Vegetarian Wednesday!


In my continued effort to workout more regularly and eat more cleanly, we had a vegetarian meal tonight. After I did a quick run and the gym and Bub exercised at home, we had a dinner of portobello mushrooms, sweet potato fries and broccoli.

This is the recipe I used for the mushrooms. EXCEPT I didn’t put them on a bun or accent them with lettuce and tomato. I did sprinkle them with balsamic and top with blue cheese and the sauce (recipe at the bottom of the above link). EXCEPT I added about a tablespoon of honey to the sauce and used dried parsley instead of fresh (about 1 tsp).

I used this recipe for the sweet potato fries, and it was AH.MAH.ZING. So good I wish I’d made more than just one potato’s worth of them…even though I did split the leftovers between two lunches.

The broccoli was just steamed and topped with olive oil and sea salt. I did it in my 50-year-old, mustard yellow, Tupperware microwaveable steamer…which almost met its death tonight because I accidentally set it on a hot stove eye. Luckily, I caught it in time and it wasn’t ruined, just scarred. (Mom, you know the severity of this…haha.) If you don’t have one of these, get one…you NEED it!

20130123-194225.jpg This is what mine looks like…it’s the best ever!

I was still a little hungry after dinner so I had some whole wheat toast with almond butter on it (and a little peanut butter because my almond stuff wouldn’t spread very well).

Overall, a great dinner to top off a great day that included lunch with my old friend Dwight at Gourmet Market where I had a “Fake Steak” sandwich (made with portobellos). ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that I’ve regained you with my meal plan today…I’m off and looking forward to a rest day tomorrow (finally) as I’ve been in the gym or in a class everyday since LAST Sunday (10 days i a row with six days in a row before that I think)…go me! Adios!

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Dinner Menu Follow Up: Chicken Parm


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Tonight we had chicken Parmesan…and it was good. Made better because Sous Chef Bub helped by getting everything on the stove and into the oven so we could eat at a reasonable hour since my barre class didn’t end until 6:45.

I recommend making your own marinara (see blog post from Sunday) for this. It had a great flavor and was so easy to make…and that was even better.

My dinner (pictured) was served with a cucumber “salad” (read: chopped cucumber) with maple balsamic and honey mustard dressing, and whole wheat spaghetti noodles topped with butter (just a little) and Parmesan cheese. Bub had his sans cucumbers (he hates them).

The chicken parm was good, and light, and tasted wonderful after my very hot and hard barre class. Woo hoo. Also, two days in…two days in the gym. In my 28 day challenge to work out at least six times a week for four weeks I’m 9 days in with 8 days in the gym or studio (one Sunday rest day). Go team!

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Dinner Menu Follow Up: Turkey Stuffed Peppers


20130114-193410.jpg This is how my turkey stuffed peppers turned out! I even ate most of half of mine! ๐Ÿ™‚ I served this up with a big green leaf and spinach salad topped with almonds and a sprinkle of Mexican cheese. We used Ken’s Light Honey Mustard dressing (and I threw on a little drizzle of Maple Balsamic for flare). We sliced an apple for dessert!

We also both worked out today! Go us!

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#28toGreat and Clean Cooking


In this new year, I didn’t make any resolutions per se…I am just trying to do some things that have always alluded me and some things to better my overall well being.

Bub got me Rosetta Stone for Christmas (as you read in a previous post) and I’d like to get through that…I’ve started a 28 day fitness challenge with Barre3, though I’ve had to adapt it a bit to fit my “free time” and have it better align with previous commitments. As part of that challenge, I’m also trying to eat clean(er) by cooking with fresh(er) products and less processed foods.

28 to Great is a challenge to take 6 barre classes a week for four weeks (either online or in studio). It started Monday, so I took class Monday, Thursday and Saturday and did an online class Wednesday morning. I didn’t quite hit my six classes in the first week, but, as I said, I’m adapting it to fit my schedule. I also work with a personal trainer once a week, so I’m kind of counting that. Either way, I was in the gym (or studio) six times this week with six times schedule for next week.

Part of the 28toGreat challenge is also to work on your eating habits. They provide meal plan suggestions and workout schedule suggestions…it’s a pretty good motivator. Last week, our meals didn’t turn out wonderfully…we had some great sides, but some not so great main courses. I think this is because I followed the recipes too literally and didn’t venture off any way I normally would.

This week, we are trying again. Here’s what my kitchen looks like on Sunday Prep Day.

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Yes..I use EVERY utensil I can get my hands on on Sunday Prep Day!

Here is a photo of all that is simmering on the stove for our menu this week. Is your mouth watering? Are you dying to know? if you could smell what I am smelling, you would be!

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In the photo above, on the left we have the ground turkey mix for stuffed peppers in the back and mixed basmati rice in the front.ย  On the right rear we have a marinara sauce and in the front, the harvest lentil soup. Recipes below (except for the rice…it’s just basmati rice and I followed the instructions on the back).

Tonight (Sunday), we are having Harvest Lentil Soup (it’s a recipe from the 28toGreat barre3 meal suggestion). We are pairing this with two tiny loafs of Kroger’s bakery-made french bread.

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Tomorrow, I’ll have this Get-Up-And-Go Smoothie for breakfast (also from the 28toGreat baree3 meal suggestions)…flaxseed, prunes and all. I made it yesterday and have two servings chilling in the fridge for this week.

We’ll have Turkey Stuffed Peppers from Skinnytaste.com and salad for lunch on Monday.

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I do not like peppers, really of any kind, but I really.REALLY like the idea of stuffed peppers. So we are trying them out…I figure that Bub will love them, and I can at least scoop the tasty stuff out of the middle. Right? Maybe I’ll even develop a liking for them. One can hope.

Tuesday, we are having Baked Chicken Parmesan with whole wheat spaghetti (also from Skinnytaste.com) and salad.

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For this chicken Parmesan, I made my own simple marinara sauce and cut and breaded the chicken, so all we’ll have to do is top it with sauce and cheese and bake it.

Wednesday, we’re having salmon in creamy dill sauce with rice and peas, and carrots.

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The carrots will be cooked in the oven at 400 degrees about 20 minutes (drizzled with olive oil and a little salt and pepper). While that’s happening, I’ll be mixing olive oil (approx. 2 Tbs), honey (approx. 3 Tbs) and balsamic vinegar (approx. 1 tsp). I’ll pull the carrots out, drizzle them with this mix, stir them around a bit, and pop them back in the oven for about five more minutes.

I’ll eat leftovers for lunch all week and probably smoothies for breakfast. Or…some of the delicious mango-cherry-maple granola my husband made today on top of a little yogurt. I know I’ll be drinking fruit infused water (got this great sample product from work that has a chamber I can stuff with any fruit/veggie combo…cantaloupe/cucumber, lemon/blackberries, peach, etc.) and probably having some YoNanas* for dessert.

*YoNanas is a food processor that takes frozen fruit (with a banana base) and basically turns it into frozen yogurt. It’s AH.MAH.ZING. If you don’t have one, you should get it…only $50 at Bed, Bath and Beyond, FYI.

The Sunday prep day is exhausting, as I’ve said before, but it is WONDERFUL to come home from a workout and already basically have the hard stuff done. The way I have it set up now is that Bub can do the remainder of the meal for me if I’m running late…boiling the noodles, turning on the crock pot at lunch, topping the chicken with sauce and cheese, etc. It’s makes for great tag-team efforts where dinner is concerned. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, because I don’t usually train until about 5:30p and my barre classes don’t start until 5:45p, this means we can still have a nice dinner without eating too late.

Last week’s clean eating, even though the meals were a bit of a flop, worked out pretty well. I saw some weight gain throughout the week (muscle I’m hoping), and, even with the cake from my cousin Russell’s wedding last night and our Indian food date night on Friday (at Bombay Palace in Turkey Creek–you have to try it), I was down this morning. So that’s a bonus! Bub says he’s feeling better, too!

Here’s hoping I can keep focused this week. Good luck to you with all your resolutions.

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Happy New Year!


Happy New Year to all!

After celebrating the wedding of Jackie and Ryan until about 10pm, we headed home to celebrate with Toby (read take the awful cone of shame off her head) and Winston. We snuggled up and watched some show about car restoration and then the end of Ryan Seacrest’s NYE Rocking Eve. We had champagne at midnight which we drank out of our wedding champagne flutes.

We headed to bed around 12:30. Haha. Wild night, I know!

On this rainy morning, I’m still in my pajamas but making a delicious breakfast pizza for us to enjoy.

The recipe is here. I deviated a bit by using real eggs (4 eggs is the equivalent of 8 ounces of egg substitute). I also added gravy…I took the grease from the sausage, sifted in a little flour and added milk, salt and pepper. It was a very light gravy, but I thought it would add a little better flavor.

20130101-103413.jpg To finish off the champagne from last night we mixed it with grapefruit juice for a different kind of mimosa. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not much planned for the day but waiting for puppy to go number #2. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy New Year! Or Felize Nuevo Aรฑo!

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Good Food, New Furniture and a Pitiful Puppy


We had an amazing Christmas…it started last Sunday at my mom’s house. We went there around noon, played games, ate an amazing meal and opened some wonderful presents. We even got an impromptu concert from our little friend Kendal!

ImageMonday we drove to Kingsport to do Christmas with Bub’s extended family and his parents. Tuesday we had a big breakfast and then headed back to Knoxville. We opened presents together at our house then packed up to head to my aunt and uncle’s for my extended family Christmas.

ImageGreat photo, huh?

Here’s another one, even though I know my mom hates it…

20121230-223450.jpgWe went back to work on Wednesday. Thursday I went to Clinton for a girls night with my two besties and baby Adah. Friday we took our pitiful puppy to the clinic for surgery. She was terrified and it was awful dropping her off, but we were glad to have gotten her in so soon. When we called UT, they weren’t going to be able to get her in until January 28th and we just couldn’t stand to have her limping around any longer. After her xrays two weeks ago, we found out that she’d torn her CCL (dog equivalent of the ACL) and we are pretty sure she did that back in November.

We had to leave her at the clinic over night and they said she hated it. We picked her up Saturday morning and brought her home. I had to go to work, but Tanner was home with her all day.

Today was as normal a day as we’ve had for a while except that we spent most of the morning waiting for our dog to pee or poop. I was so distraught at one point, I wanted to cry. I can’t blame her for not wanting to go because she’s supposed to wear the cone of shame and be walked on a leash and in a sling (a belt that goes around her waist so we can lift her up a little bit while she walks around so she won’t put any weight on her back leg). So any time she goes out, we’re right with her. Usually we just put her out and let her do her business on her own time, but now we have to stand right over her and hold her leg off the ground a bit. Also, she has to go in the front yard…I’d get stage fright too! I felt so sorry for her, we took off the cone and let her go out that way (still with the sling). She FINALLY went (TWICE today). Unfortunately, the cone will have to go back on tonight and tomorrow while we’re at work so she won’t lick her wounds. I wish there was a better way! It seems so awful!

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Once we were able to stop worrying about the bathroom habits of our dog, we set about a pretty normal day. I decided it was time to put together the liquor cabinet Bub got from his parents and get it situated. It was a much larger project than I expected, but I got it finished and Bub was excited to start filling it up. I was excited about how much wine it holds (you can’t see it well in the picture below, but it’s quite a bit), that the wood of it matches the legs of my new chairs, AND that it cleared up some storage space in a couple cabinets and the pantry. (You can see a corner of my chair in the side of the photo.)

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After that was finished, I cooked dinner. I made Double Crunch Pan-Fried Honey Garlic Chicken, steamed broccoli with olive oil and kosher salt, and brown rice (in the rice cooker) with shallots. It made enough for two dinners and three lunches (all from just two trimmed chicken breasts–it’s amazing what you can do when you pound them flat)!

I deviated from the recipe a bit…I didn’t use as much ginger (probably only one and a half tablespoons), cayenne pepper (one tablespoon), and black pepper (two tablespoons). For the egg wash, I only used two eggs because I mixed in three tablespoons of plain non-fat yogurt and about three tablespoons of water. For the sauce, I used minced garlic (three teaspoons) and only about a half cup of honey. Also, I fried in vegetable oil (because it’s what we had).

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It turned out really well (even though the photograph looks like steak to me). A little sweet for Bub because of the sauce. For his leftovers, he’ll probably use BBQ sauce.

Now that dinner is over, Bub is watching football, Toby is sleeping and I am blogging (and soon to be practicing Spanish). Bub got me Rosetta Stone for Christmas and I’m working my way through it. So far, I have learned…

El perro y el gato duermando. Mi y Bub, nosotros somos esposas. My eposo no manejando. Cocino en la cocina.
(The dog and cat are sleeping. Me and Bub, we are spouses. My spouse isn’t driving. I cook in the kitchen.)

I better get back to practice because I’m not sure what I’ve learned up to now will get us very far. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you all had a Feliz Navidad! Adios!

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Hot Chocolate with Fortified Spirits (for a fortified spirit)


It’s a cold night and we are home with our pitiful dog who is in need of knee surgery. We’ve got no plans for the night and after a particularly tough couple weeks filled with loss and grief, our spirits could use some fortifying with some fortified spirits.

fortified: past participle, past tense of forยทtiยทfy (Verb). Strengthen or invigorate (someone) mentally or physically.

After searching the interwebs for a recipe, I found the following:

Adult Hot Chocolate with Nutella and Fortified Spirits (from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite)

Ingredients:
1/3 cup Nutella
1-1/3 cups milk, divided use
2 jiggers spirits (i.e. Maker’s Mark, Jamesons, Baileys, Frangelico Kahlua)
Garnish: Whipped cream and cocoa powder (optional)

Directions:
1) Place Nutella and 1/3 cup milk in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until blended.
2) Add reserved 1 cup milk, increase heat to medium-high, and whisk until hot and frothy. Pour into two 8-oz. coffee mugs. Pour 1 jigger (shot glass) of desired spirit into each glass and stir well. Top with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with cocoa powder. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings.

I didn’t top with whipped or heavy cream or cocoa powder, but it is tasty nonetheless. Just what we needed! Merry early Christmas!

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