Monthly Archives: November 2010

Back to the Grind

I did NOT want to get up this morning.

After several days of being able to sleep in, I had to get up bright and early so that I could make it into work.

Even if I wasn’t happy about dragging myself out of bed, I was happy about getting back to a routine and back to eating on the healthier side.

I started out the morning with leftover Pumpkin Pancakes. Yummy!

I wanted a nice pear to go with that, but alas I could not find them. Later, I found out it was because Corey put them in a place that we don’t usually keep them. That also explained the case of the missing grapes.

 

Note to my husband: This is NOT the drawer we keep that stuff in!

 

Traffic going to work was awful! It wasn’t raining when I left for work (just a slight drizzle, but there were still two car accidents on my route to work. What usually takes me 30 minutes took me an hour and fifteen minutes. Luckily, I had my Christmas CD I made yesterday and it wasn’t too bad. Singing along made the long car ride somewhat more enjoyable. I also listened to it throughout the day at work. I am definitely in the holiday spirit. :)

For my midmorning snack, I ate some watermelon that I had purchased at Publix a few days ago. Good thing too because the sell by date was yesterday.

I paired the watermelon with some low fat cottage cheese.

I forget how good watermelon is. It’s so sweet and juicy. Who says watermelon is just for summer?

For lunch, I had leftover pasta.

Mmm . . . it was a simple dish of whole wheat pasta, 365 organic pasta sauce, and cooked chicken. It was super tasty for being a week old! the only problem was that I think I put a bit too much red pepper in the pasta sauce. It was a little too spicy. Is that even possible? This dish was very filling though.

An afternoon snack consisted of the rest of the watermelon from earlier in the day. I also had my new favorite snack, rice cakes and Trader Joe’s pumpkin cream cheese.

I am so addicted to this stuff! Last week, I went through a container in one week. I wonder if this week will be the same.

I’m glad I had a filling snack. I knew I would need it for the treacherous drive home. It was pouring rain at this point. I tried to leave a little bit early because Atlanta traffic is a nightmare when there is bad weather . . . or anytime between 6:00 am and 10:00 am and 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm. :)

Speaking of getting back to the grind, I really need to start exercising again on a regular basis. When I got home, I tried to make excuses for not working out. I even cleaned. But eventually, I dragged myself off the couch, put on my workout clothes and did an awesome workout. I did Jillian Michaels’ kickboxing DVD, as well as 40 minutes on the elliptical. My quads are sore, but I feel awesome! I really pushed myself on both workouts, so I feel great now. :)

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread and Christmas music

What do you do when you have some leftover pumpkin in the fridge and a bag of fresh cranberries begging to be eaten?

Combine them in one fabulous dessert of course!

I have been craving a cranberry pumpkin bread for a while now and I am glad I did. It was super tasty.

I did get rid of the leftover pumpkin in my fridge, but I also opened up another can in which I had leftovers. It seems like for the past couple of months, I always have some leftover pumpkin in the fridge. I guess there are worse problems to have.

The recipe for the bread can be found here. I didn’t really make many changes. I did use fat free milk, egg whites instead of eggs, and I can’t believe it’s not butter. I also omitted the walnuts.

Mixing the ingredients together.

Adding the cranberries

loaf of bread fresh from the oven

This was so tasty. Can you believe that this is the first time I have had fresh cranberries? The only other time I have had cranberries is the cranberry sauce from a can. Does that even count? Maybe those things aren’t even cranberries. The combination of the tart cranberries and sweet bread were very good indeed.

I also spent part of the day burning a CD of Christmas songs. I put a lot of the songs that were in my holiday collection of my Itunes library and burned them on a CD so that I can listen to them whenever I want. And my wonderful husband bought me the Glee Christmas album to add to my collection. Yay!

The following songs are on my Christmas CD:

The entire Glee Christmas album
Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You
Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
Burl Ives – A Holly Jolly Christmas
Faith Hill – Where are you Christmas
Michael Buble – The Christmas Song
Michael Buble – Grown-Up Christmas List
Gene Autry – Up on the Housetop
entire Christmas album by Straight No Chaser – these guys are AWESOME! I love their rendition of “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

I love Christmas music (as long as it’s after Thanksgiving). What is your favorite Christmas song?

Day of Rest

Today was a day where I wanted to do . . . absolutely nothing.

Corey suggested that we get out of the house and buy a Christmas tree. I convinced him that Christmas decorating could wait a weekend. After working on the day after Thanksgiving, as well as yesterday, I just needed a break. Plus, this was the first weekend in a while where I didn’t have anything planned and I didn’t get a migraine. Score!  :)

Corey graciously allowed me to sleep in  while he took care of Callie. After I woke up, I ate some leftover Pumpkin Pancakes from Thanksgiving morning.

The next several hours were spent relaxing on the couch with Corey, while we pretty much watched every single thing we had recorded on the DVR. I have never seen the DVR with so much space! After a while, Corey and Callie fell into a deep sleep while I watched TV and surfed the web, catching up on blogs and such.

For lunch, I enjoyed some leftover Hungry Girl chili from the other day. Chili is sooo much better the next day. We should just make a bunch of chili, pop it in the fridge, and eat it the next day. ;) I actually added some kidney beans to the chili in order to add some more nutrients. Why didn’t we just add the beans to begin with? Because Corey hates beans. This is just one of the compromises I make for my husband. :)

This lunch was extremely filling and the perfect lunch for a cold day.

After lunch, Corey actually wanted to do something. The horror! But the something he wanted to do was bake a pound cake. I have no problem with taking time out of our day for baking.

While he was baking, I decided to make myself useful and I cleaned out our cabinets. And our refrigerator. They needed some organization badly.

This is what our cabinets looked like before . . .

And after.

Here is our refrigerator before . . .

And after.

Do you see how many leftovers I have?? I think I have a problem with hoarding or something. Among the leftovers are leftover pumpkin (which I plan on using tomorrow) kidney beans, corn, pumpkin pancakes, Hungry Girl chili, sweet potato casserole I made on Thanksgiving, leftover chicken strips that Corey and I made a week ago, leftover pasta with chicken, a pecan pie my grandmother made me for Thanksgiving, and a hamburger patty that Corey made me the other day. Talk about a lot of food! But don’t worry, I plan on eating every single bite.

In the midst of all the cleaning I had an afternoon snack. I snacked on some Trader Joe’s Triple Gingersnap cookies.

I think these are my new addiction! Maybe Trader Joe’s isn’t so bad after all. All I know is these cookies are amazing and I have to stop myself from eating more than one serving.

The cleaning took a while and Corey and I planted ourselves on the couch to relax from all our hard work. Just about the time his pound cake was ready, our TV broke! After much research, Corey determined that the lamp burned out in the television set and we needed a new one. I didn’t even know that could happen!

We weren’t sure if we could get the part or not. It was already kind of late and it actually took a while for Corey to find a store that carried the part. We thought we would have to order it online, in which case our television set would be out of commission for the next couple of days. Ouch!

Luckily, we found a store that carried the proper part and he fixed it in no time at all. My hero!

hard at work

For dinner, neither one of us wanted to cook so we ordered some chicken fajitas from a local Mexican place, Pappasitos. This place has the BEST fajitas I have ever tasted.

They make their tortillas by hand at the restaurant and the chicken is incredibly moist. They also have awesome guacamole!

With the fajitas, I had some tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole. Yummy!

I am sure you’re wondering why we didn’t eat leftovers for dinner. If it were up to me, we would have. However, my beloved husband despises leftovers. I suppose the exception would be cake. But don’t we all have that exception?

I’m not worried about being able to eat all that food though. Corey is going out of town later this week. He is actually going to be gone for the next few weeks (except for weekends). I love leftovers when he is out of town. It is lonely cooking for one , so all these leftovers will be great for when I am all alone.

I guess that’s all for now! Our television is fixed and Corey and I are going to spend some more quality time together. We both have the day off tomorrow (for once!) so we will get to spend even more time together before his many upcoming trips.

Giving Thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my husband.

 

Wedding Day - 2008

 

He is the most wonderful man ever. He takes care of me whenever I am sick, he cooks for me on a regular basis, and he puts up with my many moods. I am very thankful that he volunteered to make me some delicious Pumpkin Pancakes this morning!

I am thankful for my “baby.”

She drives me crazy sometimes, but she also makes me laugh and she keeps me company whenever Corey is away on a business trip (which is often).

I am thankful for my family. We have been through some rough times, but they are still my family.

 

My father carving the Thanksgiving turkey

my beautiful niece, Abigail

My charming nephew, Connor

Me and my mother

 

I am thankful for my friends, especially the ones who live far away and I can’t see on a regular basis!

 

One of my best friends, Luke

My best friend, Cindy

 

I am thankful that my family had so much food for Thanksgiving.

I am incredibly thankful for pumpkin, which allows me to make incredible pumpkin cheesecake.

And most of all, I am thankful that yesterday I paid my very last car payment!!! Woo-hoo! I am beyond excited, especially since I paid it off eight months early and this was the one goal I had for this year. I have never owned a car outright before, so this feels pretty darn good.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

In a Rut

I have fallen into a rut with my meals.

Yesterday’s breakfast: the standard eggs with hot sauce and bacon

I am finding it harder and harder to come up with tasty (and nutritious) meals to take to work for lunch.

I am trying to incorporate more veggies into my diet and that is hard too. Couple that with the fact that I need lunches that I can eat very quickly in between patients. (Really, I need to be able to shove it in my mouth in five minutes or less).

Yesterday’s midmorning Snack: honeycrisp apple

I used to take sandwiches a lot, but that was before deli meat became a big no-no in terms of my migraines. I still take sandwiches occasionally (although I am running out of ideas for sandwich fillings), I take salads (which don’t always fill me up very long), and I take leftovers from home (such as pasta or chicken).

Yesterday’s lunch: a tasty dish made of brown rice, kidney beans, corn, and a hamburger patty I made last week. I also put a generous amount of ketchup and mustard on it. Sounds weird, but it’s so delicious . . . and filling!

But now I am getting bored and sometimes I have no idea what to bring for lunch . . . especially when we don’t have leftovers I can bring. So what’s a girl to do?

Also, I am running out of ideas for snacks. Fruit doesn’t fill me up for very long and I just need a little variety in my life.

Yesterday’s snack#1: whole grain rice cake with Trader Joe’s pumpkin cream cheese. I had this times three.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a quick lunch or nutritious snack??

Yesterday’s snack#2: an unpictured cup of Barbara’s Peanut Butter puffins

Yesterday’s dinner: some Hungry Girl chili. We made a big pot of it so there are plenty of leftovers. That’s the best part of chili!

Now I just have to share something humorous. Corey and I have a springer spaniel, Callie (who I have mentioned numerous times). If you know springer spaniels, you probably know that they traditionally have long, floppy ears. Callie is not exception.

Callie . . . check out her long ears!

This weekend, I went out with a friend and Corey decides to give Callie a trim haircut. He said that her ears were “nappy” and he had to “trim” them to get stuff out of her ears that had been tangled up in them. I guess he didn’t know where to stop because before he knew it, he had cut off half her ears!

Callie after her haircut.

It kind of looks like she got a bob or something. But I guess her hair will grow out and she is still cute as a button. :)

Here a Nut Butter, there a Nut butter

So I have discussed my dislike of almond butter. And dislike may be a strong word. Let’s just say that it is not typically my cup of tea. I won’t be searching it out in Whole Foods anytime soon.

But that was before I discovered Naturally Nutty. They are a company that produces all natural nut butters and their nut butters also have flax and hemp seed in them. I read about the company on one of the many blogs that I follow. When I went on the website, I was instantly hooked on all the different flavors.

I ordered a sampler pack last week and I was so excited when my package came.

I ordered the sampler pack that includes 1 almond butter and 2 different peanut butters. I chose Vanilla Almond Butter, Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter, and Butter Toffee Peanut butter.

I tried the Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter first. Considering the fact that I love honey and I love cinnamon, I had high hopes for this one. However, I was disappointed. The cinnamon gave this nut butter a weird taste. I didn’t completely hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I would not buy this one again.

Then I tried the Vanilla Almond Butter. Oh. My. God. This is the best almond butter I have ever tried and dare I say it? It is the best nut butter I have ever tried. The vanilla flavor gave  the almond butter a nice, sweet taste. I loved it!

Check out how thick and creamy it is. And no need to stir!

Mmm . . . almond butter spoon. So good!

The last one, butter toffee peanut butter, was also one of my favorites. I’m not sure whether I like this one or the vanilla almond butter better. This one probably comes in a close second. The taste reminded me of something . . . I’m not really sure what. Maybe the Peanut Butter and Company white chocolate peanut butter. It was sweet and had a dessert taste to it. It was delicious and I understand why the Naturally Nutty website listed it as a best seller.

If you haven’t tried this brand yet, you should. They have quite a variety of flavors of peanut butters and almond butters. They even have cashew butter (which I would love to try) and sunflower butter. Mmmm . . . yummy.

In other nut butter news, I finally had a chance to try the famous Justin’s peanut butter. Last time Corey and I were at Whole Foods I bought a couple of the serving size squeeze packs of their peanut butter. I bought organic peanut butter and organic honey roasted peanut butter.

Both types of peanut butter were okay. They weren’t bad, but would I spend $10 on a jar of the stuff. Probably not. In terms of plain peanut butter, I can buy Smuckers All Natural peanut butter and it is just as good. And a lot cheaper.

Today, I was disappointed with the quantity of peanut butter in the little packet. Judging by the nutritional info. on the packer, one packet is supposed to cover two tablespoons. Today, I actually measured the peanut butter out. Sounds a little silly, right? Well, I was eating a bagel and I wanted to make sure there was 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on each half. I want an equal amount of peanut butter on each half of my bagel.

Well, it turned out that there was only a tablespoon and a quarter of another tablespoon. NOT two full tablespoons. So the second half of my bagel had only a thin smear of peanut butter on it. Very disappointing. :(

Compare that bagel to a bagel with a full tablespoon of vanilla almond butter.

Creamy and delicious vanilla almond butter

Major difference.

That’s it for now. Maybe tomorrow I will share the details of Callie’s “surprise” haircut that my husband gave her. It looks like he cut off her ears! But she is still adorable, regardless of how much hair she has. But hairdresser my husband is not. :)

Buffalo Chicken

I love buffalo chicken wings. Buffalo wings are probably my favorite type of “junk food.” Or maybe they are tied with macaroni and cheese. Mmm . . . yummy.

I have been known to order a large order of wings from Papa John’s and eat the entire order by myself. Of course, the calories in those are atrocious.

Last night, I made a healthy version of buffalo chicken – boneless buffalo chicken bites. They were amazing! They totally satisfied my craving. This recipe can serve 2 . . . or one person with leftovers. I love leftovers. :)

Boneless Buffalo Chicken Bites (serves 2)

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Paprika
2 egg whites
1/2 Tablespoon Skim Milk
1/2 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Non-stick Cooking Spray
1/8 Cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
1 Tablespoon I can’t believe it’s not butter (or other butter of your choice)
1 Tablespoon Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper and paprika in a medium bowl. Whisk the egg whites and milk together in a small bowl. Slice the chicken breasts into large chunks (2-3 bites per chunk). Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip each piece into the egg mixture, then into the breading blend; then repeat the process so that each piece of chicken is double coated. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange the chicken on the baking sheet and then spray a light coating over the top of each piece. Bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. As the chicken cooks, combine the hot sauce, margarine and water in a microwave save dish. Microwave on high until the mixture begins to bubble, then remove the sauce from the heat and cover until it’s needed. When the chicken pieces are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a couple of minutes. Place the chicken into a covered container, cover, and then shake gently until each piece is coated. Serve immediately.

I think my only complaint about these was that they could use more sauce. They didn’t quite have enough kick, so I think next time I will use a bit more.

Last night, I paired these with my new favorite thing, Alexia sweet potato fries. These are awesome! They are frozen, but they are made of all natural ingredients (unlike most frozen products). No MSG or artificial flavors at all. Just sweet potatoes and spices.

This was the perfect meal: quick and comforting. Perfect since my husband is out of town and I was cooking for one. I am never more tempted to eat junk food and order out than when Corey is out of town. It sucks cooking for one. But luckily, this meal took care of that urge. :)

Unplugged

I can’t believe it, but this is my first post in over two weeks. Where did the time go?

Over the past few weeks, I have been really out of touch with the blogging community. It has been entirely out of choice. I had gotten to the point where I was just tired of blogging and I felt like maybe I was posting for the wrong reasons (like gaining readership). So I decided to take a break.

I still read a few of the blogs that I keep up with, but I haven’t commented on them in a while. Honestly, there were some comments to the last post that I didn’t even approve until today. If you made a comment to my last post and I didn’t respond, I am sorry. I promise to be better. :)

The past few weeks have been nice without the pressure of blogging. I actually spent time with my husband (I admit that I neglect him occasionally) and I ate and cooked without the pressure of what the blogging community would think. I am such a people pleaser. But over the past few days, I realize that I kind of miss blogging. I like having this as an “outlet” and like that it is something just for me. So here I am!

I will catch you up briefly with my life over the past two weeks.

I became addicted to my iPhone.

 

Love the pic of me and Corey as my wallpaper. So cute!

 

And isn’t it sad that my iPhone actually takes better pictures than my regular camera? Maybe Santa will be good to me this year . . .

My husband and I went back to Farm Burger. Mmm, best burgers I have ever had!

 

burger with arugula, caramelized onions and Farm Burger sauce. Yummy!

 

We also had a date night at Seasons 52, one of my favorite restaurants. I was anxious to try the Fall menu and it did not disappoint!

 

Seasons 52: chicken cabernet, wild rice, broccoli, and golden beets

 

During the course of this meal, I realized I do NOT like beets. Not at all. My grandmother claims I liked them as a child, but maybe I just ate them under duress? ;)

I did clean my plate when it came to the Pumpkin Pie for dessert. So delicious!

 

Must get every single bite!

 

I tried brussel sprouts. No, I did not like those either. I didn’t bother to take a picture of those because they were kind of forgettable. Maybe it was because the brussel sprouts were frozen. Maybe I would like them if they had a different variety of spices? I am not anxious to try them again.

I also made a Pumpkin Cheesecake!

You can find the recipe here. I did not do anything to modify it and it came out beautifully. The only thing I did differently was that I left out the pecan streusel topping. I may have to try that next time. It was still delicious though. And it was so much better the next day!

I got too many migraines and had a wonderful companion to make me feel better.

 

Callie really is the best medicine!

 

My husband was an okay caregiver too. :)

I tried Honeycrisp apples for the first time.

These were so delicious! I think these are my new go-to apple. Love the flavor!

I realized I like peanut butter better than almond butter.

 

my go-to snack: bagel with peanut butter and honey

 

Blasphemous, I know since almond butter is all the rage. But there is just something comforting about the taste of peanut butter.

I won a free Custom Choice cereal mix from a blog giveaway!

 

Like my name? :)

 

Love, love, love this cereal. For my mix, I chose cinnamon granola, organic good morning flakes, sliced almonds, raisins, and dried pineapple. It was so yummy and it’s also gluten free!

I also tried a new strength training workout. Thanks to Comcast On Demand, I was able to try Jackie Warner’s total body circuit workout.

Oh. My. God. This workout was 45 minutes and worked EVERY single muscle. Seriously, she had section for quads and hamstrings and she even had three different sections for abs (upper abs, lower abs, and obliques). I did this workout last week and I was sore the entire week. So sore that I couldn’t do another strength training workout. I did this again on Monday. I didn’t get quite as sore as last week, but my biceps and triceps are still sore today. I am going to do this workout yet again today and I hope I will get stronger as time progresses.

I believe I like Jackie Warner a lot better than Jillian Michaels. Jackie isn’t as annoying or drill sargent like, but she gets the job done. And I love that she works every single muscle so thoroughly. There were times with 30 day shred that I didn’t feel like I was working all of my muscles.

So I guess I have done a lot and eaten a lot over the past few weeks. I was happy for the break, but now I am anxious to get back to a routine of blogging again.