Tie Up Loose Ends

We made it through Tuesday!

After work today Dana ran some errands including a trip to Mall of America to try to find a backing to my iPhone. Apparently I am kind of picky about my phone accessories because I didn’t find one cover I liked in all of the M.O.A.! The trip was not a total flop though because we decided to get some frozen yogurt at Freeziac ¬†which is self-serve frozen yogurt shop. We don’t have many of these in Minnesota, at least around where I live, so this is a big deal for us and a very special treat.

Yellow cake batter frozen yogurt with cookie dough, brownie, heath bar, chocolate chips, M & Ms (for color of course), a little bit of hot fudge, one pink gummy bear, and a cherry on top to seal the deal. This was heaven in a cup. This will be in my heaven except all the calories will have been removed so I can eat twice as much and not have to buy new pants. Good thing Dana and I were walking around the mall while eating this so we were actually burning calories while eating. Ha ha I know I’m funny. ūüôā

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Dinner was one of my favorite salads: The Southwest Salad¬†<——–Check out the recipe!

That is one good-looking salad if you ask me! I covered the fruit and veggie food group, protein food group, dairy food group, and even have some healthy fats in there with the avocado in this meal. I believe I’m just missing my whole grains. I had plenty of those earlier today though. I dare you to check this recipe out and try it at home. It’s a crowd pleaser.

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Remember a little while back when I mentioned I bought a new face moisturizer? Well it’s review time. Product:¬†Aveeno Active Naturals Smart Essentials.

To those who may have missed it, I was looking for a moisturizer to help hydrate my extremely dry face, especially in my t-zone area. I have been using this stuff for a week and a half and I really feel it is making a difference. I am using it every night after I clean my face and in the morning I use just a little bit on my t-zone along with my daily moisturizer (Neutrogena Daily Moisturizer SPF 15). I no longer have dry skin and I feel like my skin looks more radiant. I would recommend it to anyone experiencing dry winter skin.

That was loose end #1 I wanted to tie up. Loose end #2 is my Home-made Tomato Soup Recipe! This was my first time ever making home-made tomato soup, and I was a little skeptical as to how it would turn out. It actually turned out really well. I even added a secret ingredient which helps create a creamy consistency (it’s pumpkin puree) without adding any dairy products. Not a secret anymore is it?

 

Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic
  • 1-32 ounce container low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. In large soup pot coated with cooking spray, saute onion until translucent; add garlic and continue sauteing for 30 more seconds.
  2. Add broth, pumpkin, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and dried basil; stir.
  3. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in basil.
  5. Use immersion blender to puree soup to smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crackers, shredded cheese, grilled cheese, fresh basil, tortilla chips or eat plain. I hope you like it as much as I did.

I am realizing that this post was all over the place. I guess that’s just how my mind works!

I am off to continue learning about my new phone while sipping on a mug o’ tea. Good night my friends!

Continue Reading Tie Up Loose Ends

A Colorful Lunch

How is everyone’s Saturday?

I ended up running 3 miles on the treadmill this morning. I think I have the winter running blues. I am so bored of running inside. After my run I did 5 sets up 10 knee pushups and some ab work.

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Lunch was very colorful! I started off munching on these while I decided what I wanted for lunch.

Then through this little guy together. In the mix was mini bell peppers, tomato, green olives, and Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedge. I topped it with some honey mustard dressing and called it a lunch.

Off to run errands. I packed an apple just in case I needed a snack while we were out (which I ended up eating). We ran to Target to get some Super bowl food for tomorrow, Costco where I had an AMAZING chocolate cake sample, and the Mall to stop at Bath and Body Works and get their 5 for $15 antibacterial hand soap. One is missing because is out in the kitchen already!

For dinner I have some tilapia marinating in a honey, soy sauce, garlic powder, and ginger mixture. Time to cook it up so we can hit the road to my aunt and uncles!

Oh and real quick. I FINALLY finished the Help. I loved it and highly recommend it. I can’t wait to see the movie now! I refused to see it until I had finished reading the book.

K, I need to go now. Sorry for the condensed version of my day today!

Good night!

Continue Reading A Colorful Lunch

This is My Confession

G’ Morning! It was so nice to sleep in this morning and not have to be woken up by an alarm clock! I’m up, had some breakfast and a cup of coffee, and now gearing up for a little run. To be perfectly honest though I don’t have much drive to go run right now. I’m going to do it, I just don’t wannaaaa.

Breakfast: Banana and Peanut butter with cinnamon and my morning mo jo lovingly placed on a perfectly pink valentine tableclotch.

I’m on my second cup of coffee now. I decided I want to enjoy my Saturday morning leisurely before I tackle the day.

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Last night, I was dead on in¬†saying I ruined my appetite with all of those almonds.¬†We got home at about 7 pm after running our errands and I wasn’t very hungry yet. Eventually I came around though and put together a summery salad (in the dead of winter).

Mixed greens topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and feta cheese. In the mini food processor I made a homemade viniagrette by adding 5 frozen (thawed) strawberries and 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. I whirled it together and made a refreshing salad topper. This is one of my absolute favorite salads in the summer and it was nice to be reminded of the sunny season through this dish.

For dessert an hour later I ate a single serving box of Fruit Loops, only 100 calories but 12 g of sugar! Yikes! They are made with whole grain now so at least they have something good (and 3 g of fiber). Anyway, I also had a nice little glass of Tazo Chai tea with a splash of creamer.

We actually did not end up playing games last night. Dana was a little too ¬†intimidated I think. Kidding. We decided to start talking about our plans for an upcoming vacation we have planned at the end of February to……beautiful Southern California! We are going to be visiting three of our friends that live out there and I am ecstatic. More to come on this later. ūüôā

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Peanut butter confession time.

Okay, so you all know that I have a slight obsession¬†love for peanut butter. Well, about 4 years ago, a great friend of mine from college, who also happens to love pb as much as I do, told me about this product she found called PB2. She said she found it online, and that it is a powdered peanut butter. They remove most of the fat so that there’s only 1.5 grams of fat and 45 calories per 2 Tablespoon.

Initial thoughts were gross, powdered peanut butter? That can’t be good. Only 45 calories though and 1.5 grams of fat? I don’t know. Completely skeptical.¬†We decided to give it a go together.

We followed the directions and mixed 2 Tablespoons of the powdered PB to 1 Tablespoon of water, and we tasted. Initial thoughts were that it was way different than full fat delicious peanut butter. The texture was lighter, not as sticky, and it had a more subtle flavor. But hmmm….I kind of like. It grew on me.

The only ingredients are roasted peanuts, sugar and salt (1 grams of sugar and 94 mg of sodium per 2 Tablespoons which is not bad). It has 5 grams of protein per serving and regular peanut butter has 7 grams, so a little bit less, but still, it’s good.

I’m not saying I don’t eat regular peanut butter anymore because I do. I switch it up though. Pb2 is a little spendy, almost $5 per jar, but it’s kind of like a treat to me. When I feel like my peanut butter intake is getting a little out of hand, I order some of this stuff and it helps slow me down a bit. I can’t just open up the top and dig in. If I want it I actually have to make it. We do always have the natural peanut butter around the house as well because I’m not going to give that stuff up but I do really enjoy the taste of PB2 as well.

I really like the PB2 because I can add spices to it such as cinnamon, and make a cinnamon peanut butter which is delicious on bananas. Also, you can change the consistency of the pb by adding more or less water to your liking.

PB2 is not in many grocery stores in my area, so I end up ordering it online. You can check it out for yourself at http://www.bellplantation.com/. They have recipes on their website too which are fun.

And that’s my confession. Don’t judge.

Off to run!

Continue Reading This is My Confession

Got my veggies

Lunch was VEGGIE PACKED! I said I would work on it today and I did just that. I made a salad with mixed greens, leftover cowboy caviar from Friday night, shredded cheese, and a side of broccoli with honey mustard. It was amazing but left me with some real onion-y breath. I’ve had a lot of that going on lately! I also snacked on some Wheat Thins.

I did my chores including organizing the coupon book. Check it out:

Cute, huh? Yes, I absolutely love being and feeling organized.

After getting stuff done around the house,¬†I did end up heading over to mom and dad’s for a little while this afternoon. It was so nice to hang out with mom, dad, and their dog Abbie (below). Abbie was helping mom cut coupons today.

It was what Sundays should be….relaxing. We watched a DVR’d episode of Ellen with Kellie Pickler. She is absolutely the cutest thing ever.¬†I snacked on some Angie’s Kettle Korn lite.

On the way home I stopped at my favorite store, Target, to purchase an intense facial moisturizer. Minnesota winters can be pretty rough on the skin. I moisturize my face every morning after I cleanse it and also at night before bed, but it is still so dry on my chin and my t-zone. So, I hit the intimidating aisle of face creams/moisturizers/wrinkle reducers, etc. and searched for something that looked like it could handle this situation. I decided on Aveeno Smart Essentials nighttime moisture infusion with vitamins A, C, and E. I am going to start using it tonight so I will let you know what I think.

I snacked on some almonds and Craisins this afternoon as I tried to fix some computer problems. My computer is not recognizing my USB when I try to upload photos from my camera, so I had to upload my photos onto Dana’s computer and then email them to mine in order to post them. Yikes, I need to figure this out because that will get old REAL fast.

Dinner consisted of a lot of the same ingredients as lunch. I didn’t want the cowboy caviar to go to waste, but I also didn’t want terrible onion breath the rest of the night, so I decided I would saute the mix to mellow out the onion. After I saut√©ed the veggies for about 5 minutes, I made a well in the middle and cracked an egg in the middle. I cooked it over-easy topped with some cracked black pepper, Mexican Style reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and a dollop of salsa (salsa added after photoshoot). I love when the yolk covers over the veggies and adds a creaminess to the dish. Wow, this was good and guess what? No onion breath. Double win!

I made up for my lack of vegetables yesterday!

The rest of the night will consist of relaxing, getting ready for the week ahead, and hangin’ with my guys. It was a great weekend except it went way too fast as always!

Continue Reading Got my veggies

Southwest Salad Recipe

Today’s lunch was¬†canned soup. A little high in sodium, BUT it was really tasty. I don’t do it often so I don’t feel too bad about it. With the soup I had some Kettle Brand Baked Salt and Pepper Chips, a golden delicious apple, and some carrots.

It warmed me up on this gloomy day and then I headed back to work for a few more hours.

After work I snacked on some roasted almonds and Craisins as I headed to the gym. I climbed through 35 minutes on the elliptical, catching up on Today’s Dietitian Magazine and Runner’s World Magazine. I finished the workout off with pushups and some ab-work. I can honestly say I have a hard time with strength training. I know the importance of it and the great benefits, and every now and then I will be super motivated to incorporate it into my week of workouts, and then the next week I am done with it. I would REALLY like to amp it up! You are all my witnesses. Pump, pump it up!

After the gym I came home and snacked on some more of those darn chips while I pondered what to have for dinner. I had decided to make a salad and as I started putting it together I realized the lettuce had gone bad. Yuck, so I had to get creative. I chopped up some tomato, broccoli, carrots, and added in green peas and pinto beans. I topped it with my favorite honey mustard dressing and reduced fat cheddar cheese.  Kind of random, yes. Delicious? YES! For dessert I had a handful of dates.

I cleaned up the kitchen, and now I’m snugglin on the couch with Dana and watching his favorite show (kidding), The Bachelor.

How about I leave you with a recipe for one of my favorite salads? Give it a shot! Enjoy!

Southwest Salad for Two

This is one of our “go-to’ salads. It’s easy, delicious and satisfying. We usually it meatless, but feel free to top the salad with grilled chicken.

Ingredients

  • Mixed greens
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • low-fat or fat-free ranch dressing

Directions

Pile mixed greens on two plates and top with remaining ingredients. Drizzle with dressing.

Continue Reading Southwest Salad Recipe

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

Try something new… how about tofu?

Good evening everyone! How is everyone’s Tuesday going? It’s not Monday, so we have that going for us right?!

Before work this morning I made myself a breakfast which I have never had before. The recipe is from a blog called Carrots n’ Cake and you can see the recipe here¬†on her blog.

It is called “Oatmeal” minus the oats and is made with egg whites, almond milk, flaxseed, banana, cinnamon and vanilla extract. I excluded the walnuts from my version and added sunflower seeds and a little bit of natural peanut butter once it was done cooking. The directions say to stir on stove top for about 3 minutes or until desired consistency is reached (oatmeal texture) but I think I took it off a little too soon. It had more of a cream of wheat texture, which I liked! Next time I will let it cook longer though. I loved this breakfast option. It was a nice change and it held me over for a really long time. ¬†Or was it the piece of chocolate cake (unpictured darnit) I had at work that helped tide me over? I didn’t take a picture of breakfast (I need to work on getting better at this) but I will be making it again in the future so I’ll try and remember to snap a photo. Thanks Tina for the great recipe!

Lunch today was a random one because I worked until 1:00 and wanted to get my workout in right away and didn’t want to run on a full stomach. So, on the way to the gym I noshed on some veggie sticks, an apple, (still had the cake sitting in my belly at this point), and hit the treadmill. ¬†I got four sweaty ¬†miles in at the gym while people watching, watching Sex in the City and listening to my jams.

Once I got home I was kind of hungry, but more so knew I needed to eat something. I sampled pretty much everything in the cupboard: craisins, dates, crackers, then headed to the fridge and finished off with a clementine. Here’s my lunch I packed but only halfway got around to eating: (whole grain tortilla with peanut butter, string cheese, carrots, apple, and a clementine).

Dinner was something new as well tonight (I must be feeling adventurous today). These may sound gross to some, but I wanted to try Tofu Shirataki Noodles by House Foods. They are in the shape of spaghetti and are made¬†from blending the root of the Konnyaku – a member of the yam family and tofu, according to their website. I found them at Byerly’s.

I marinated the noodles in a homemade peanut sauce (peanut butter, hot water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, black pepper, and garlic powder) and then served them on top a bed of mixed greens with diced carrots, grilled chicken breast and fresh cilantro. Verdict? Not bad but they didn’t knock my socks off. Would I try them again? Sure. I might try a creamy buffalo sauce next time though. I finished dinner with a chocolate calcium plus Vit. D supplement. 99% sure I’ll be having a little snacky tonight.

Quick recap from last night

Butt indentation in the couch from watching four hours of television with Dana. I had to watch Wheel of Fortune of course, then The Bachelor (another guilty pleasure), then The Next Great Baker on TLC (go Nadine!). Nadine is in the top four and she is a cousin of one of our friends!

I couldn’t believe we literally sat on our hineys that long watching the tube. Holy cow. I just remember back to wedding planning days when we could hardly catch a breath much less watch four hours of TV. Anyway, it doesn’t happen often, we’re really not bums all the time.

For dinner last night I made myself a veggie loaded salad with mixed greens, mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, carrots, black beans, cheese, and lite honey mustard dressing. I try and get my 5-9 veggies and fruits in everyday and find it a lot easier when I incorporate a salad into my day.

Now, I should probably go help the hub with dishes, or stand there and try and look pretty. One of the two. Have a great night!

P.S. I’m finally reading the book, ‘The Help,’ and am loving it so far! I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. I would recommend it.

Continue Reading Try something new… how about tofu?