Category: Random Recipeless Ramblings

Thinking Out Loud Thursday

ONLY ONE MORE DAY TILL SOUTH CAROLINA!!!
WOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!

Heh – can you tell I’m excited? I decided that this week, since I didn’t cook anything new/noteworthy and I don’t have a recipe to share I would join in the fun Thinking out Loud party – brought to you by Amanda at Running with Spoons!! Here’s just a miscellaneous array of things that I’ve been thinking these days. And really, by “miscellaneous array of things” I think what I really meant to say was mushy, gooey, hormone-y things that have everything to do with baby. You have been warned! 

I’m sure a lot of married women think that they have the best husband ever, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut I really think I win. No one is perfect, of course, but I am so effing happy that Johnny and I together (for 7 years this month!) and I am so effing happy that he has discovered that no matter what mood I am in or how crazy I’m feeling all he needs to do is rub my belly and I instantly feel better and I can’t believe that in 10 short weeks we’re going to be parents. And he’s going to rock.

me and the hubs

Also, some of ya’ll may think that you’ve got the best friends ever….but againnnn…and I hate to break it to you…I’m pretty sure I win there, too. My baby shower is a week from Saturday and I know that my beautifuuuul sister-in-law Melinda and my gorrrrrgeous bff Susan have been planning their faces off to make sure it’s perfect. My girl, Ashley, has been helping, too…and dealing with my crazy and accompanying me to farmers markets whenever I need it! I haven’t even had my shower yet and I’m already so grateful to have such a tremendous support system. Sometimes there really just aren’t words to show true love and appreciation. So instead, here’s an adorable photo we took over the weekend.

my galsAlthough I enjoy all of the time I spend with the hubs and my dear friends, I have really come to discover lately that I enjoy some solid “me” time, too. Of course I would really start to enjoy it right before my baby is born, but c’est la vie. I’ll take what I can get for now. Prior to my last doctor’s appointment, I dropped Johnny off at our friend’s place so they could get to work together, and I sat at Panera for an hour enjoying a breakfast powder sandwich (with spinach added to it, because spinach), some decaf english breakfast tea, and a nice book (has anyone else out there read all of the Southern Vampire Mysteries aka the “True Blood” books? I’ve read ALL of them and I’m currently reading one of the companion guides a friend lent me). There was definitely a time in my life where I wouldn’t be caught dead eating anywhere alone. I’m not sure when it happened, but now I feel like if I could start every morning this relaxed I totally would.

panera

You know how I’ve mentioned before that I miiiiiiiiiight have a small problem when it comes to chocolate and peanut butter?? Well over the weekend, we grabbed some frozen yogurt, annnnnnnd this problem really came to a head!! Usually when I get froyo I’m all “yay yay healthy treat” and I’ll get a tiny plop of strawberry and a tiny plop of cheesecake flavor and I’ll cover it in fresh fruit and graham cracker crumbles. Not this time. This time my problem reared its ugly head… and I had half a cup filled with chocolate and peanut butter flavored froyo… and topped with peanut butter chips, peanut butter cups, peanut m&ms, and drizzled it with peanut butter…and it was perfect.
froyo

Finally, I’m just soooo excited to get the nursery together. We have all of the furniture sitting in the garage waiting to be put together. Johnny is just about done painting it, too. Here’s a little sneak peak.
nursery
Yuppers! It’s baby blue for my baby girl. Some folks are all like “but bluuuue is for booooysssss” annnnnnnnnd I want to kick them in the shin.  I, personally, think that this particular shade of blue is just so perfect and pretty and feminine without being too over the top girly and, most importantly, it’s relaxing. Also,  I plan on decorating the nursery with lots of white and subtle baby pink. The bedding we registered for looks like this:

14396610

aaaaaand all of the furniture is a pretty espresso colored wood. I’m going crazy waiting to see what it all looks like put together…with a baby in it. Lol. Now I have my fingers crossed, of course, that Miss Emma Grace is going to love to sleep as much as her parents do, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

I think that just about covers everything for today, folks. I’ll be back next week!!!

WIAW #20 – Monday Noms & My Thoughts on Fiber

Greetings, pals and gals!! Hey, I got 23 cents – anybody wanna chip in for a dog-sled delight?! (I don’t know where all my money goes! A dime here – 15 cents there…)

Oh snap – who can name the movie that’s from?! I’ll give you a cookie! Well, probably not a cookie actually, what with the internet not being the best provider of pastries. But a nice shout-out for being awesome – that I can do!

Anywho, happy Wednesday to all. It’s the first What I Ate Wednesday of Spring!! Huzzah!!

We got a taste of some spring weather over the weekend and it was faaaaaaaaaaaaabulous!!! Of course, it’s about 25 degrees outside today and we got some more snow, but the weekend was perfect. *sigh* I really hope it warms up soon.

At least next weekend I’ll be in South Carolina!! I can’t wait for the mini vaca!! We’re staying with Johnny’s Grandparents and I can’t wait to see them!!  Though, I’m a bit terrified at the thought of how many times I’m going to need to stop to pee on the way. Today, I peed 5 times in less than 3 hours after I woke up. Sure, that may be TMI for a blog post that’s going to talk about everything I ate on Wednesday Monday but I decided to share it with you so I can’t take it back now. And you’ve got to admit…that’s ridiculous!!

On that note…let’s get to the food…shall we?! (Hey Jenn – Thanks for hosting!!)

Breakfast: So I tried changing things up a little bit on Monday and instead of my typical peanut butter covered banana oat cookie/muffin/squishy-delishness I just microwaved myself a bowl of “standard” style oatmeal. Ya know. The creamy kind. In the mix is 1/2 cup of oats, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of flax meal, 3/4 of a mashed banana, 1 cup of almond milk, and some cinnamon. I microwaved it at work for 5 minutes, stirring it up every minute or so. I couldn’t not add chocolate chips to it. It was tasty. Not as good as my peanut butter covered banana oat/cookie/muffin/squishy thing. But good. I also had some decaf green tea with it.
oatmeal and green tea

Snacks: Boy was Monday a snacky day. It all started with some strawberries. Delicious, juicy strawberries that I can’t seem to stop eating! I cut these ones up and enjoyed them with a fork instead of making a huge mess all over my desk as usual….
strawberries
About an hour later I was still hungry so I snagged an apple cinnamon rice cake that I smeared in almond butter (Warning: I know I say I have a new snack obsession every week. This one belongs to this week!)
rice cake and almond butter

Lunch: Recycled salad photo!! I said I need to start making this salad more the last time I had it. So I did. Like a boss. Except the one in THIS photo is muuuuuuuch prettier than mine was Monday…because I forgot to take a picture before I shook it all up and it turned to an egg yolky/avocadoy/mess of noms.
salad

Snacks: I told you I snacked a bunch today man. Here is a recycled photo of an apple…because I knew I had one and I was like…gosh I’m hungry I don’t want to take a picture I want to eat. So I did!
apple
Then I ate some pistachios…
pistachios
…and then some decaf green tea…
green tea
…and then some edamame…
edamame
….and then some carrots.
carrots

Holy munchies, Batman!! I realized at this point in time (thanks to my fitness pal) that I hadn’t even consumed 1,000 calories yet in the day!! Thattttt’s why I was starving! With baby on board I try to consume between 1500-1600 on an inactive day and that’s been working really well for me. I don’t track my food every day – but since I was feeling sooooo hungry I decided to check in and see what my numbers for the day were looking like. Lots of fiber, not enough protein.

For me, personally, I find that a diet higher in protein and healthy fats with a wee bit less fiber works to keep my satisfied for way longer than a diet higher in fiber. I was all about fiber until I started running and lifting. Fiber One bars were my jam. I can’t even tell you the last time I had one, now, which is a good thing… because all they do is give me gas and make my belly hurt. It turns out, if you get enough fiber in your diet from natural sources like fruits and vegetables and whole grains your body is NOT happy when it gets extras from additives like chicory root fiber (which, beeteedubs to all my preggos out there, is not recognized as safe during pregnancy but is in LOADS of products. read your labels!) WHODA THUNK?!  Boy, the human body is such a fascinating thing. *STEPS DOWN FROM SOAP BOX*

Dinner: By the time I got home I was soooooooo excited for dinner…for so many reasons!! I was starving…and I knew I was making CHEESE BURGERS!!! It had been a while and it was just on my list of things I realllllllly wanted. For my burgers I use 85% lean ground beef, oats, worcestershire sauce, and looooooads of garlic and black pepper. Topped with some american cheese, romaine, tomato, and onion on a toasty whole wheat bun. Oh goodness. It wassssss perfection (even cooked to well done #pregnancy). I also made some sweet potato “chips” on the side using my brand spankin’ new Simple Slicer from The Pampered Chef that came in my New Consultant Mini Kit!! Oh man, it’s soooooo easy to use (way easier than the Ultimate Mandolin – which it looks a lot like – but I’m telling you it’s a million times better!!), easy to clean (the blade locks into place so it’s nearly impossible to cut yourself or your sponge), and it made PERFECTLY sliced sweet potatoes. I love how it has three different thickness settings. I sliced my sweet potatoes on the second level and I thought they were just the right thickness!!  I just tossed them in olive oil, threw em’ on a sheet pan with some salt and garlic powder, and baked them at 450 for about 30 minutes…flipping them after 15. I sprinkled mine with (probably too much but I don’t care) Cajun seasoning when they were hot from the oven. I need to make these more often. 😀
cheeseburger and sweet potatoes
Dessert: Obviously, a burger and sweet potato chips weren’t enough (jkallday) buuuut I still indulged in some Wegmans brand chocolate frozen yogurt after. I restrained myself, though, and did NOT add a giant spoonful of peanut butter to it. *pats self on back* Johnny went out for a bit on Monday night, so it was just me and the pooch nomming some froyo and watching The Big Bang Theory. I then proceeded to try on a bunch of my “springtime” clothes to see how they fit with my giant baby belly. I may need to go shopping. *sigh*
fro yo

So what are your thoughts on a high fiber/high protein diet? Which works best for you and your body?

Do you have any mini vacations planned soon? What about regular sized vacations?

Are you familiar with The Pampered Chef? What’s your favorite product?!


 

 

WIAW #18 – Meatless Monday!!

Ello’ loves!! (Yup, when I typed that I said it out loud with a British accent. Don’t judge me.)

I ‘ope you’re all splendid t’day! (Still British. Only more like Hagrid this time.)

I’m just chugging along this week looking forward to the weekend!! Sometimes, I can’t decided whether it’s good to always look forward to the weekend … or if it’s bad to not try and enjoy the present moment. I do what I can to enjoy the 40 hours a week I spend at work…but ya know…I’d rather be doing yoga… or eating. 😀

Oh well! At least we all always have What I Ate Wednesday to get us over the hump, right?! RIGHT!! [Shout out to Miss Jen at Peas and Crayons! Word up, chikadeee!]

I thought about doing what I ate Sunday this week…and I even started taking pictures of all my food. Theeeeeen I forgot. Oopsies!! So, instead, today you shall be observing my Monday. More specifically, my MEATLESS Monday. I love that I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I go days without eating meat and I don’t even notice it until I gather all of the photographic evidence together. Heh. It’s certainly not a bad habbit, amiright?!

Mmkkay enough jibber jabber. On to the food!!

Breakfast: Behold my latest breakfast obsession!! It’s glorious, I tell you. I take two Wegmans brand organic blueberry waffles and toast em up. I smear a tablespoon of peanut butter onto waffle number one right out of the toaster so that it gets all melty when you spread it. Then, I smother it all with a cup of frozen berries that I microwave for 45 seconds to warm through and turn into a delicious berry sauce. I top it with waffle number two and devour. It’s perfect. I love everything about it. Except for when I finish it…because all I want to do is keep eating it!!

beautifulwaffleofdelicous

Snack: 1 oz of 2% pepperjack with 6 triscuits. It’s my go to morning snack lately.

cheeseandcrackersLunch: A huuuge delicious salad of spinach, cherry tomatoes, carrots, red onion, yellow bell pepper, avocado, and two sliced hard boiled eggs. I drizzled it with some balsamic vinegar and just a tiny bit of evoo. This is probably one of the simplest salads I make and every time I do I’m just like “BEST SALAD EVER WHY DON’T I MAKE THIS MORE.” Then I forget about it. Not this time, Jen. At least I hope!

saladBeverage: Johnny and I snagged some beverages on our lunch break on Monday. Sometimes we’ll just eat at our desks so we can get out of the office for an hour or so. I had one of the most bizarre hot chocolates of my life. I ordered a nonfat hot chocolate and the woman making it was like “would you like to try it with our sugar free syrup” and I was all “Yes, please.” Then I got it, and sipped it, and well…have you ever had like…a chocolate flavored hard candy? Where you’re like…this tastes kind of like chocolate…but it doesn’t really feel like I’m eating chocolate. Anyone? Bueller? Yeah – well that’s kind of what this tasted like. Definitely not something I would get again. But I enjoyed it while I had it. At least the foam on top was perrrfect!!

cocoaSnack: Gosh I’m dying for warm weather so I can eat cold snacks all the time!! I’m loving that it’s warm out now, but dreading that there is supposed to be snow again tonight. Come on, man! Sigh. Over the weekend, Johnny and I were discussing my recovery from baby this summer and I’ve officially decided that I’m really not worried about it. I always have a much easier time eating clean in the summer when I can grill everything and live off of fresh fruits and veggies and other delicious healthy things meant to be consumed cold! Liiiike icy cold greek yogurt mixed with a touch of peanut butter and honey to dip fresh, crisp apples in! (This apple – not the best. C’est la vie.)

applesandyogurtDinner: Melinda and I had a dinner date on Monday! We caught up on all of her weddding planning and all of my baby planning at Neato Burrito. It’s a Central PA Burrito place with a few locations. Personally – I like it waaaaaaaaaaay more than Chipotle. The hubby does not. Thus why I get it with Melinda. There loads of options for just about anyone. Melinda pretty much got a bowl of nachos with a little chicken and lots of veggies on top. I went with a burrito, which is rare for me, but I was in the mood for the wrap and not so much the rice. I had a jalapeno cheese wrap with their amazinggggg vegan Troegs three bean chili,  just the tinnnnnniest bit of brown rice (just so it didn’t get too soggy from the chili), a wee bit of cheese, cilantro pesto, smoked chipotle salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, and guacamole. Oh yeah, and I had them throw in a handful of crushed tortilla chips!! That’s kind of their thing. And it’s brilliant. Man. Everything about this burrito was perfect. I pretty much housed the whole thing, minus the last little bit of tortilla at the bottom that gets all folded up and actually contains no filling at all. (The worst part of burritos!!)
burrito

Well, I certainly loved my veggies on Monday! I’ve actually been loving them all week, like a boss. Salads for lunch. Stir fry for dinner. Tonight I’m making some chipotle chicken sausage wraps with my southwest slaw salad.

Have you been loving your veggies this month?!

What’s your latest breakfast obsession??

Do you ever have meatless days without even realizing it??


 

WIAW #17 – The Saturday Edition!

Hey party people!!

TGIW, amiright?!

Actually, it’s Tuesday night as I write this… because I do what I want. 😀

I mentioned last week that one of these days I would share my weekend eats with you. Well, you’re in luck, today’s that day!! This right here is my Saturday. I start off pretty strong, but I go out with a bang. Haha. You shall see.

Big thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons, as per ush (pronounced “yoozsh”…ya know, like, the abbreviated revision of “usual”…how the heck are you supposed to spell that?!) for hosting this fabulouuus link-up par-tay.

On to the nommies!!

Breakfast: I love breakfast on the weekends!! I love being able to take a little bit of extra time to throw something special together, relax in my pjs, and just enjoy it. During the week, I eat breakfast at my desk at work while going through emails, so it’s really a nice to just sit and eat and do nothing else. This Saturday I threw together one of my favorite oatmeal concoctions. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear the ingredient: 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips!! I make this whipped banana style, slicing it really thin and mixing it right into the oats. I also mix in most of the peanut butter while I cook the oats, too. Then I top it off with a few reserved banana slices, some more peanut butters (because you can never have too much peanut butter) and chocolate chips. It’s decadent and amazing and I love it so, so, so much. In fact I just ate dinner (aka stuffed my face with mac & cheese because the hubby said “It’s Fat Tuesday, make something awesome” ) and now all I want to do is whip up a big pot of them. *sigh*

banana, pb, chia oatsI got up bright and early (which means about 7:30 on a weekend) on Saturday to make sure I had time to enjoy my oatmeal prior to my yoga class. I’m telling you, man, the more I yoga the more I love it and the more I know that I genuinely want to become an instructor after my baby is born. I’m absolutely in the love with the studio I’ve been going to and the instructors there are wonderful!! I took an hour and fifteen minute vinyassa to get my Saturday going and helped myself after to some Blackberry Sage tea for the road!! It’s perfection in a cup!!

tea for the roadLunch: We popped by the mall after my yoga class so I could get re-sized for a bra at Victoria’s Secret. #pregnancyproblems. Whaaaat a process. Really, the size I should be doesn’t exist. And they didn’t have what I wanted in the store. So I just got my “size” from a spectacularly helpful employee and went home and ordered everything online. C’est la vie. I was supppper hungry by the time I got home and showered. I had a leftover fajita burrito (Ya know, kinda like a burrito with no rice…plus all the stuff in fajitias. I make mine with chicken, black beans, peppers, onions, chipotles, and orange juice – among some other spices) but it was mostly beans so I was happy. I wrapped it up in a whole wheat tortilla with some melty cheese, topped it with salsa, and dug in fork and knife style. I also had some baby carrots for good measure, but I wound up sharing a few with Quincy.

fajita buttiro and carrots

Snack: My MIL and I had to snag some groceries for Sunday before the “big storm” hit. (Big storm, my fanny!! I wanted another snow day…I got like 3 inches. At least it’s almost Spring. Sigh. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.) On the way out I treated us to some coffee – decaf Hazelnut for this gal, please and thank you!! When we got home I also had what has become one of my new favorite snack obsessions – pistachios and blueberry flavored craisins (thanks a lot, Susan! lolz)!

wegmans coffeepistachios and craisins

Dinner: Saturday night the family and I attended a fundraiser dinner. It was the 7th Annual Angels for Alyssa Spaghetti Dinner. This is the 3rd year we’ve attended and we always have a great time! One of my mother-in-law’s dear friends from work is the Aunt of Miss Alyssa, a 15 year old girl who was prenatally diagnosed with a rare condition called methylmalonic acidemia (MMA). MMA prevents her body from metabolizing protein. It’s a very touching story, and we’re always more than happy to support Alyssa and her family as they work with their doctor to find a cure! Over the last 7 years they’ve raised over a half a million dollars for MMA research!! The fundraiser is quite a money maker – there is a live auction which is always exciting, a silent auction, and basket raffles!! This year Johnny and I didn’t win anything, but my MIL won a basket filled with Yankee Candles and a $50 visa gift card!! You get a TON of food, too. A big plate of spaghetti with meat sauce, bread and butter, salad, and a ridiculous array of dessert.

spaghetti dinner

Dessert: It’s always a hard time picking out dessert when there are sooooo many options. I wound up going with a plate of cookies – chocolate chip and peanut butter!! I also had a piece of chocolate peanut butter fudge, two fun sized Reese’s…and another peanut butter cookie Melinda brought me later!!

cookies!

We had a great time dancing a bit, too! There’s a live band that plays throughout the night and they just play classic rock. I loooooved how the dance floor was filled with people all night! That’s the sign of a good time! It’s pretty fantastic to have such fun while supporting such a wonderful cause!! I know we’ll be back next year.

Melinda, Johnny, and I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diiiiiidn’t I tell you that my weekend eats aren’t as spectacular as my weekday ones. Now you’ve seen proof!! If chocolate and peanut butter weren’t so perfect together I might have an easier time – but who cares really? One of my favorite philosophies of eating that I’ve seen floating around the interwebs essentially says that one bad day of eating won’t make you fat…just like one day of healthy eating won’t make you skinny!! Moderation is my motto. And sometimes, baby just wants a peanut butter cookie … or 3. 😀

Do you tend to eat more healthy or less healthy on the weekends?

What foods are your weakness that you can never say no to?? (Like how I can never say no to chocolate and peanut butter together!! )

 

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right – National Nutrition Month

G’day Mates!! Happy Tuesday!! I hope you’re all peachy-keen!! Me? I’m swell! I had a fabbbulous breakfast and I’m sippin’ on some tea (decaf earl gray, obvi), and I’ve decided it’s time to get serious with you for a moment!

I feel like some of you may know this already, particularly my fellow healthy living bloggers, but some of you may not.

March is National Nutrition Month!!

Never heard of it? Here’s a quick summary:

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. NNM also promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically based food and nutrition information. (http://www.eatright.org/NNM/#.UxXVVvmwJiI)

I think it’s pretty evident at this point in time that proper nutrition is something that I’m extraordinarily passionate about. I’ve decided to join in on the party again this year and share my two cents with you about this year’s theme:

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right!

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, consumer research has proven time and time again that taste trumps nutrition in the majority of consumer food purchases.

This seems like it’s pretty obvious to me.  Take McDonald’s, for example. According to Forbes, McDonald’s ended 2013 with “lackluster earnings” – a measly $7.09 billion, up 2% from their 2012 fourth quarter earnings. What this says to me as a health conscious consumer (not in any way, shape, or form from a business standpoint) is that even posting the nutrition facts on menus hasn’t seemed to deter consumers from eating less McDonald’s. As such, I believe it is imperative that we all realize that healthy, whole, nutrient rich foods are just as capable of being as delicious (even more delicious, actually!) as the processed junk that so many people gravitate towards.

Now please keep in mind that I am nothing if not realistic. I absolutely understand that, sometimes, it’s really hard to make a healthy choice. We’re too busy, or too tired, or too broke, or too anything…these are all factors that impact the choices we make in fueling our bodies.  It’s too often, I think, that we forget that that’s really what food is: fuel! It’s what we need to keep our bodies functioning at their optimal levels. We need food, tasty or not, to live and to thrive – regardless of how busy, tired, and broke we all are! It doesn’t need to be hard to do. If we all take a little time to educate ourselves and fuel our bodies properly with foods that we enjoy, I know that we could all live and thrive with smiles on our faces, happy taste buds, and healthy bodies.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that use real, whole ingredients and help me Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right!

Barbecue Chicken Tortilla Pizzas

IMG_20130102_203759

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Oatmeal

proats

Greek Salad

Grilled Chili Lime Shrimp with Mango Salsa

Honey Walnut Apple Crisp

apple crisp

My Favorite Chili Recipe Ever

chili!

Sweet and Spicy Pineapple, Black Bean Quinoa

sweetandspicypineapplequinoa

Tilapia Tacos with Southwest Slaw

tilapia tacos with southwest slaw

I hope you can find inspiration in these recipes!!
How are you celebrating National Nutrition Month??
And how do you Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right??