Date at Pittsburgh Blue

Happy Friday to you all!

Last night, Dana and I had a date night. We still had a gift card from our wedding to a chain of restaurants in the area, and it was burning a whole in my pocket.

The chain of restaurants is called Parasole and among their restaurants, we chose Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse which specializes in duh, steak, but also has a great variety of seafood.

We got all dolled up, had our own happy hour at home with a glass of wine, before heading out the door to the restaurant.

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Moose wanted in on the photo shoot. I want to frame this one below. How stinking beautiful is he??

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He made sure to smile for this one…

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We told him that if dogs were allowed at the restaurant we would so let him come with, but no can do. Rules are rules. Sorry, Moose. Winking smile

While we contemplated our dinner orders, we both ordered a glass of Zinfandel which was perfectly smooth and slightly sweet. By far my favorite wine.

They also brought out a bread basket which I had originally said I was going to pass on, but changed my mind about 7 minutes later. Boy am I glad I did. The bread loaf was made up of 4 large rolls that were incredibly soft on the inside, and the outside had a light crust brushed with garlic butter and sea salt. OH MY. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

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For dinner I ordered the seafood cobb salad. The salad started with a bed of romaine lettuce drizzled with lemon vinaigrette, and then was piled high with these toppings:

Left to right: fresh lobster, tomatoes, chives, hard-boiled egg, citrus shrimp, cheese, bacon, avocado, and fresh crab.

What an awesome salad. I ate 80% of it and was pretty proud of my accomplishment.

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Dana ordered the prime rib which to me is the most unappetizing thing ever. I’m just not much of a meat person as you may well know by now. He really enjoyed it!

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We also ordered a side of asparagus which were the bomb.

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Although I was feeling pleasantly full after dinner, I really wanted to finish date night with something sweet. I had the bright idea to stop at Whole Foods on the way home and get some gelato.

2 scoops: 1 scoop chocolate brownie and 1 scoop salted caramel.

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Are you kidding me? My second glimpse of heaven that night. I especially loved the salted caramel.

It had been way too long since we have had a date night like this. It was perfect. I loved spending such a nice evening with my hubby. Thanks Brett and Krystle for the great wedding gift!

I hope everyone has a great Friday! My favorite day of the week. Catch up with you all later!

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Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Happy Hump Day! Hope everyone is doing well on this mid-week day .

Breakfast

Breakfast yesterday was a smoothie-on-the-go packed with strawberries, blueberries, banana and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I love how the vanilla almond milk tastes in the smoothie.

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Lunch

A seriously rockin’ salad. Mixed greens with mango, blueberries, strawberries, avocado, almonds, feta cheese, and Newman’s Own Lite Raspberry Walnut vinaigrette.

Honestly this salad rocked my socks.

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I worked a half day yesterday, so afterwards I headed to mom and dad’s. I ate dessert when I got there (I always raid the cupboards upon arrival), which was peanut butter and chocolate chips while I said hi to Abbie (mom and dad’s sweet little Yorkie-poo who I adore).

Then I changed into my workout gear, laced up the ol’ sneakers, and hit the pavement. I jogged/walked their neighborhood and covered 4.5 miles. It was mid-80’s and sunny while I was out and I have determined I am a weenie when it comes to running in the heat. I melted and ended up running 70% of the time and walking 30% of the time, and that may be a little generous even on the running side.

After the “wun” (walk/run), I headed to the basement to cool off. I still had some mojo left, so I hopped on their elliptical for 10 minutes while watching Giada at Home. Finally, I finished with the bench press.

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I gave Abbie one last kiss and headed out the door back home to my own big puppy and hubby.

Snack

For an afternoon snack I had a bowl of cooked carrots with cinnamon and sugar.

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Dinner

Not long after my snack, both Dana and I were getting super hungry, so I figured I may as well start dinner instead of more snacking.

For dinner I made Black Bean Quinoa Burgers.

To the food processor I added 2 cups of cooked black beans, 1/4 cup diced onion, 1 minced garlic glove, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1 tablespoon of cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 cup salsa, 2 tablespoons egg whites, salt and pepper, and a miniature pinch of red pepper flakes.

I pulsed these ingredients until combined, leaving it slightly chunky and making sure not to let it turn into a hummus paste.

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I chilled the mixture for about 5 minutes. We got too impatient to wait any longer, plus the mixture was still cold from using cold ingredients so it was easy to handle.

I formed the mixture into 7 patties and placed them on a lightly sprayed piece of aluminum foil. Before they hit the grill I sprinkled them with garlic and onion powder.

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We grilled them over medium-low heat for 20 minutes; flipping halfway through.

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I topped my burger with salsa and avocado, and served it alongside a simple green salad with cheddar cheese and Western dressing.

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Talk about a great meatless meal and perfect for the summer because I didn’t have to use the oven at all. Niiiiiiice.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans, cooked
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • a dash of chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup salsa, heaping
  • 2 Tbsp. egg white

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-low.
  2. In food processor, lightly pulse all ingredients and keep chunky.
  3. Form into patties and place on lightly sprayed aluminum foil. Place on grill.
  4. Grill for 20 minutes; flipping on foil halfway.

Dessert

While watching the Olympics, we whipped up a wonderfully creamy dessert that I have grown to LOVE. Cocoa banana soft serve baby; cocoa powder, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and frozen bananas.

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So good.

I’ll leave you with that beautiful sight. Have a great day!

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Garden Fresh Veggies

Hi there! I’m diving right in…

Lunch

I’m still not quite sure how I felt about yesterday’s lunch. The night before, I sautéed zucchini and mushrooms seasoned with cumin and salt and pepper. I then added cooked carrots and diced turkey. Once the veggies were cooled, I topped them with green olives, feta cheese, and balsamic basil dressing. I packaged the dish up and brought it with me to work.

I ended up eating the carrots solo, not in combination with any of the other items in this dish. They just didn’t belong, poor guys. Would I make this combo again? Probably not, but I didn’t HATE it, it just wasn’t as good as my other Greek-inspired dish from the other day. I prefer the fresh raw veggies versus the cooked any day.

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Either way I still enjoyed my lunch outside in the sun and then went for a quick 15 minute walk before heading back to work for the afternoon.

Gym

After work I made my way to the gym after sitting in traffic for what seemed like forever. I wasn’t feeling super energized so I grabbed my newest Rachael Ray magazine and rode the elliptical for 35 minutes. It was pretty darn hot in the gym yesterday and I ended up getting sweatier than I felt worthy of. I wasn’t hitting it too hard but the sweat made me feel like I was!

Dinner

For some strange reason, once normal dinner time rolled around, I was not hungry. I hadn’t eaten copious amounts of food throughout the day or anything, so this was weird for me. This doesn’t happen to me hardly ever.

I waited and waited for the hunger feelings to come around, and they were only starting to barely creep up when I decided I would just make myself a little somethin’-somethin’.

I made a salad with mixed greens, a half of a grilled pork tenderloin marinated in Lawry’s Hawaiian dressing, avocado, mango, and honey mustard dressing.

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About 45 minutes after I got done eating the salad, my appetite kicked in. I ate my second dinner which was a few small handfuls of trail mix…

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A bunch of these sweet red cherries…

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And a piece of almond bread. Dana said this was by far the best batch of almond bread I have made so far, and I would have to agree. I used Greek yogurt instead of homemade SCD yogurt, and cut the eggs down a little bit and incorporated some egg whites. It made for a more bread-like texture with less crumbling and more stability.

I should probably post this recipe soon, huh?

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As I was out checking out the garden last night, looking around for any fresh veggies to pick, I thought it would be fun to give you guys a glimpse of the jungle our garden has turned out to be.

I snapped this photo below back at the end of May when we planted zucchini, tomato, bell peppers, jalapeño, kale, green beans, and onions.

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Now check it out! Mind you there’s an abundance of weeds in there, but you see on the right side in the front? Those are all tomato plants and they are coming in full swing! They are mostly green still but there are LOTS of green ones. I can’t wait to be bombarded with tomatoes. Fresh salsa will be coming out my ears.

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The zucchini have had a rough summer. We have gotten a few so far, but not like last year. I think the weather has teased them a bit. I’m still hoping we get more.

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Here is our green beans and kale on the left.

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We didn’t get any peppers unfortunately which I am pretty bummed about. The onions are probably ready to be plucked from the ground, but I haven’t touched them yet.

I most definitely do not have a green thumb, but we are producing some veggies which makes me oh so happy.

I am off for the day, make it a happy one. Open-mouthed smile

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Paleo Style

Good day to you all! I hope everyone’s weekend is off to a great start. I’m pretty sure I have deemed Friday as my favorite day of the week. At the end of the work day it’s so nice knowing that I have the whole weekend ahead of me to do as I please.

My Friday

I started my day with a banana pancake topped with honey and PB2. I made it the night before so that all I had to do in the morning was pop it in the microwave and add some toppings. I’m all about anything that make early mornings easier for me.

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I am attempting to wean back on the nut butter a bit because I was seriously getting out of hand and eating it by the spoonfuls. I think it was a combination of factors: I may have felt slightly deprived from the diet, I don’t love meat, and I felt like it was something that actually satisfied my belly. Now that I am starting to incorporate more of my favorite proteins again, quinoa, beans, and eggs, I am able to cut back on the nut butter. I will not be cutting it out however!

For lunch I ate the same awesome Greek-inspired salad as yesterday.

After work, I headed straight to the gym yet again. I hit the elliptical for 20 minutes, then moved to the treadmill for a mile run all while watching the Olympic women’s 10,000 meter race. Holy cow those ladies are speedy! It was great motivation to keep me moving. After cardio, I moved to the free weights to pound out a chest and tricep workout. I finished with some core work. Strength training two days in a row! It has been a while since that has happened.

For dinner I made a taco salad.

In the mix:

  • mixed greens
  • cilantro
  • black beans
  • cheddar cheese
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • and ranch dressing

I debated whether or not to top the salad with salsa, but have found in the past that I am usually disappointed if I use salsa as my dressing, so I opted for one I knew I would like.

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After dinner I wanted dessert. I found a Paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe from Delighted Momma and decided to give it a whirl. But I was kinda looking for cookies that are keto, for my weight wasn’t going unnoticed.

I made a few changes though of course as I always do. Instead of the coconut oil, I used organic applesauce and instead of using 4 whole eggs, I used 3 eggs plus 1 egg white. For the chocolate chip part, I bought carob chips from the natural food store in town. I have never used them before but know they can be substituted for chocolate chips and are a healthier option. The ones I bought were dairy free. 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Paleo Style

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup carob chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In mixing bowl beat together applesauce, honey, eggs, egg white, vanilla, and salt until well combined.
  3. Next, stir in coconut flour, coconut, and carob chips.
  4. Roll into balls and flatten slightly*; place on parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.

*The cookies do not change their shape from pre-cooked to post-cooking so flattening them makes them more cookie like.

Thank you Delighted Mama for the inspiration! I loved these cookies. They have a coconutty chocolatey flavor, a soft texture, and are slightly addicting.

I hope you all enjoy! I am off to soak up the weekend. Hope you are too.

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The Return of Oatless Oats

Happy Friday!

So you know when you have those nights where you just want to eat and eat and eat, and it doesn’t matter how much you stuff your face you still want to keep eating? Well, I had one of those nights last night, (says the dietitian). Hey, I’m only human!

While getting dinner ready, I munched on some unsalted roasted almonds and a few raspberries. This was my appetizer.

For dinner I sautéed zucchini and green beans (both from our garden), onion (farmer’s market), mushrooms, and a small amount of black beans. I wanted to test out the black beans and see how my body reacted in relation to the U.C. because I have really been missing my beans. The bean verdict: in small amounts I can handle them just fine as long as they are very well cooked and soft.

I sprinkled the veggie sauté with garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Two minutes before the veggies were done, I got to work cooking up an over-easy egg.

Once the egg was done, I plated up my veggies, next went the egg, fresh tomatoes (from the garden too), cilantro, and Wild Harvest’s mango salsa.

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I so love veggies with a runny egg on top.

After dinner, I then made myself a big bite of PB2 with honey, followed by a couple of pieces of chocolate. I wanted more but was realizing that I didn’t need more, so I walked away. I turned Wheel of Fortune on, grabbed a couple of hand weights, and started walking in place while working the arms. This took my mind off of food and finally my body realized I didn’t need a-n-y-m-o-r-e. Reminder to myself: mindful eating.

Lunch

I jumped ahead here, so let us back-pedal it now. I am very proud of my lunch today. It was seriously awesome.

I made a Greek-inspired chicken salad which included:

  • pulled chicken breast
  • zucchini
  • grape tomatoes
  • green olives
  • feta cheese
  • balsamic basil dressing

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I loved this flavor combo so much that I made if for my lunch again today. I also had a banana, clementine, and believe it or not some cooked carrots. 😉 Cooked carrots every day keeps the doctor away? Not in my case I guess, but maybe!?

Now to breakfast.

It has been a long time since I made this one: oatless oatmeal. In the mix: 1/4 cup egg whites, 1/2 banana, somewhere between 1/4 and a 1/2 cup of almond milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Blend all ingredients together. Pour onto non-stick pan and cook over medium heat. Use spatula to stir and mix while the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. This process only takes about 3 minutes, so keep an eye on it and keep stirring.

The mixture will have a runny oatmeal like consistency when done. Pour into your bowl, top with a drizzle of honey if you wish, and a spoonful of peanut butter. This was such a nice change of pace, AND it’s SCD friendly too! It’s the return of the oatless oats. I hope to remember this one more often.

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I did make it to the gym yesterday. I headed straight there after work because I knew if I came home first, I would never make it there. I warmed up with a mile run on the treadmill then made my way to the weights to workout my back and biceps. I also did some core work.

I am off to tackle my Friday. Excited it’s almost the weekend! Have a great day my friends!

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“Fauxtmeal” Raisin Cookie Bites

August 1st? Really?! Holy cow time is flying by so fast I can hardly keep up.

Dehydrated Fruit and Veggies

So, remember how I told you I bought a food dehydrator? Well, it has been taken out of it’s box and gotten some action. My first attempt with the machine involved carrots and bananas.

For the bananas, I sliced them thinly, gave them a squirt of lemon juice to slow down the browning, and placed them on the tray.

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As for the carrots, I used the wonderfully fresh carrots from the farmer’s market and sliced them into thin coins as well. I was hoping that the purple carrots would be purple all the way through, but no such luck. Once I peeled them they were orange on the inside. Still beautiful though.

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I placed all of the coins onto the dehydrator, set the cover on it, and turned it on. This particular one doesn’t have a temperature setting, so you just have to monitor your food while it’s going to check for doneness.

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Considering carrots are made up of so much water, I expected them to shrink down quite a bit, and they did. They’re cute little bites. Next time, I will be using a different technique to cut them so that they are a little bit bigger. The texture of the carrots turned our crunchy, which is how I wanted them.

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There are two textures that can come of the banana chips, and probably any fruit or veggie that gets dehydrated: crisp or chewy. The outcome depends on how thick or thin the fruit is cut, and how long you let them dehydrate. I like my banana chips crunchy, and Dana likes his chewy, so I made sure to vary the size of slices so we could both be accommodated. Just kidding

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I don’t know for sure how long the carrots and bananas were in the dehydrator. Next time I make a batch, I’ll pay better attention so I can let you know.

Keep in mind that with any dried fruit, you want to watch your serving sizes. Dried fruit has a lot concentrated sugar, so you want to keep it to a minimum. I particularly wanted the dehydrator so that I could make snacks for us when we needed to be away from home because these hold up very well with traveling. Also, I absolutely love dried fruit, and although I try not to go too nuts on it because of the high sugar content, when I do eat it, I would much rather make my own and know what exactly is going into it; no preservatives, no added sugars or fats.

The banana chips at the store are often loaded with saturated fat because they add oil to the drying process (which is why the ones in the store are so crunchy like a chip). Be careful!

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Tuesday Evening

After work last night I headed to the gym and pounded out 35 minutes on the elliptical while reading the latest addition of Runner’s World magazine.  I contemplated hitting the weights afterwards but then shied away for some reason. Darnit! I need to get back on those weights.

Dinner last night was nearly identical to my lunch the day before, except for instead of chicken, I topped the salad with almonds. I swear it was even better this time around, if that’s possible.

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Now, onto yet another recipe. I have had a lot of recipes lately and I love it! These are no bake energy bites that I make in the food processor. I shared another recipe with you a while back for another version of these treats called Cocoa Craisy Energy Bites.

Here is my newest creation.

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“Fauxtmeal” Raisin Cookie Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 13 dates (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. In food processor, process almonds until they reach a coarse sand texture. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. In food processor, process remaining ingredients until finely ground and well combined.
  3. Add almonds in with date mixture; process until combined. Use hands to shape mixture into 1 inch balls. Store in air-tight container.

They taste like oatmeal raisin cookies hence the name. You could also roll them in coconut for an added thrill. 😉 These are perfect pick-me-up snacks. They are great if you are needing a small boost of energy and heck, they are great for a healthy dessert too!

I am signing off for the day. Enjoy your hump day and I’ll be catching up with you soon!

Random Question of the Day: What food is your biggest vice lately?

Lately, mine has been nut butter. I can’t seem to keep my hands off of it. It is getting to the point where I am putting myself on a “cool-it” time out with it. Obviously nut butter is packed full of fat and calories, so it’s important to monitor the intake. But, it also has good things too like protein, so don’t get me wrong; I am a huge promotor. Just keep your portions to 2 tablespoons or less per day.

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Chicken with Cherries & Olives

Hi again! After yesterday’s more serious post about modifying the SCD to fit my lifestyle, I thought I would make today’s post very light, including a couple of awesome recipes. But first…

Monday Recap

Breakfast: Almond bread with almond butter, honey, and banana slices. I went back for a round two slice without the bananas though.

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Run: Breakfast did a great job of fueling me for a great 3-mile run around the neighborhood. I took it nice and slow and it actually felt like  good run for once. It’s been a long time since I could say that. I am excited to start incorporating more of it into my routine again. My next race is a 5k at the end of August, and I am going to be ready!

Lunch: I salivate over these salads. Mixed greens with grilled chicken, strawberries, avocado, mandarin orange slices, feta cheese, and raspberry walnut vinaigrette (Newman’s Own). Insanely delicious. These are the salads I have been missing all summer. It’s time to make up for lost time.

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After lunch, my mom and Abbie came over and we hung out and girl-talked it up for a while outside. As always, I love my family time. 🙂

Dinner: Quinoa with kale basil pesto.

For the pesto: food process two small handfuls of fresh kale, about 2-3 tablespoons (I used 7-8 small leaves) of fresh basil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic olive oil, garlic powder, and salt until well blended. Mix the pesto in with cooked quinoa, top it with parmesan cheese, and you have yourself a winner winner quinoa dinner.

 

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Our evening was spent watching the Olympics. My favorite is still gymnastics, but I am really loving the volleyball (except it makes me so nervous), and synchronized diving. I love it all though, really. My husband’s crazy love for the Olympics is starting to rub off on me a little bit.

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The second recipe comes from Sunday night. I scanned our fridge for dinner ideas and after seeing the cherries and olives, I thought hmm…I could do something with that.

I remembered a chicken dish that Dana’s mom had made for us a while back that had dried cherries and olives, so I thought I would try to make something of that sort except use fresh cherries instead, since that is what we had on hand.

Ready to see what I came up with?

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Baked Chicken with Cherries and Olives

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup green olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup red wine (I used a red zinfandel)
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp honey

Directions

  1. Season chicken breasts with garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a large non-stick skillet; cook chicken over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the inside is no longer pink; remove from pan.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the hot pan, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let boil until liquids reduce and you are left with about 1/4 inch of sauce in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Return chicken back to pan, allow to heat through for 5 minutes, and serve warm.

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This dish paired well with quinoa and would be great with a side of steamed green beans as well. It could be made for date night, a dinner party, or even just a casual Sunday evening. Have fun with it!

Happy Tuesday!

Question of the Day: What is your favorite go-to summer lunch?

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Stuffed Poblano Pepppers

Hello there! Everyone having a great weekend? Mine has been wonderful. I have quite the Saturday recap for you, hope you’re ready.

Breakfast

I blended up a fruity smoothie packed with strawberries, banana, cherries, spinach, yogurt, and sweetener. I also ate a spoonful of almond butter to pack in extra protein.

Farmer’s Market

After breakfast we cruised on over to the big Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. Holy cow I was in fresh vegetable heaven.

It was so crazy busy but it always is. It’s always encouraging as a dietitian seeing SO many people at the Farmer’s Market getting excited about fresh produce. Let’s just hope they don’t go home and make them into fried green beans and buttered bacon mushrooms. 🙂 My brother Scott would say what’s wrong with that?!

We ended up buying: onions, cilantro, carrots, Poblano peppers, grass-fed ground beef and bison.

Whole Foods

We were getting pretty hungry after all of that commotion, so on our way home we stopped at Whole Foods for their outstanding salad bar.

We enjoyed our salads at the beautiful Centennial Lakes.

On our way home from lunch we drove by a few garage sales. We are thinking about buying a book shelf for our office and ideally would like to find a cheap one from a garage sale or Craig’s List, and fix it up if need be. No such luck at the sales yesterday, but we are keeping our eyes out.

Dinner

Back at home, I prepped for dinner. It was only about 2:30 in the afternoon at this point, but Dana and I were going to church at 5:00, so I figured I would get everything prepared beforehand, so that after church, we could just finish up the cooking process and have ourselves a delicious meal in no time.

Dinner involved the fresh farmer’s market Poblano peppers. I began by cutting off the tops, deseeding the peppers, and baking them in a 400° oven for 15 minutes.

***MAJOR TIP! Wear gloves or use a spoon to scoop out the seeds if you handle these bad boys. I learned the hard way; wasn’t even thinking about the fact that these were spicy peppers, and ended up with a right hand that burned for a good hour. You’ve been fore-warned.

Next, I sautéed 2 diced small onions with 3 minced garlic cloves. After about 4 minutes, I removed them, and added 1/2 of a pound of ground beef to the same pan (the less dishes the better!). I browned up the meat, then brought it to the sink so I could rinse and drain some of the fat off. I returned the meat and the onions to the pan, no longer on any heat.

I then added 1 fresh tomato—-from our garden. Our first normal tomato of the summer!

And 1 tablespoon chopped fresh farmer’s market cilantro, 1 tablespoon salsa, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and if I would have remembered I would have put a dash of chili powder in there, but I forgot. I mixed everything together to make the “stuffing” for the peppers.

I stuffed all of the peppers using a spoon, wrapped them individually in tin foil, and placed them in the fridge for later. 

Next, I made a small batch of guacamole using 1 ripe avocado, 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, lemon juice because I didn’t have lime, a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. I gave this all a mix, covered it and put it in the fridge.

When we got home from church, and after running a couple of errands, we got the grill fired up. The peppers did their thing on the grill  for about 20 minutes over medium-high heat.

Transfer to your plate, remove the foil, top with guacamole and some salsa if you like, and there you have it. Deliciously healthy stuffed Poblano peppers.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Ingredients

  • 5 Poblano peppers, top cut off, deseeded
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp salsa
  • 1/4 cup cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place prepared peppers onto baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. In medium pan, saute onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes; remove from pan, return pan to heat.
  4. In same pan, brown the ground beef; rinse and drain in sink, return to pan and take off heat.
  5. Add remaining ingredients including the onion and garlic, to the pan to make the stuffing.
  6. Once peppers are done, use spoon to fill peppers with stuffing.
  7. Wrap peppers individually in aluminum foil.
  8. Place on heated grill and grill for 20 minutes.**
  9. Top with guacamole, salsa, or enjoy as they are!

**These would also work in the oven, although I am unsure of the temperature and cooking time so you may have to experiment!

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Dinner Date with My Girls

This is going to be a short but very sweet post. Last night I met up with two of my great girlie friends, Kate and Heidi (also two of my bridesmaids) for dinner at Emma Krumbees in Belle Plaine.

Emma Krumbees is an old bakery and restaurant that offers everything from burgers, to salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, and has an extensive breakfast menu too.

I decided on the Citrus Chicken Salad and I ordered the half portion because whole salads at restaurants tend to be absolutely ridiculous. In the salad was iceberg lettuce, red onion, avocado, tomato, grilled chicken, and a lemon citrus vinaigrette on the side. It was a very simple salad, and it was pretty tasty. The amount of food was perfect.

After dinner we walked on over to the gift shop and chit chatted along the way. Emma Krumbees also has an apple orchard and in the fall you can come and pick your own apples. I did that a long time ago with my mom and dad, and would love to do it again this fall!

After a couple of hours we were forced to say our good-bye’s and go our separate ways. It has been so bittersweet getting together with Kate lately because she is moving away to Georgia in less than a week. I am attempting to soak up every last bit of her before she leaves. I definitely will be making plans to go visit her out there.

As always, it was so good to be with my girls, and although Kate will be in Georgia soon, we are still going to Skype, and have a glass of wine together that way, and before we know it I will be heading out there to visit, or she will be coming home to visit.

I stopped by my mom and dad’s on the way home and hung out with them for about an hour before heading “home, home”. Mom and dad’s is my second home, and my house is my first home. I love the comfort of each place.

The rest of the night was spent hanging out with my men.

Today has been an absolutely AMAZING Saturday. I have lots to share with you tomorrow, but it’s going to have to wait. I hope you are all having a great day as well. 🙂

Continue Reading Dinner Date with My Girls

Refreshing Watermelon and Avocado Salad

I am feeling pretty tired this morning. I’ve got the coffee in hand and I’m waiting for it to kick in. I slept very well last night but just not quite long enough. I slept for about 7 hours but I function best at 8-10. I slept pretty hard, so I think I just need time to wake up still. I always wish I was one of those people who needed hardly any sleep to get by; I would be or could be,  so much more productive. At least it’s not Monday!

Tuesday

For breakfast I made a smoothie to go and it was killer:

  • Cherries
  • Banana
  • Strawberries
  • Yogurt
  • Splash of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
  • A touch of sweetener to take away some of the tartness

I threw a straw in the cup, and guzzled this smoothie on the way to work. I worked until 1:00 pm yesterday so I made sure to pack a snack to tide me over until lunch. Not pictured is two slices of Muenster cheese. They were nummy!

When I got home I was excited to dig into this beautiful looking salad.

I made this salad the night before and let it hang together over night.

Refreshing Watermelon Avocado Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of an english cucumber, peeled and diced
  • ~1 1/2 cups watermelon, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
  • a touch of salt

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together carefully so as not to mash the avocado. Serve cold right away, or let chill in the fridge over night. Either way you will enjoy this refreshing and super easy salad!

I really enjoyed this salad. It was so light and refreshing, yet it has healthy fats from the avocado to give it a little more substance. You could even add in some feta cheese if you were looking to get a little calcium in there too. You could really balance off the meal by eating this salad with a lean protein like grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

Since I didn’t pair my salad with a protein like that, I finished my meal off with a couple bites of peanut butter for my protein fix. Then I hit the gym for a nice and sweet little jog on the elliptical.

Later in the afternoon, Dana and I got busy rearranging some furniture in our office and guest bedroom. I was in dire need of a better work space for my computer. Before I had it in the kitchen on a little bar that over looks our backyard, but in order for me to type I had to hunch my back and curve my wrists at an angle that just screams problems in the future. Besides that, it was right in the kitchen so the temptations were endless and I found myself sneaking for snacks often, and the other distraction was the television which was right to my right in the living room. When I am trying to concentrate I really need a quiet space. In college, I would often have to turn my fan on in my room and even use ear plugs when I needed to study. I have never been a good test taker and I think it’s because I get so distracted by noises; people clicking their pens, snapping their gum, tapping their foot, etc.

That was a slight tangent. We moved my computer into our back office where Dana has his office space as well. I already have my desk in there but I have been using it solely as a place to get ready in the morning (makeup, hair). I converted it to a desk as well with a space for my computer now. It is working out really well so far, and actually it will probably help me to not be on my computer as much too because it isn’t out right where Dana and I usually hang out at night. A break from technology is always a good thing, and I sometimes forget that.

Moving on to dinner. We made a super simple meal last night of pre-made turkey burgers on the grill, and grilled zucchini. I rolled the zucchini in garlic olive oil, and sprinkled it with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Dana manned the grill, and we were eating in about 15 minutes.

Alright, I have got to head out for the day. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday. I will catch up with you soon.

Question of the Day: What’s your most productive study environment? 

I clearly like nice and quiet, but I know Dana prefers background noise. When he was in college he would almost always study and do homework with the TV on.

Continue Reading Refreshing Watermelon and Avocado Salad