Peanut Butter All Day

Yesterday I decided to take a break from the smoothies. I don’t know if my body was reacting poorly to the weekend of fun and not eating normally, or if it was reacting because I had two smoothies on Sunday. One way or the other, it wasn’t very happy. Since I had to be at work yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to stick with the basics.

Delicious basics. Cream of Wheat with cinnamon, banana, and stevia in an almost empty peanut butter jar. The hot cereal makes the peanut butter melt off the sides. It is so so good. I scraped this bad boy clean.

The protein, fat, and carb combo did a great job of holding me over until lunch time. At lunch I came home and made myself a PB2 banana sandwich and served it on possibly the cutest plate I have ever laid my eyes on. Target boutique really knows how to make me happy. ūüėČ This plate was $1.79 I think; well worth it. I have another one to show you soon too!

I also ate some pretzels and cheesy crackers with hummus and a piece of dark chocolate. Then back to work. After work I headed straight to the gym even though all I wanted to do was lay outside on the deck under the beautiful sun. I brought an issue of Fitness magazine and read it from front to back while movin’ it on the elliptical. It felt great to move yet I kept it a fairly relaxing workout. I was still sweating through it! I think I have decided that Fitness magazine is currently my favorite magazine. I love reading all of their recipe ideas, workouts, and tips on healthy living.

Anyway, I headed home to hang out with the boyeeze. On the menu for dinner: lettuce wraps with pulled chicken, apple, avocado, and Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard.

I loved all of the different textures and the sweetness from the apple and honey mustard with the slightly salty chicken. After the lettuce wraps I got into the peanut butter again. Yup, you read it right, peanut butter for the third time, this time with pretzels (Hales I thought of you while snacking on this one). I just couldn’t keep my paws off the peanut butter yesterday. And since I’m being totally honest, I’ll go ahead and tell you I also had a few bites of rainbow sherbet and a lemon cookie.

After dinner I still had quite a bit of energy to burn, so made my way down to the treadmill and walked my way through the Bachelorette. Well, part of it at least. I am such a huge Sean fan still. I am really hoping that Emily falls for him and they can live happily ever after.

Once again I got roped into watching this season. They always get me somehow.

I am off to tackle some To-Do’s. Catch up with all ya’ll later! Have a great day.

Do you have a guilty pleasure show? What is it?

Besides The Bachelorette, I find myself getting sucked into Keeping Up with the Kardashians every once and a while if it’s on. Those are my guilty pleasure shows, and now you all know!

Continue Reading Peanut Butter All Day

My First Half Marathon

It’s time for a recap of my first half marathon experience.

I want to premise this recap by reminding you all that I have been struggling with a colitis battle now for one month or so. A voice in my head kept asking me if I thought it was a good idea to run this race yesterday or not, not to mention the fact that I came down with a 24-hour stomach bug on Friday. Was my body trying to tell me something? I usually listen to my body, but not this time. After all of the training and anticipation of this race, there was no way I wasn’t going to give it my best shot. I HAD to do it. I didn’t care what time I finished in, I reminded myself it was okay if I needed to walk, I just wanted to finish. Period.

The morning of the race I woke up at 5:15 am, hopped in the shower for a quick wake-me-up spritz, put my running gear on that I had placed out the night before, and made myself my usual pre-run breakfast.

I had my usual pre-race jitters. It doesn’t matter if it is a 5k, a 10k, or a half marathon, I react the same way. I give myself plenty of time to use the facilities before a race (and this is if I’m in a flare-up or non-flare up). This is how my body has reacted to nerves for as long as I can remember; before basketball games, before dance competitions, before the Registered Dietitian Exam, etc.

We loaded up the car at 6:15 am and headed to the race.

Upon arrival, we parked, walked to our destination, checked our bags, and headed to the biffy’s (port-o-potty if you will). I forgot to take any pre-race photos and that’s probably because I was totally nervous and more focused on finding the bathrooms before we had to go into our start corrals.

7:15 am rolled around, and it was time to make our way to our corrals. We dropped my brother off in the 8:30 minute/mile area and Dana and I headed back towards the 9:30 minute/mile area. During our other long runs, we averaged a 9:30 minute/mile pace, but we knew that this may be far-fetched today since we had never ran this length before. We gave ourselves some slack and knew we could fall back if necessary, of course.

A woman sang a beautiful version of the national anthem and I tried to use this time to close my eyes and relax. It really was beautiful.

Then the race began. They started letting groups off by start time, and then held the rest, so we were walking in a slow pace to the start. It was a very dramatic moment to me, and it’s the moment that I noticed I had a rock in my shoe. I was about to start running with it when Dana told me I’m not going to want to run with a rock in my shoe. It turned out I had plenty of time to remove my shoe and dump out the miniature rock. Ok, all better. Now, get your music ready. It’s time to rock.

Our corral was set off and it was go time. Immediately I felt the excitement from the cheering crowd holding their awesome signs and from the other runners who were just as excited as I was to be running this race as I was. But I wasn’t about to let this excitement run me into an overly fast pace. We kept it low and slow. In the first few miles, we ran by¬†the 35W bridge collapse memorial site which I had never seen before. We passed the rolling Mississippi River and of course passed hundred’s of energetic spectators and cheerleaders.

We made one bathroom stop around mile 2. Around mile 3 I started to get an awful feeling in my stomach. I thought it was maybe just the jitters and kept praying that it would go away. It felt like my stomach was completely empty and cramping at the same time, and it was bringing me to nausea. I thought that I might just be hungry as I hadn’t eaten for two hours now, so I snacked on a couple of Blueberry Pomegranate Gu Chomps. I also sipped on some water from the water stop and waited 15 minutes or so to see if the pain would go away. Not a chance. It only progressed and got worse.

I kept running up until mile 6, when I told Dana I had to walk. I HATE walking on runs. I don’t like stopping because 1. I find it harder to start back up again and 2. It slows me down and keeps me from reaching the finish line sooner obviously. When I stopped to walk I was fighting to inhale a breath and felt tears beginning to swell. What is going on with me? Then it was time to give myself a little pep talk (in my head of course):¬†Melanie, your body is going through a lot right now with the colitis, the stomach bug, etc. You can do this though, I know you can, but remember that time doesn’t matter today. It is OKAY to walk. No one is going to judge you except for yourself, and you’ll get over it. Take care of yourself and you can finish.¬†I began running again but was only able to run for about 5 minutes before needing to stop again to walk. At this point I made Dana go ahead because there was no way I was going to hold him back like this.

Once I talked him into going ahead, I walked for probably another 5 minutes or so before I tried giving the running a chance again. I was able to run for a long time after that but at a pretty slow pace. I would walk through the water stations and then pick up the running again. I would tell myself that I would run to the sign ahead, or run until I saw some of my family and friends that were there to watch us, and then I could walk but only if I really needed to walk.

When I saw mile 10 I thought okay, one 5k to go. I’ve done how many 5k’s? No big deal. Ha, well, that last 5k seemed like the longest 5k ever (and looking at my time it literally was my longest 5k ever). At about mile 11 we had to run up what seemed like a mammoth hill at the time. I ran up half of it, then walked the rest. I picked up the running again and told myself I cannot stop until I get to that finish line. I am way too close now, and there are so many people watching…and that was enough to keep me going.

I reached a corner where everyone was yelling, “You’re almost there! Just around the corner!” Sure enough, I rounded the corner and saw the finish line. Out loud I said ‘Oh, Thank God’ and I bolted to that finish line. They announced my name as I was running through and I felt such a great amount of pride at that moment. I thought I would get emotional but I think I was in too much pain to get emotional. In fact, Dana greeted me at the finish and it was a good thing because I felt like I was going to fall over. Immediately, a member of the medical team was at my side with an ice pack and water, and that was just what I needed. Well that, and to sit down, stat.

My official time was 2:20 which  makes for an average pace of 10:42 minutes per mile. I am usually a 9:30 minute/mile runner, but not today, and that is okay. I just finished a half marathon. Wow, what an incredible feeling.

We gathered with our family that had come to watch and then eventually conjured up enough energy for post-race photos.

In the photo above: Kevin’s friend Jeremy, Kevi, Me, and Dana.

My body was so unhappy at this point. That smile on my face and standing up there was taking every last bit of energy in my body. After photos, we made the lengthy trek back to our car (about a mile to our car…..blech) and I tried munching on a banana on the way. I felt such a void in my stomach yet everything sounded awful to me. The banana tasted extremely starchy to me but I know it was just an imbalance in my body so everything would taste off right then.

We headed back to our cozy home making one pit stop at Subway to pick up some lunch. At home, I immediately jumped in the shower, put on comfy clothes and settled myself on to the couch with water, Powerade Zero, and a blanket. This was going to be my spot for a while.

My day of eats minus breakfast which you already saw:

Newman’s Own Thin & Crispy Margherita Pizza that we protein-ified by adding some honey ham (and pineapple) making our very own Margherita Hawaiian Pizza. Num!

My favorite food from today: Froyo from Freeziac. I once again went with Cake Batter Froyo and added brownie pieces, cookie dough pieces, crunch bar bits, reese’s pieces, a dash of hot fudge, sprinkles, and one red gummy bear on top.

It was definitely a lazy food day. We were on the couch until about 3pm after watching a movie and taking a short nap. Then we decided to run and get groceries for the week. Once we got home, I returned to my spot on the couch which is where I spent the rest of the evening before bed.

As mentioned yesterday, TeamOrtho did an incredible job of putting on this event. I would love to go over what I loved about how they organized this event, as well as the amazing supporters and their encouraging signs, but I think I will save that for another post (this one is getting pretty lengthy).

Although I struggled throughout this entire race with some pretty awful stomach issues, I still finished. I will forever take pride in knowing that I completed 13.1 miles in the Minneapolis Half Marathon. If I ever decide to run another half marathon, I will run it when I’m not in a current flare-up. The trouble is, when I registered for this one I was completely healthy, but a lot can change in 3 months so it’s difficult to plan for. I know I can complete a more successful half marathon, without the pains, and actually be able to enjoy it a little more than I did this time around. I don’t think this will be my last one, but who knows!

I am so proud of my husband and my brother and myself for completing our first ever half marathon together. I am so lucky that I got to share this incredible moment with such amazing people.

Thank you for our cheerleaders who came to watch us yesterday, and for those who were cheering at home in spirit! Your love and support meant the world to me and my heart melts from all of the love I felt from you all.

Sorry for such a lengthy post, but this was an event in my life that will never be forgotten, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you all.

I have the day off today to recover and to get a few things done around the house. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Continue Reading My First Half Marathon

Homemade Grilled Pizza

Yesterday I was out running errands in shorts, and this morning I woke up to see snow falling outside. Only in Minnesota. It isn’t going to stick at least, but gross.

Sunday was an amazingly productive day at our household. It began with a leisurely first part of the morning. Breakfast was a banana with honey, cinnamon, and a touch of almond milk PB2.

Sunday mornings always involve coupon cutting, reading the newspaper, and I always read Dana and my horoscope out loud.

Melanie: Scorpio

Dana: Pisces

Then off we went to Home Depot to return some unused pieces from the bathroom construction, and Target and Costco to restock the fridge. Neither Dana or I work late this week so I am thinking we should have some good meals throughout the week nights.

Let’s see, after our errands it was about 11:00 and we were both famished. The decision was made to eat an early lunch. I threw together a mediocre salad. I really thought it was going to be good but when I ate it just tasted “meh” to me.

In the salad was mixed greens, broccoli, sugar snap peas, tomato, carrots, shredded cheese, leftover grilled chicken and honey mustard. That sounds good right? Oh well, I can’t win them all. At least I got my veggies in.

After lunch we got to work on the house. I put on the Glee station on Pandora and began cleaning like a mad woman while Dana continued working on the downstairs bathroom. I cleaned for about 2 hours then was cleaning was happily put on hold because my mom was stopping by to say hi and check out our new bathroom. It is still not¬†completely¬†finished so I haven’t shown you guys yet. It will be very soon. Mom stayed for a little while and then it was back to work for me.

We were still on the prowl for our towel racks, toilet paper holder, and robe holders, so we set out to Kohl’s to take a look there. We have already looked at a handful of other places but haven’t seen ones we liked. Needless to say, Kohl’s didn’t have what we were looking for however we did buy towels for our bathroom. I bought two white shower towels, one gray hand towel, and one brown hand towel.

We are still searching for out floor mats but I think I will take a look at Macy’s next and see what they have. Anyway, since we didn’t find out towel racks at Kohl’s, we decided to head to Menard’s to see if we liked any there. We had looked there before but hadn’t decided upon any so we thought we would lood now that we are really in the buying mode.

We found our towel racks! Wooo!

Home we went to install the towel racks, toilet paper holder, two doors in the bathroom, a built-in vanity mini closet, shower curtain….I felt like Heidi on Home Improvement as I was Dana’s assistant with tools and such. I felt so handy yesterday!

In the midst of bathroom business (that sounds wrong, sorry), I managed to squeeze in a 30 minute walk on the treadmill in between assisting Dana and folding the laundry. I am still amazed at how much work that bathroom has been and it’s still not finished.

Let’s get to dinner because you are going to want to hear about this. It was homemade pizza night. I made this bread machine pizza dough¬†¬†however I used only whole wheat flour, and cut the recipe in half as I wanted a thinner crust. I added all of the ingredients to the bread machine, set it on dough, and let it work it for an hour and a half.

Once the bread was ready, I plopped the dough onto a floured surface and began kneading it out to a circular shape. I then flipped it and kneaded a little more. I sprinkled a small amount of corn meal onto each side of the crust, then coated each side with olive oil cooking spray to evenly cover the surfaces.

In the mean time, Dana preheated the grill to medium-hot heat. We sprayed the grates of the grill, then slid the dough onto the grill, closed the lid and cooked the one side for five minutes or until the bottom began to brown and the top started to bubble slightly. We removed the pizza, brought it inside to “decorate” the cooked side.

I started with jarred marinara sauce (as much or as little as you like).

Then reduced fat mozzarella cheese, and a mixed cheddar cheese. Next, for our toppings: green olives, lightly sautéed mushrooms and onions, and Roma tomato slices.

We then turned off half of the heaters on the grill and turned the two remaining on, to medium heat. We sprayed the grates of the grill one more time, and slid the pizza on to the grill.

Close the lid, and let the pizza grill for 10-12 minutes on that medium heat. Remove pizza carefully and cut into triangles, squares, diamonds, whatever you feel like, and enjoy a seriously delicious homemade pizza.

I savored every bite of two slices, and had a handful of sugar snap peas on the side. This crust is so amazing and the fresh toppings are the best. I love making my own pizzas because you can regulate what goes into the crust, how much sauce goes on, how much cheese, and I like to make sure each slice has an equal amount of toppings. OMG, this was incredible.

After dinner there was dessert, but I am going to have to save that for another day because I have some errands to run and workouts to workout. ūüėČ Here is a sneak peek of what went down….

It’s chocolately!

Positive Monday talk: I have today off of work, I am a happy camper.

Question of the day: Did anyone cook up anything delicious this weekend?

Continue Reading Homemade Grilled Pizza

Keeping Sugar Intake Under Control: Mind Over Matter

Happy Good Friday to you all!

After work yesterday I headed to the gym. I rowed on the row machine for 5 minutes as a quick warmup, then headed to grab some free weights. I headed to the back to my favorite area of the gym¬†for privacy, and plowed through the Pyramid Arm Workout. I don’t think “plowed” is necessarily the most accurate term to use though, because that makes it sound like it was a piece of cake for me when in reality, this was pretty challenging for me today. I was feeling exhausted with low energy. I always figure though, at least I’m doing¬†something which is better than¬†nothing.

Dinner last night came together in a pinch thanks to the help of the crock pot. At lunch break, I placed two chicken breasts in the crock pot (without any seasonings) and set the crock pot to “high” as it was already lunch time, and wasn’t going to have quite as long of a time to cook as usual. I love the crock pot because you set it, and forget it!

When I got home from the gym the chicken was cooked through in the crockpot. I removed it and placed into a round bowl, grabbed two forks and began shredding. I removed about half of the shredded chicken, covered it, and refrigerated it for use another day. This is the reason I don’t like to season the whole batch, because I like to use it in several different dishes. The other half of the chicken was for our dinner.

I mixed the chicken with KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce and placed it on top a bed of baby kale, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, red onion, cilantro and corn.

I then added reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese and Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard. I have made this combo before and I must say, I really struck gold again. This combination was fantastic! My inspiration for this combo was from a salad I had eaten at Famous Dave’s that was loaded with pulled chicken and honey mustard. NUM!

After dinner we headed out to run a couple of errands. We needed to buy another photo album for our wedding photos because we ran out of room on the first one. Is it bad that it’s been six months since our wedding and our wedding photos still aren’t all in an album yet? Meh.

After errands I plunked down in front of the computer because I needed recipe ideas. I told mom I would bring desserts and a fruit salad to Easter Sunday at their place. Yes, you read right, DESSERT. I haven’t had dessert since February 22nd, when Lent began. It has been great to get my sugar intake under control again especially after the holidays. My body does not crave sugar like it used to.

When re-introducing sweets back into my life, I am going to continue to be very mindful of my eating, and want to make sure not to fall into an over-indulging of sugar stage again.  I will need to remember to keep sweet treats, indeed a sweet treat every once and a while, not a sweet snack everyday. Knowing me and my sweet tooth this will probably mean keeping sweets out of the house for the most part, and if I really have a hankering for something , I will have to go out and buy it, which will slow me down.

I don’t want to “crave” sugary treats¬†and¬†I have a big vacation coming up in a few weeks which involves being in a swimsuit. I am hoping this motivates me to stay smart. My goal is to keep my sweet tooth under control, and it’s mind over matter.

Anyway, after browsing many photos and recipes, and drooling on my shirt, I think I have decided on two recipes, possibly three that I will be making.

1. Chocolate Caramel Bars or Carmelitas; something like these

2. Lemon Bars

3. Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (I haven’t for sure decided on this one yet)

I thought these all looked so good! I could waste so much time looking at recipes and food photos. I find it so fun and relaxing. I am such a foodie.

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Breakfast this morning was cinnamon flaxseed oatmeal with bananas and PB2. I added in a small amount of egg whites towards the end of the cooking process to add more protein to the dish. I decided to top it off with a little bit of maple syrup. It was muy delicioso.

Now, my computer is really starting to test my patience so I think this post needs to come to an end. I hope everyone has a beautiful Friday!

Continue Reading Keeping Sugar Intake Under Control: Mind Over Matter

Tastes as Good as it Looks

I have been seriously lacking in the photo-taking department lately. I’ll get on that.

Anyway, I found out at about 2:00 pm yesterday that it was National Peanut Butter and Jelly day. Why is it that I always find out a little too late about these awesome theme days after I have already eaten breakfast, lunch, and have dinner planned?

I did have peanut butter for breakfast, just not jelly. This is a recycled photo from a while back. Today’s was not this pretty and there was no cinnamon or chia seeds involved. I did mix honey into the PB2 today though which was a winning combo. I will have to make up for the pb and j day another day. I just may, what do you say?

This reminds me, I had a PB2 dream a couple of nights ago. I had a dream I was in a PB2 type store or factory, and there were hundreds of different flavors. I specifically remember a raspberry swirl PB2 which really didn’t sound appetizing to me. Huh, very random.

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I started my day yesterday with a 2 mile run. I had decided that I wanted to split up my distances today and do some in the morning, and the rest in the afternoon. The morning run was fine, but in the afternoon when I was tackling a 3 mile run, I realized I have a lot of work to do in getting myself into running uphill shape. I have to admit that I walked a little bit up two hills on my afternoon run. It’s early in the season though, I will get there!

Let’s see what kind of fun facts I can conjure up for you from Monday…

  1. Moose got his 2nd tick in 2 days (we were 1 day too late on giving him his flea and tick medicine)
  2. My swimsuit I ordered from Victoria’s Secret came in the mail
  3. I bought a 5 pack of Lara Bars for $4.00 at Target
  4. I bought a shower curtain for the bathroom downstairs (it’s coming along!)
  5. I made a super delicious refreshing salad for dinner

Baby kale, cara cara orange, blackberries, red onion, avocado, black beans, and ¬†Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard!

I posted three photos because I couldn’t decide which one I liked best seeing as they’re all pretty similar looking, so my indecisive self decided to show you all three. It was so pretty, and this time tasted as good as it looked unlike Saturday’s salad.

It was honestly AMAZING! I have made this before using strawberries instead of blackberries, regular mixed greens versus baby kale, and mandarin oranges instead of cara cara. I used the ingredients I had on hand tonight. Either way this salad is the bomb. Refreshing, healthy, and so super easy. It is perfect for entertaining as well. You could top the salad with grilled chicken breast and serve it with a side of hearty whole grain bread. MMMmmm….

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My morning today began with a bowl of Overnight Chia Yogurt¬†that I jazzed it up even more by adding a dash of cinnamon. I have been in a bit of overnight yogurt “rut” lately. Except rut is not the right word because I take rut to mean it’s a bad thing. I have just really been into it lately! Maybe I’ll switch it up soon to keep things interesting.

I am off for now. Hitting the gym after work today to get my sweat on. Have a wonderful day friends.

Continue Reading Tastes as Good as it Looks

Tempeh Talk

Happy Thursday everyone! Is it really March? Can you believe it?

I got my morning run in today! Thursdays have been pretty good for me for getting in the morning workout. My motto for this morning’s run:

I kept repeating over and over in my head, “You don’t have to run fast, just run.” It got me through 3 miles!

So, remember a couple of days ago when I briefly  mentioned I had experimented with Tempeh for the first time and flashed you this picture?

Well, it’s time to talk about it! It’s tempeh talk time! Organic tempeh was another one of the purchases I made at Whole Foods a couple of weeks back. The brand I bought is called Lightlife. As mentioned previously, I have never eaten tempeh but have been very curious about it.

So, what is Tempeh?

Tempeh, pronounced “temp-pay,” ¬†is a product of soybeans. The ingredients are: cultured organic soybeans, water, lactic acids (from plant sources), and organic brown rice.

Nutritional Value

What stood out to me the most when viewing the nutrition label was the insane amount of protein. In each serving (a half of a package with this particular brand), it packs 22 grams of protein which is incredible! Also, it is fiber-filled with 12 grams per serving. Here is how the rest of it stacked up. These nutrition facts are straight from Lightlife’s¬†website.

Nutrition: Amount per Serving Percentage Daily Value
Calories 230
Calories from Fat 70
Fat, g 8 12%
Saturated Fat, g 1.5 8%
Trans Fatty Acids, g 0
Cholesterol, mg 0
Sodium, mg 10
Potassium, mg* 380 11%
Carbohydrate, g 16 5%
Fiber, g 12 48%
Sugars, g <1
Protein, g 22 44%
Vitamin A, % 0%
Vitamin C, % 0%
Calcium, % 15%
Iron, % 20%

How do you use it?

Considering this was my first time ever cooking with tempeh, I am by no means an expert with this stuff. I used it in a marinara sauce and it really tasted a lot like having ground turkey in the sauce. All I did to prepare it was brown it in a pan as you would ground turkey or ground beef, making sure to break it up into small pieces. Cook it long enough to see it start to brown slightly. I then added diced onions and sautéed until tender, next sliced mushrooms, garlic powder, some italian seasonings, and lastly a jar of Prego Veggie Smart Marinara Sauce. Stir, cover and simmer until headed through. Voila, awesome vegetarian pasta sauce with LOTS of protein! I added the sauce to some vegetable noodles, and topped it with some grated parmesan cheese. I also added two chopped up green olives on top which I REALLY enjoy! I really like olives though.

There are millions of other ways to use it. Use it in soups, chili, tacos, salads, sloppy joes….I am learning so many new ways to use it by browsing Lightlife’s website and good ol’ Google.

My Review

I really enjoyed this product! I was afraid the tempeh would give a weird flavor to the sauce, but it didn’t at all. It really took on the flavor of the sauce and had a nice texture somewhat similar to a cooked lentil. If you feel like trying something new, I would highly recommend this. I would recommend it over tofu in fact. I like that it is more firm than tofu (even the extra firm tofu). I love trying new things!

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Breakfast on leap day morning started out with an oldie but goodie. PB banana “sandwich”, served with a side of Special K with Strawberries (I went back for more cereal, twice).

For lunch I whipped together a very delicious salad with mixed greens, banana pepper, mushrooms, tomato, avocado, peas, and feta cheese. I topped it with my favorite Honey Mustard. This photo below was actually from dinner the night before because I forgot to take one from lunch. It was very similar though but you will notice a few differences. Whoopsie!

I also had some green grapes, a little bit of kettle corn, and a piece of whole grain bread with peanut butter. I definitely ate too much for lunch. I was FULL.

For dinner I met up with the fam bam and had my mama’s famous chili. It tasted extremely delicious. You know how some times certain foods taste better than other times? Well, it was one of those times where it tasted absolutely AMAZING. Mmmm…so comforting especially since it was kind of messy outside. Tuesday night we got hit with a bunch of rain, which eventually turned into snow, and then turned into rain again. Luckily, the temperatures have mostly remained above freezing so we haven’t been stuck with an ice rink outside. I snapped a couple of pictures from the rain on Tuesday that was starting to freeze a little on the trees. I thought it was pretty.

Oh, the simple pleasures, right?

I am starting to get back on track with workouts, however, I am slacking on the strength training part! There are no excuses, I need to get back into it. I was doing so well for almost a month and starting to notice a difference in my strength. I need to make time. You guys are my witnesses, I said it. Hold me accountable! ūüėČ

Alright, I’m off to work. Have a great day everybody!

Continue Reading Tempeh Talk

Kitchen Staples

It’s Friday!

My day started off with this…

I couldn’t decide if I wanted bananas on my pb toast so I decided just to put them on half! I love variety. It was a good decision. ūüėČ Banana and peanut butter is such a winning combo. What a great way to start the morning.

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Last night was a “wing-it” night, so I decided to throw together a kitchen sink salad.

Which brings me to the topic of kitchen staples. You will notice that my salads have a lot of the same ingredients almost ALL THE TIME. I apologize if it gets boring but I have found that there are certain foods that we almost have on hand. Items that we always seem to keep stocked because we use them so often, which can easily be made into a meal.

Kitchen staples in our house

  • Huge container of mixed greens lettuce
  • Black beans, usually canned
  • Frozen veggies: peas, corn, broccoli, mukimame (soybeans)
  • Tilapia (frozen)
  • Chicken Breasts (frozen)
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut Butter
  • Eggs
  • Insane amount of condiments–like I said I LOVE sauce
  • some sort of bread or tortillas
  • We generally have quite a few fresh fruits and veggies on hand as well, but get low toward the end of the week

With these staples on hand, it makes tossing together a quick and healthy meal a pretty easy task.

Options from these staples:

  • Crockpot pulled chicken
  • Salad
  • Tilapia and roasted broccoli
  • Full o’ veggie hash with an egg on top
  • Stir fry
  • Bean burritos
  • Fried egg sandwich
  • Peanut butter wraps
  • Etc., Etc., Etc.

So colorful! I often go straight for the salads because they are fast, they help me increase my veggie intake for the day, they taste great, and I don’t think I have ever regretted eating a big ol’ salad. You can switch them up and make them a million plus different ways which keeps things exciting. Plus, I am a gal who likes volume when it comes to my food. I like snacks like popcorn, dinners like soups and salads, breakfasts like yogurt loaded with fruit. You know, the kinds of meals and snacks where you can get more bang for your buck; a larger quantity of food versus a very calorie dense food like pizza (but I do love pizza), and where you can eat a larger amount of food but not suffer the calorie consequences. This is probably because I truly enjoy eating; but not in an obsessive way. I love exploring foods and trying new recipes, as you have probably noticed by now.

Alright, I am off to finish getting ready for work. Happy Friday!

What are YOUR kitchen staples? Feel free to comment!

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Plantain Trial

It’s the freakin’ weekend baby!

Thank goodness! Today was wild and crazy and I am so happy to have a fun-filled weekend ahead.

I am feeling back to normal today. I regained appetite at about 9 p.m. last night and ate some kettle corn and then some¬†mukimame which is the bean from the¬†edamame (for when you’re feeling real lazy and don’t want to mess with the pod). ¬†I got a good night’s rest and was good as new today.

I began my day with a peanut butter banana

 

Followed by 2 (errr more like 3) cups of coffee with cream and stevia.

I was feeling a little hungry mid-morning and munched on a small handful of almonds.

Lunch was a little bit of this:

In the mix was: broccoli, peas, carrots, mushrooms, green olives, mixed greens, laughing cow, and lite honey mustard dressing (Newman’s Own). Alongside a deliciously sweet clementine and some more almonds.

Cut to post-work. I get home and am ravished. The fridge is not very well stocked but I did manage to find some dates. I ate a handful of dates and a spoonful of peanut butter. I am starting to realize why we go ¬†through peanut butter so fast around here. Anyway, I headed out to run some errands. I needed to pick up some wedding photos from Walgreen’s including one that completes our “guest book” cork board photo frame! We are so excited about it. For our guest book at our wedding we went non-traditional. We had our guests write their names on a wine cork which we then glued into a frame. Check it out…

Wooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! Love it!

Besides Walgreen’s I also needed to return the book, “The Help” to the library (didn’t get to finish it and couldn’t renew because someone had reserved it—I will be finishing it though one day).

Last stop was Target to pick up some ingredients needed for tonight’s “dinner” and for a special birthday dessert I’m making for Ms. Birthday Girl Betsy and Mr. Belated Birthday Boy Matt. ¬†Oreos are involved! OOoo ahhhh. ¬†I also managed to snag a bag of Whole Grain Cheddar Goldfish which I cracked into as soon as I got home, alongside some chocolate chips. Hmmm…all of this snacking this afternoon, no wonder I wasn’t hungry for dinner. I had good plans for dinner too. ¬†I still made part of the fun special dinner and hubby enjoyed it immensely.

Last weekend I picked up a plantain at the grocery store. I love trying new things as you may know by now and had eaten a plantain before but never cooked one myself. I did a little brainstorming and a little researching for recipes, and then remembered a delicious appetizer I had this summer at Chino Latino’s with ¬†my girl friends.

It was fried plantains served with a spicy black bean dip. After chatting with my co-workers today, two of which are from Columbia, I learned that my plantain was not going to make for the best “chips” because it was too ripe. In order to make good chips you need a really green plantain apparently and mine was more of a yellowish-green with some brown spots. Sounds appetizing right? Well, I wasn’t going to give up on it and I’m not one to throw away perfectly good food, so I got creative.

I started by peeling the plantain and slicing on an angle in 1/8-1/4 inch slices. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and covered a baking pan with aluminum foil and non-stick cooking spray. I placed the plantains on the baking sheet (pictured below), sprayed the top with cooking spray, and sprinkled with cumin and chili powder. I popped them in the oven for about 17 minutes, turning halfway through.

In the meantime, I saut√©ed one small white onion in about 1 teaspoon of ¬†Annie’s garlic olive oil (thank you Brian and Amanda). To the pan I then added: one can of drained and rinsed black beans, one 4-ounce can of diced green chilies, a dash of garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Once all ingredients were combined, I continued heating on the stove top for about 5 more minutes while the plantains finished in the oven. I then transferred the bean mixture into the food processor and processed until smooth. I removed the plantains from the oven and served them along side the bean dip.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I had snacked so much prior to this, or the sweetness of the plantains, but something wasn’t appealing to me in this dish. However, Dana LOVED it. Thanks to him my self-esteem wasn’t completely battered. I wouldn’t say my first attempt at plantains was a fail whatsoever, it just wasn’t my favorite ever. Stay tuned to see what new food I try to cook up next week!

I am off to start working on the mystery dessert for Betsy and Matt’s Birthday Party tomorrow! I am so suspenseful I know. Wish me luck!

Have a great night everyone. Peace and love. Out.

Continue Reading Plantain Trial