Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm outta here!

This week has been such a whirlwind! Although it feels like I say that every week over the course of the summer, this week it has been especially true!

My meals this week were all just.... meh. Hence the lack of photos. It didn't make sense to take pictures and post recipes for things that were just alright. I made pad Thai that was missing the flavor packet, curried veggies that were a complete sogfest, and then just gave up and ordered Thai takeout last night. Fresh spring rolls made my tummy very happy!

The only true culinary success was the oatmeal cookies I made for a friend on Monday night. But it was a Paula Dean recipe. Healthy? Not so much. Delicious? Absolutely!

Tomorrow morning I leave to go visit my family in Ontario for 2 1/2 weeks, so I'll be out of the loop until August 11th. In the mean time, I will be reading, eating, soaking up the sun (covered in screen, of course) and laughing like crazy.

Until then, hope you have a wonderful couple weeks!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Salsa, Sloppy Janes and Goat Cheese

Happy Monday! Hope everyone is recovering from a great weekend and that your week is off to a wonderful start!

Last week I made a quick black bean and corn salsa in the evening so that we'd have ingredients for lunch the next day.

In a big bowl I mixed together:
  • 1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can sweet corn (I'll use fresh next time but I was going for convenience!)
  • 1 large handful grape tomatos, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • Sea salt and pepper


I stirred everything together and let it sit overnight so the flavors would blend together. The next day for lunch I scooped a couple huge spoonfuls over a whole wheat tortilla, cheddar cheese and avocado quesadilla.


It was a great lunch and the salsa recipe made a TON! This would be a good party recipe but it was almost too much for just the two of us to eat. I love leftovers for a couple meals but after that I get sick of them. Luckily Parker is a human garbage disposal :)

Reading Itzy's Kitchen last week I was inspired to fix some Sloppy Janes for dinner. Such a wonderful recipe idea and I just made a few modifications.

I started with a large sweet onion and sauteed it until the stank was cooked off. I love onions but if they are even a little raw I'm not a big fan. Stinky breath = bad news! When the onion was cooked down I added a chopped red bell pepper and let that cook down a little. I then added a can of diced tomatos, a can of kidney beans, 1 tbsp brown sugar, a few dashes of chili powder and cumin, some Frank's hot sauce, and salt and pepper. There was a lot of liquid so I brought it all to a boil and then reduced the heat to let the mix cook into a sloppy joe-type consistency.


Along with that I made (actually burnt!) some sweet potato fries and roasted zucchini. I added a little bbq sauce to dip the fries and some fresh romano cheese on top of the bean mix and zucchs.


Parker had his jane over whole wheat bread to make it more like the real deal. We both LOVED this recipe and it was a great way to satisfy a craving for a "meaty" meal without having to eat meat. We've both made the switch to veggie for the most part and it's been a great transition to encourage the healthy eating path we've been on.

I wasn't feeling up for cooking much of anything on Friday night, but was craving pasty after Rhodey Girl's salad pasta creation last week.

My version made enough to serve 4 and contained the following:

  • 1/2 box Barilla rotini
  • large handful grape tomatos, halved
  • 2 c broccoli
  • 1 c cauliflower
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped

After the pasta water boiled, I added the rotini and let them cook for about 4 minutes, then added the carrots and about a minute later added the cauliflower and broccoli. Zucchini went in last and I just stirred in the tomatos at the end. It was a great easy way to make a fresh, quick and delicious one pot dinner. Before serving I added salt and pepper and sprinkled some goat cheese on top. Goat cheese makes everything better.


Hope you're having a great day!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Perfect Weekend

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

I'm not sure mine could have been any better.

Thursday's pre-weekend activities involved lounging with Brucer:

After peeling myself off the couch I took my first crack at making black bean "burgers."
The patties included

  • 1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed

  • 1 egg

  • bread crumbs (I started with 1/2 c and ended up adding more to get the right consistency)

  • Sauteed onion (the fajita leftovers mysteriously vanished (cough- Parker!- cough) so I quickly cooked some more

  • 3/4 fresh yellow pepper chopped into small pieces

  • chili powder, salt and pepper to taste

I put the beans, egg and bread crumbs into the food processor until it looked like thick hummus, then stirred in the remaining ingredients. We cooked the patties up in a fry pan and served them with avocado and tomato. Dinner also included some roasted sweet potatoes with cumin (and BBQ sauce- yum!) and zucchini with a little fresh parm and too much paprika:


Such a delicious, fresh, (spicy!) summer meal!

I also used one of the leftover bb burgers to throw together a quick salad for dinner on Friday night before heading out to meet the girls.

The salad included

  • Spring mix lettuce

  • Black bean burger

  • 1/4 avocado smushed up with s and p and a little lime juice to make a quick guac

  • A drizzle of soy ginger salad dressing

Since Tami loves my salad pictures so much, here goes ;)


It was a great, light dinner followed by a wonderful evening with lovely friends.


Saturday we headed up to the cabin. Mom and Pattie made a delicious curry dinner, and we all consumed way too much wine followed by a game of Cranium. Verdict- I am terrible at the 'Humdinger" clues. My dancing didn't seem to help. Thank goodness there aren't any photos.

The next morning we woke up bright and early for Kathleen's "32 minute scrambled eggs" and homemade bread. I can't imagine a better way to start the day! After that, we headed out for a hike up to the waterfall. We were excited to see the river:


Of course we posed for the required touristy shot. When travelling with an out-of-stater you're allowed to do such things :)


The hike was absolutely gorgeous and the scenery was accompanied by wonderful friends and a beautiful sunshine filled day. I can't wait to go back!

Hope you had a lovely weekend and your week is off to a great start!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Contest Link!

The lovely Gina at Fitnessista has a great giveaway today! Click on this link to check it out.

I'll post later with photos of the black bean "burgers" from last night- they were delish!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Luncho Muncho

Happy Thursday! Only 10 (work) days until I leave for vacation!

I am lucky enough to go home most days to chow down at my casa over the lunch hour. Sometimes, however, it's a challenge trying to figure out what to eat. Leftovers are ideal, but the past couple of weeks have been so busy I haven't been cooking in the evenings nearly as often. So, what to do?

I bought Sabra brand red pepper hummus last week at the store and got the idea for these lunches from a great, funny, smart and creative website called LovIN My Tummy. Two words: Crack wrap. These are a slight variation, but the same idea.

Luncho numero uno:


I loaded the following ingredients into a tortilla and cooked it in a saucepan with a little pam until melty, oozey, and delicious:
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 oz fresh mozz cheese

So amazingly tasty and easy.


Luncho numero dos was a variation that included sauteed onion, yellow and orange bell pepper. I also used shredded cheddar cheese rather than mozz and just tossed it in the microwave to heat everything up since I wanted it to be in taco rather than quesadilla form.


Not only was it a delicious lunch, but I also have leftover cooked veggies to throw into my black bean burgers for tonight. I love cooking once and eating twice :)

My bathroom floor was replaced this week so I stayed out at my parents with Pman the dog and Bruce burger the kitten. They spent the entire first night pacing around but following that we all slept soundly.

Dinner on Monday was veggie tostadas- one of my faves. Parker is O-V-E-R this recipe, and I adore it so I took advantage of the opportunity to make my parents eat them. Tuesday we grilled chicken marinated in balsamic dressing and I made a caprese salad along with a big green salad. I was so hungry both nights I forgot to take photos. Le sigh.

Last night was a different story. I was craving mom's pizza crust so I suggested a pizza-ish dinner with different toppings thanks to this recipe at Carrots 'N' Cake. Mamacita kindly obliged and made the BEST CRUST EVER. I am still working up the guts to give it a shot. We precooked the crust without toppings so it was nice and crispy.


Voila- Mom Naan! While that was going on I chopped and carmelized a sweet onion along with about 10 dates pitted and cut into small pieces. When they were almost finished cooking I added some balsamic vinegar to help cut the sweetness of the dates. After the crust finished crisping, we piled the onion/date mixture on top along with blue cheese and walnuts. The original recipe called for feta, but I'm not a huge fan and I love the flavors of blue cheese and balsamic together.

The finished product was ah-ma-zing!


I planned on eating one piece but it was so delicious I woofed down 2 1/2 along with a big green salad. Mom and Dad both gave it a big thumbs up so this will definitely be on the repeat list.

My bathroom is all finished today so I get to move back home. Hooray! I had a blast at the ranch with moms and dads this week, but I am looking forward to being back in my own casa. I am also looking forward to black bean burgers, sweet potato fries and roasted zucchini for dinner. I promise to take pictures :)

Hope you're having a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Positive Thoughts

Healthy Tipping Point is a wonderful blog that provides me with so much inspiration and motivation.

Today, Caitlin has some really wonderful and positive thoughts about "Negative Noise and Energy Vampires." I think we all deal with these types of individuals to a greater or lesser extent, and I found her comments today especially profound and helpful.

If you have a chance, click on the link and welcome some positive thoughts and energy into your day!

On to the food...

Over the weekend I tried this great veggie burger recipe while some of the people I love the most chowed on hot dogs that looked amazingly tasty. My new goal lately is to limit my meaty meals to a maximum of three times per week. So far it hasn't been too much of a challenge and it's fun to find new recipes and think about food in a non meat-centric way. The veggie burgers were a huge failure when we tried to grill them, and a tasty success when we moved them to a pan like the recipe suggested. The cilantro was a great "flavor packet" and I'm looking forward to trying this basic recipe with variations. I think a southwest burger is next...

In other news...

I have been encouraged to post an update on the weight loss part of this adventure. To date, I have lost 15 lbs. This seems like a small miracle to me, but all the hard work has been so worth it. The fact that my old jeans once again fit is amazing, but even better is the way I feel about food, exercise, nutrition and myself. I feel like I now approach the world in a much different way, armed with a set of tools and new knowledge that make me embrace the world of food and have replaced my old emotional associations of resentment and guilt. I am also far less intimidated by all things fitness :) I am inspired by those who are further along in the journey than me- friends who are running 5ks, training for marathons, or eating raw. Maybe someday I'll get there, but I am thrilled with the progress I've made and excited to see what happens next.

Thank you so much for the encouraging thoughts and comments. They mean far more than you know. I am so incredibly lucky to have such supportive family and friends.

Sorry no food photos today- My flogging (food blogging is still very much a work in progress.

Hope you're having a lovely week!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bake-a-thon (or bake-o-rama)

Thank goodness it's Thursday and a long weekend ahead!

Yesterday was bonkers at work, so after leaving the office I ran to the grocery for some dinner fixins. Yes, this was my first trip to the grocery store this week. Yes, I have been a slacker.

I've been dining sans-meat for the past few days, so dinner last night was a Gardenburger with 1/2 an avocado and organic ketchup, plus a huge salad:

It included:
*butter lettuce
*1/2 orange bell pepper
*6 fresh strawberries
*sprinkle of blue cheese
*balsamic dressing

Well, that was the plan, but I didn't have any balsamic so I mixed together a teensey bit of evoo, balsamic, salt and pepper, and fresh basil. The basil and stawberries together were so tasty!

After I chowed down the bake-a-thon commenced. I made a peach cobbler thanks to Erica @ Itzy's Kitchen.


I accidentally bought 4 lbs of peaches instead of 2, but the more the merrier, I figured. I used brown sugar for everything rather than white sugar or sugar in the raw since I already had it in the cupboard. Such a tasty recipe! I took the pup for a walk, waited for the cobbler to cool, and dished up a bowl with some cool whip scooped on top. I know cool whip is just whipped chemical ick, but it's so good. It's on my list of things to quit eating someday, but last night I enjoyed every delicious, highly processed bite.

I also made some peanut butter bars , another recipe from Erica's great site. It included:
*peanut butter
*chocolate chips
*egg beaters

Rather than making them into bars I smushed the mix into muffin cups and baked them for about 15 minutes.


Next time I won't bake them quite as long. They were an eensey bit dry (Parker may have thought differently since he consumed a GIANT glass of milk while eating his this morning) but they were also really tasty and a great afternoon snack. They definitely tasty healthy, but hit the spot for something sweet.

(sidebar: sorry for the terrible bake-o-rama photos. I'll have to bribe Parker into helping me take some pics with his far superior camera. Hopefully you get the idea of how everything turned out...)

Lunch today was another gardenburger. Yes, I might be hooked. This time I skipped the avocado since the one last night wasn't quite ripe yet. Unripe avocados are not nearly as tasty as their ripened, squishy, delicious counterparts. I just stuck so some ketchup shmeared on top. I also made a caprese salad:


*2 tomatoes
*1 1/2 slices of fresh mozz, chopped up into small pieces
*lots of fresh basil
*a little evoo and lots of balsamic
*salt and pepper

I may have been a bit overzealous because I couldn't finish the whole plate, but it was so tasty! I love those summer flavors mixed together.

Lately I've been hearing a lot about coconut water. It's low cal and supposedly really tasty. I often crave juice in the afternoon so I thought this would be a great alternative:


(pay no attention to the miscellaneous junk all over my desk in the background)

It was....just.... meh. Mom and I were laughing yesterday that sometimes things that are healthy taste too healthy. Sometimes I would rather they just taste like cheez its or diet coke. There were a couple other flavors of coconut water at the store so I'm not sure I've given up on this possibility just yet, but I'm not jazzed up about this new snack option either. I used to dump crystal light into my water in the afternoon (or have a diet soda- gah!) but now I stick to water. Sometimes something sweet around 3:00 is a lifesaver, so the search continues...

I hope you have a lovely, relaxing holiday weekend!