Friday, May 29, 2009

Lucky girl

I have spent the past few days being completely overwhelmed with gratitude. How incredibly fortunate to live in such a beautiful place and to be surrounded by such amazing people. Everyone has been so incredibly supportive and complementary of this humble little blog and all I can say is THANK YOU! The sun is shining, the grass is green, there is so much love in my life right now, and I am a lucky girl. The fact that it's Friday doesn't hurt, either :)

Lunch today was a little black bean, cheese, and whole wheat tortilla quesadilla. I have to admit that we didn't polish off the mango salsa from last week so I dumped that on top of the melty goodness along with half of a smushed avocado. There was a brief moment when it occured to me that it was a little gross to be eating almost week old salsa, and then I figured it's newer than whatever was in the jar lurking in the back of my freezer. It still tasted good so I went for it. Apparently it is time for another trip to the grocery store.

Dinner last night was a repeat of the mushroom chicken and green beans from last week, sans egg noodles.



Of course P added more cheese (fresh pecorino). This recipe is so tasty and really quick and easy. I didn't add any onion and stuck more closely to the recipe this time, although I rarely measure anything exactly and added a lot of fresh basil.

This morning started with a 6:15 workout so tomorrow is my DOR.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend! :D

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And the verdict is...

The bbq chicken last night was definitely a success! The sauce really thickened up and had an almost molasses flavor and the chicken was really tender. It ended up making way more food than I thought- enough for 6 or 7 sandwhiches which sort of surprised me. Maybe I'll only do 2 chicken breasts next time, although I'm sure the leftovers will be eaten! I didn't add any extra spice to the sweet potato fries since the chicken was spicy and just stuck to s&p and some cumin. I made my sandwhich open face and P added the top of the bun along with some fresh parmesean cheese.



Tonight I'm going to try the mushroom chicken from last week but skip the noodles. I felt like they didn't add much to the dish. I have a sweet onion to use instead of scallions (I'll probably juch chop up half) and some white cooking wine to add along with tons of fresh mushrooms. The cheesy asparagus was so good earlier this week I'm excited to recreate that dish along with fresh green beans tonight. I'll remember to take pics this evening so I can post them tomorrow :)

I can't believe our trip to Chicago is less than a week away! We made reservations for Le Colonial on Wednesday night and I'm stoked that we can walk right there from our hotel. I'm also really excited for dinner at Blackbird on Thursday. We saw the chef on Anthony Bourdain and Top Chef and I can't wait to try the food! I was also thinking this morning how excited I am to eat Chiptole :) It is probably good that we don't have on here since I would eat there every day! P also wants to get sushi at some point, although I'm not much of a fish eater, so hopefully we can sneak that in for lunch on Friday or Saturday. I wonder if there's anywhere that's tasty and conveiently located to downtown that isn't crazy expensive...

It's such a gorgeous day here- hope everyone is having a fabulous week! :D

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What a gorgeous day! I am looking forward to going to the gym this evening and eating the (hopefully!) yummy dinner I put in the crock pot this morning. It may not have been the brightest idea to use the crock pot on a day when it's 85, but it sure smells good! I've been slacking a little this week with my morning workouts, probably because I feel like I'm still trying to catch up on sleep after the busy weekend! I did time time to make it to the gym yesterday after work and will do the same today and likely tomorrow. Friday morning I'll be up at 6:00 and off to the gym- I know if I sleep in I'll skip working out after the office in favor of more fun plans and I want to be able to have a few guilt-free drinks that evening- have to start the weekend out right :D

I tried a couple new recipes yesterday and both were wonderful! For lunch I put a little evoo, a sliced tomato, some goat cheese, and fresh basil on top of a whole wheat pita and broiled it for a few minutes until it was toasty. The margarita version of the pear, walnut and gorg flat bread I've been making lately. It was a good change for lunch, so quick, light, and really delicious! For anyone that counts calories this is right around 250 and surprisingly filling, although P might disagree with me on that one. He always reminds me that he needs to eat more than I do and I think he could have woofed about three of these down and been content. I was quite satisfied with one :)

Dinner last night was pork chops with sage, blackberry and balsamic sauce. I found the recipe in the new cooking light and modified it to use ingredients I had and also to simplify the recipe a bit. It only took about 30 minutes total and P decided this was the tastiest meal I'd EVER made. That is what I call a success! We also had asparagus with a little evoo, salt and pepper, and just a bit of fresh Romano grated on top. Here's a link to the recipe:

I used the following ingredients:
  • 2 shallots chopped finely
  • 3 tbsp sugar free blackberry jam (the cheap store brand)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

I let all of that reduce until it started to thicken up and then added:

  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • sugar (not sure why I bought the sugar free jam and then added sugar...)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic
  • a little salt and pepper

When it reduced down to about 1 cup I pulled the pan off the burner and added 1 tbsp Brummel and brown (yogurt butter). After the butter melted in I dumped it all into a little bowl and cooked the pork chops in the same pan. When I pulled them from the pan to rest I added a few of the drippings into the blackberry sauce. The sauce was so delicious and would be really tasty over beef or chicken if you're not a pork fan. This is absolutely a meal I will make again! (P took pictures but I haven't had a chance to upload them- hopefully this evening or tomorrow).

Last week I saw this recipe on Itzy's kitchen blog and knew I wanted to try it:

This morning I put the following in the crock pot:

  • 3 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 sliced sweet onion
  • almost 1 bottle of BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays since it was on sale for $1!)
  • about 1 tbsp of Tabasco

I put the crock pot on high and then pulled the chicken apart at lunch (about 3 1/2 hours later) and added 2 tbsp brown sugar and about 1 tbsp of "cock sauce" as P calls it (otherwise known as saracha sp?). It smelled amazing and I can't wait to try it for dinner! We'll have cole slaw (I buy the pre-cut cabbage and make my own dressing- a little salt, pepper, light mayo, and cider vinegar) along with some sweet potato fries. I loved the cumin on the ones I made last week and I'll add some Cayenne if the chicken isn't too spicy. If it tastes as good as it smells it will be a great dinner and so easy!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Long weekend

The weekend was a bit chaotic with tons of family in town and lots of get togethers, but so much fun! I spent all day Saturday cooking and baking for pot lucks and didn't do a great job documenting, but made sure to snap photos of some of the tastier concoctions. I was left to my own devices taking pictures so forgive the poor quality!

Our office was closed on Friday so after a trip to the gym there was more time than usual to make lunch. I've been craving mango salsa so chopped up and tossed together the following ingredients:

  • 2 mangoes
  • 1/3 red onion

  • 2 tomatoes

  • 1 jalapeno

  • juice from 1 lime

I also smushed up an avocado with a little lime juice, salt and pepper and melted some sharp cheddar and organic black beans between a whole wheat tortilla. It was so delicious and fresh tasting!

black bean quesadillas with mango salsa and gauc

There was more than enough salsa so I dumped some of the leftovers over couscous the next day for lunch and it was equally yummers.

Saturday night I went to a BBQ and offered to bring a side dish so made tabbouleh after some begging from my cousin :) I think I've only made it once before but she happened to be in town and loved it so I figured I'd give it another try. I used Far East brand (I think that's what it's called) tabbouleh to start but only mixed in a little of the flavor packet that comes in the box so that I could add my own. After the grain was ready I added the other ingredients. Even though here were tons of people at the BBQ this recipe made A LOT and we ended up with leftovers:

  • 3 boxes of grain, 1 packet of seasoning

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/3 cup Greek dressing

  • 1 1/2 chopped cucumbers

  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper chopped

  • 1 can drained chick peas

It was great that night and even better the next day!


Yesterday afternoon I made a quick ricotta cheesecake and berry topping with some fresh blackberries and raspberries. Of course when I was ready to dump the mix into a pan to bake I realized I didn't have a spring form pan so just used a 9 x 13 baking pan. They were a little thinner than they should have been but tasted great.

Ricotta cheesecake w berries

The recipe is from (of course!):

Although the recipe calls for homemade ricotta cheese I bought park-skim ricotta at the store instead. I figured baking a cheesecake was ambitious enough without making my own ingredients!

I also gave this recipe a try:

I couldn't find sugar snap peas at the grocery store so used green beans, and also added about 1/3 cup lemon and 1 tbsp of capers to the sauce as it was reducing so it had a piccata flavor. No photos since I was starving by the time it was ready! I wasn't a huge fan of the mint flavor in the bean and asparagus salad, but it was nice to have a change from the lemony green bean/asparagus I've been making lately. The chicken was pretty tasty and very tender, but I'm curious about how it would taste if I stuck to the recipe- something to try next time!

This blog is still very much a work in progress so if you have any suggestions, comments or ideas I'd love to hear them. My brother informed me that it's the most boring thing he's ever read, so there's that! I'd also love recipe ideas if you'd like to share your favorites.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Friday

Holy yum bucket- the cat barf oats were even tastier this morning! They looked extra gross since the bananas are even soggier on day two but the taste and consistency was awesome. It's nice to take a break from cereal and have a new fave breakfast.

This may be the most boring photo ever, but here's how the lemon bars turned out:

fit food lemon bars

They were so tasty and definitely didn't taste like a "diet" recipe. Parker must have agreed because I think he ate about half the pan which is a baking success in my book :)

I skipped the sweet and sour chicken last night and made Parmesan and sage crusted pork chops with sweet potato fries and lemony asparagus. I tried the pork chops last week and just made a few changes the second time around. The pork chops we bought this time were extra thick so I cut them into thinner and smaller pieces and also added more sage and some red pepper flakes to the breading. I also added a little extra mustard to the egg glop. Cutting them thinner cut the cooking time way down and the extra flavors in the breading were delish. Here's a photo of the crispy choppers:

parm sage pork 2

For some reason I was really craving sweet potato fries yesterday and happened to have one at home so I cut it into small pieces, sprayed with pam, and sprinkled salt, pepper, and some cumin on top. They baked at 425 for .... hmmm should have timed those.... between 30 and 45 minutes I think. I stirred them around a few times and just kept and eye on them. Amazingly easy and tasty. These are a new favorite!

sp fries

I also made some quick lemony asparagus with just a little bit of evoo, salt and pepper, and lots of garlic and lemon juice.

Here's how the whole thing turned out:

Pork, sp fries, lemon asp

At 6:00 this morning when the alarm was going off I wondered if my earlier post this week about morning workouts was written in a fit of delusion. Getting out of bed to work out this morning was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. So I snoozed for another 20 minutes while Bruce tried to chew on my face and finally got moving. It really does feel so good to wake up and get moving and have that extra burst of energy to start the day out. I think I'm finally figuring out that just because it's not easy doesn't mean it's not worth it :)

Oooh- and I forgot to mention yesterday how grateful I am for my lovely, er handsome, talented and helpful photographic assistant. These photos are my doing, if you hadn't already guessed. I may have to make another batch of those lemon bars to bribe Parker to keep helping ;)

If you have an extra minute today check out this blog:
Really inspiring ideas about how we think about weight, food and ourselves. Lots of food (har, har) for thought.

Hope everyone is having an amazing day and enjoying this gorgeous weather!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Wednesdays have unofficially become my day of rest workout-wise. It feels good to have a break mid-week and leaves me re-energized to focus and stay motivated for the rest of the week rather than burning out and being lazy on the weekends. I realized yesterday that I didn't watch any TV last weekend. Another small miracle. As Parker pointed out I used to spend the majority of Saturday and Sunday with my booty firmly planted to the couch. No doubt, the fabulous weather helps my motivation immensely. I feel guilty wasting such gorgeous days by laying around and eating ramen. Ramen is so gross.... bleh.

Not gross, however, was the mushroom chicken pasta last night. So delicious! I modified the recipe a little: no white wine, added shallots, and used fresh basil rather than whatever the recipe suggested (dried tarragon, maybe?). I also cooked it all in one pan rather in shifts like CL suggested. I love one pot meals and separating it out just seemed like way too much work and way too many dirty dishes. Plus letting all the flavors mix together worked perfectly. Coating the chicken in a little flour made it really tasty and tender. We also used whole wheat noodles instead of regular egg noodles. I think next time I will ditch the noodles entirely and just cook whole chicken breasts and dump the mushroom mixture over the top.

The green beans were super tasty, too, although at the last minute I decided to ditch the pine nuts and just stick with gbs, lemon, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. So fresh and easy. The pine nuts would have been great flavor, but it just seemed like lots of unnecessary fat and cals. I thought I made enough for leftovers but we woofed them all down which is always a good sign.
Here's how everything turned out:

mshrm chx w lemony gbs 2

mushroom chx w lemony green beans

For some reason I was super motivated last night (morning workout?) and made the lemon bars (yummy, gooey, lemony, sticky, delicious, and only 70 cals a bar!) and a morning oat glop. Maybe I should work on a new name for that... glop doesn't make it sound to appetizing... Anyway, it sort of looked like something the kitten hacked up but tasted awesome and has kept me full all morning. Last night I mixed together:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup light vanilla soy milk

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 2 mashed overripe bananas

  • 2 tbsp banana

I covered it up and let it sit in the fridge all night. This morning I scooped about a third of the mix into a bowl, sprinkled a little pumpkin pie mix on top and stuck it in the microwave for about a minute. Yum! Way better than the pumpkin oat mix I tried last week, although I think that still has potential. Berries also would have been good- I'll have to give that a try next time.

For lunch we had some delicious pizzas:

  • whole wheat pita brushed with a little evoo
  • 1/2- 3/4 pear (whatever fits)
  • gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • chopped walnut
  • fresh sage
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper

flatbread 2

pear walnut gorg basil flatbread

They were tasty and I burned the heck out of my hand pulling one out of the oven. Not so smart. My hand still hurts like crazy but my tummy is very happy :)

Thank you all so much for the nice comments and encouragement. Further affirmation that I am so incredibly lucky to have such amazing family and friends.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Morning workouts

Last week I decided it was time to stop finding excuses and start working out in the morning. It's so beautiful this time of year I can always come up with a million reasons to skip the gym after work. Like wanting to go out for a cold drink, or make a great dinner, or go get ice cream. None of which are terrible on their own, but no gym + food/drink indulgence = tight pants. So beginning last week I set the alarm for 6, went to bed early, and hoped for the best. Miraculously, it worked. I made it out of bed, got dressed, and drove to the gym. Bruce and Pman seemed terribly confused, and I was still half asleep. Other than the fact that all the television programming at 6 am is terrible, I now love working out in the morning. Today was my fourth time, and I think I'm becoming a regular. I recognize the faces of other folks at the gym who are willing to put exercise before sleep and get moving in the morning. If you had told me six months ago, heck six weeks ago, that I would be one of them I would have laughed. Wonders never seem to cease.

My adventures in peanut crusted chicken were a relative success. Besides the fact that I inadvertantly purchased kidney beans instead of black beans to add into the rice the dinner was pretty tasty (I think I was so focused on finding the low sodium kind I forgot to pay attention to the type of bean. Oops!). I added some red pepper flakes to the breading, used store bought bread crumbs instead of homemaking them (no food processor) and also added some lime juice to the salsa. I think next time I'll try peanuts and penko for the breading, per mom's suggestion. Having an amazing cook for a mom makes for some great advice :)

I'm going to give the mushroom chicken pasta a whirl tonight. Not sure how I can screw it up too badly. I'm skipping the white wine and adding shallots for some extra flavor. I think pasta likes to stick to my ribs once I eat it, so I'll just have a few noodles (whole wheat egg noodles to Parker's dismay) and cook some fresh green beans with a little garlic, olive oil, and some toasted pine nuts to have on the side. The picture at the top is what it's supposed to look like, I'll try and remember to take a photo of how it actually turns out :) Here's a link for a recipe that comes close to the green beans, but imagine a few crispy pine nuts on the top:
Lemony green beans
I'm also going to take a shot at making these lemon bars tonight if I find the motivation. I have been craving them lately and a friend found this great recipe for me:

One of my big goals since getting on this eating well/working out kick has to eat 5 fresh fruits and veggies per day. Although it sounds like a snap it can be a little tricky. Thank goodness spring is here! If I was starting this plan in the winter I would be doomed for failure. As it is, I've done pretty well but definitely need to be diligent. I snuck in some leftover asparagus with lunch today so that along with fresh pineapple, mushrooms and green beans will get me pretty close.
Hope you're enjoying this gorgeous day! :D

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fresh Start

A couple of months ago I started getting serious about leading a more healthy and active lifestyle. A combination of the winter blahs, a closet full of clothes that had "shrunk" overnight, and a feeling of complacency culminated, motivating me to make a change.

I always thought it would be too hard, that I didn't have enough time, that I wasn't that unhealthy... lots of excuses and no serious willingness to commit. Until I found a website where I started counting calories. Not just counting the calories of what I ate, but also what I burned. It was like the lightbulb finally came on! So now I not only cook and exercise more, I enjoy every day more :D I am having so much fun trying new recipes, new exercises and challenging myself to learn more.

The biggest shift which is really a miracle in itself has been planning my weekly menus. This coming from the person who used to make a trip to the grocery store every day. Sometimes twice. I've also started going to the gym 5 days a week and taking two rest days to relax and recoup. I always used to dread working out and now not only love going, but sometimes get disappointed when my rest days roll around and I need to take a break. This surprises the heck out of me, but I am thrilled and grateful.

My goal has been to try at least two new recipes every week, so cooking Monday and Tuesday evenings will be a bit of an adventure!

In the midst of all this planning and moving and eating and learning I have lost 11 pounds. Not a huge deal in the world of The Biggest Loser, but a major accomplishment for me. My remarkable friends and family have not only been phenomenally supportive, but have also started asking me to share some food ideas. So here I am.

Here's a look at the yummy food on tap for this week along with links to the recipes:

Monday 5/18/09
bfast every day: Fiberone shredded wheat with lowfat vanilla soymilk (Silk brand)
lunch: Ceasar wrap (lemon pepper chicken breast on the Forman grill, lettuce, tomato and cucumber tossed in lowfast ceasar dressing all wrapped up in a wheat tortilla)
dinner: Peanut crusted chicken with pineapple salsa and lime asparagus(

Peanut Crusted Chicken with Pineapple salsa

Tuesday 5/19/09
lunch: leftovers from Monday's dinner and some steamed asparagus with lime juice
dinner: chicken and mushrooms with garlic white wine sauce (

Mushroom pasta

Wednesday 5/20/09
lunch: whole wheat pita with 1 tsp evoo, sliced pear, gorgonzola, fresh sage and crumbled walnuts broiled for a few minutes
dinner: Sweet and sour chicken (

sweet and sour chicken

Thursday 5/21/09
lunch: same as Wednesday but with apple rather than pear
dinner: friend's birthday dinner

Friday 5/22/09
bfast: breakfast cookie from (Soak raw oats overnight in milk of your choice and some sort of produce- last week was pumpkin and vanilla soy milk, this week will be vanilla soy milk, peanut butter and banana. The first one was a bit bland so hopefully this attempt will be better!)
lunch: whole wheat quesadilla with black beans and mango salsa
dinner: Sage and Parmesean crusted pork chops with lemon and pine nut green beans parmesean and sage crusted pork chops

My goal will be to update at least once a week with new recipe ideas. Happy eating! ;)