However I did try a couple new foods and recipes over the past couple days. Last night I made the Makeover Rigatoni with Bacon and Asparagus from Healthy Cooking. I did make a few substitutions, like turkey bacon instead of regular bacon and dried parsley instead of fresh.

While the recipe was good, it wasn't one of my favorites. Today for breakfast I really wanted to make waffles. However, my attempt failed. For some reason these waffles were just not tasting right to me. I was using a mix from Trader Joes and I think maybe in my attempt to re-adjust the recipe for only one person I screwed up somewhere. So no waffles for me. Instead I made a smoothie, which turned out great.

In the smoothie was 1 banana, ~5 strawberries, 1 Stoneyfield FF Vanilla yogurt, a handful of cocoa dusted almonds, ~ 1 c. Silk Vanilla Almond milk, and 6 ice cubes. I guess it made a good substitute for my waffles.
For lunch today I was adventurous and tried to make baby artichokes. Never in my life I have ever cooked an artichoke, but these baby ones looked cute and begged me to buy them at the grocery store so I gave in since they were such a good deal. I prepared them with some minced garlic, oregano, and butter in the microwave for ~ 10 minutes. When they came out they smelled delicious and were done according to the instructions I followed online since they were tender, but I didn't know how or what to eat on them haha.

I did my best but I don't know if I succeeded in all that I could have. I was afraid I would eat an inedible part or something, but now that I've done more research I'm pretty sure I can eat almost the whole thing. Gotta keep that in mind for next time. With the baby chokes I also had some of last nights leftover pasta. For a snack this afternoon I had a free sample of Total Blueberry Pomegranate with Silk Vanilla Almond milk. Definitely enjoyed this cereal, it reminded me of a blueberry muffin.
Tonight for dinner I made some roasted asparagus and a turkey burger. For the asparagus I drizzled it with some olive oil and then put it in the oven on 400 for about 10 min. Then I sprinkled a little salt and pepper and some parmesan cheese on top. Yum. I enjoyed my turkey burger on a Thomas everything bagel thin topped with a piece of ff cheddar, some mixed greens, and ketchup and mustard.

I just now snacked on a bowel of delcious turkey hill light cookies and cream extreme. Boy do I love ice cream. If I could I would eat it multiple times everyday. Ice cream is probably my favorite food. Now I'm just catching up on Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy before heading to bed. Addicting shows!

Tip for the day: Try a new recipe this week. Pick one out online or in a magazine or a cookbook and plan a day to make it. Trying a new recipe has the thrill of excitement to it because you never know how its going to turn out. It might be absolutely delicious, or you might sorta like it but find a way to tweak it to make it better next time, or might be absolutely disgusted and never make it again. Either way its a thrill and I enjoyed my new recipe this week and will tweak it next time I make it, but definitely had fun doing it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beautiful Day

Today's weather is a good indicator that summer is definitely on it's way! There are sunny skies outside with about a high of if only there was a pool near by for me to lounge in haha. Instead today I went for a morning run, just a small 2.5 mile loop around the neighborhood. Before the run though I enjoyed some old-fashioned oats topped with strawberries and some Silk Vanilla Almond milk. This is definitely one of my new favorite milks to use on my oatmeal. I love the vanilla and nutty flavor it provides.

When I got back I made sure I had plenty of hydration because it was pretty warm outside. For lunch today I pretty much had the same thing as last nights dinner, gotta love leftovers! I had salmon salad with balsamic dressing with a slice of my french bread.

I tried out the new triple berry jelly I got at Wegman's on my bread and it was delicious.

Now I'm just lounging around. This is why I need to find a summer job, although I am babysitting tonight so at least I have a part-time job for now. I don't know how I feel about this grown-up thing of paying bills and rent, but I guess it's inevitable so I have to suck it up and spend my time worrying about more important things or not worrying at all would be great. I tend to worry too much about things I don't have control over, anybody else do that?

Well my tip of the day is: spend some time to relax and relieve some stress. Stress is not good for our health and I know that people today are running around trying to do a million things so it's hard not to stress. However, take at least 5-10 minutes out of your day to sit down either in silence, with some of your favorite music, or a favorite TV show, and just enjoy it! Enjoy the moment of relaxation and then take that moment with you the rest of the day :)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Success in the Kitchen

So before my success in the kitchen I had a successful workout at the gym. I did the elliptical for 20 min and then went to a pretty intense aerobics class for 45 min. This aerobics class is my favorite because it keeps you moving the whole time and incorporates weights and abs. It definitely gives you a full body workout.
Tonight when I got back from aerobics my apartment smelled of delicious white fluffy bread. This means the bread machine works and my bread making was a success!

As my glorious french bread I created was cooling. I put together a salad from the most recent Healthy Cooking magazine. It was the balsamic-salmon spinach salad. Here are the ingredients that the recipe calls for:

salmon fillet, balsamic vinaigrette, baby spinach, avocado, walnuts, sunflower kernels, and dried cranberries

This salad basically combined all of my favorite salad toppings into one salad that I never thought to create before. It was delicious and I HIGHLY recommend it!

After dinner I had a slice of my bread for dessert, and of course it was a big slice because who doesn't love fresh bread?? I put the last of my grandma's homemade strawberry jam on one side and some smart balance on the other. Mmmmm goodness :)

Now its time for a nice relaxing night with a movie....boy do I love not having anything to study or papers to write.

Tip for the Night: Think of some of your favorite foods, and try to think of different recipes you can come up with. You will be surprised at how many things actually do taste good together, like my salad for instance :)

The beginning of summer...

Well finals are finally done and my summer has arrived. I don't quite know what to do with myself. I probably need to look for a job but I haven't been having luck recently. Looking for temporary jobs is something I do not like to do. I'm kind of hoping I can make it through the summer just with babysitting and cleaning, it might be tight but it will give me a little more time to relax and hang out with my friends. Sometimes we just need to allow ourselves to slow down for awhile and I think I could use a dose of that about now.
Anyways this past weekend was pretty relaxing. I had to dogsit for Fergie and Bogie, and then the boyfriend came to visit and hangout with me. On Saturday evening we concocted one of the best meals ever! We cooked salmon kabobs on the grill and served them with crab cakes and quinoa salad (which included quinoa, soybeans, spinach, pumpkin seeds, & dried cranberries)

Salmon Kabobs

Crab Cake

Quinoa Salad
This was seriously one of the best meals ever. The salmon kabob pretty much filled me up because after that I only ate about 2 bites of the crab cake and a couple more bites of the quinoa (They made a great lunch the next day :). We enjoyed our meal outside because the weather was beautiful! Here is a picture of our cute set-up.

We finished of of our meal with a bottle of wine to celebrate the ending of my first year of graduate school! Now only two more to go haha.

The rest of the weekend wasn't too eventful. We just enjoyed the weather and hung out and relaxed. Exactly what I wanted to do :)

Today has been pretty uneventful as well. I went on a mini shopping spree this morning to Target and Wegmans to get some odds and ends and to stock up on groceries. When I came back I was starving so I made a sandwich for lunch.

It was made on a Thomas's Everything flavor bagel thin, with laughing cow cheese, turkey breast, and spinach. I also had some Stonyfield Chocolate Underground yogurt with fresh strawberries. It was sooo good.

Now I'm off to play with my new bread machine (a hand-me down from a friend). I'm going to try to make some french bread to have with my dinner so hopefully it turns out!

Tip of the day: Make grocery shopping fun. I know a lot of people see grocery shopping as another errand that gets in the way of things, but try to make an adventure out of it. Look for new produce to try or items that you've been wanting to try that are now on sale. There is always something waiting at the grocery store for you to discover. You never know what new food might become your favorite :)

Happy day!