Celebrations Abound

Today is a big day for our city’s football team!  The start of the new season has arrived and there are celebrations taking place all around New Orleans including second lines, concerts, parades, and the like.  People are sure to be seen walking the streets in their Brees #9 jerseys, Bush # 25 jerseys, or simply donning the black and gold, baby!  (Bobby Hebert, former Saint’s player and current radio host, always adds “baby” at the end of his statements in his heavily Cajun accent, so I was emulating him in the latter sentence for those of you who are not from here.)  And an abundance of fleur de lis will be making a debut as well in the form of jewelry, stickers, bedazzled shirts, jeans, purses, scarves that have been screenprinted, drawn, or designed in some way or another.

Today, I joined in the chorus and wore my semi-bedazzled “Saints” shirt (thanks to my sis-in-law, Amy, for the shirt) along with my fleur de lis jewelry just as all, but maybe four of my coworkers did.

Before heading off to work, I fixed up a yogurt bowl due to my need for something quick and cold.  In the mix was a Fage Strawberry with a 1/4 cup of granola, and a handful of raspberries.

In the Mix

Enjoyed with Earl Grey Green Tea

For lunch, I threw together a fruit and veggie salad mix of romaine, squash, bell pepper from the garden, carrots, avocado, and strawberries.  The ounce of peanuts were just the right “icing on the cake” to make my salad extra special.  I topped my salad with Light Raspberry Vinaigrette.

For some extra carbs and fiber I ate some Triscuit Thin Crisps.

Just before leaving work, I ate a homemade King Bar (see Recipes if interested), much like a Larabar.

You might notice my sub plans for tomorrow in the background above.  I certainly did not go out partying for the Saint’s and need off, but I do have some exciting news and my own celebrating to do with my family tomorrow so stay tuned.

About thirty minutes prior to leaving work it began raining, torrentially.  So I tried to wait it out, but knew if I waited any longer I probably would not make it home due to flooding that happens so quickly here.  New Orleans and its surrounding cities are below sea level; thankfully, we have the levees protecting us from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River.  Nonetheless, I made my way to my normal route home along River Rd. and came to flooded waters.  I saw about five cars stalled, so I made a rapid decision that I needed to turn around.  But due to the meandering of flooded water and chain of trucks behind my small car I could not turn around.  With a nervous shaking foot I reversed on the heightened hill of the levee until I was able to turn around.  Once back to the main expressway, the rain shortly stopped and opened up to sunlit skies.  Then it was smooth sailing to all the way to the gym.

Today’s cardio consisted of 30 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the bike, and 10 minutes of stretching/abdominal work  all while watching Food Network for some inspiration with dinner.

Though I did not see anything I wanted to fix on the Food channel, I knew i wanted some type of party style food to go along with all the Saints’ festivities–not that I would be attending any.  On my way home I decided to attempt BBQ Hamburger Sliders.

Using a pound of organic lean ground beef, I formed five miniature patties that were seasoned with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and BBQ sauce.  Now I know hamburgers normally contain egg to eliminate crumbling, but I was all out.  So I gave it a shot regardless of the missing egg.  I did in fact have crumbling as I pan fried my patties in Canola Oil, anyhow they came out just as tasty as I expected.  For a little something special, I caramelized some onion in the same oil used for the patties.  Before plating the sliders, I absorbed as much oil from the patties and onions as possible using paper towels.  I used whole wheat toast as my bun by cutting a square to size for the bottom and using one of the curved edges of the toast for the topper.  I layered toast, dijonaise, romaine, burger, a smidge more of BBQ sauce, onions, and toast to get these beauties.

Three of the sliders were for hub and two for me with some squash fries roasted at 400* for 25 minutes.

My Slider Plate

I added a dill chip to each of my sliders and chowed down.

I’ve been reading about the use of Canola Oil and cannot seem to get a straight answer as to whether it is healthy or not.  It is a monounsaturated fat which is a “heart healthy” fat; however, much research states the chemical make up can be changed when heated and can become a “bad” fat.  Additionally, a study was done in which it was fed to rats; and those rats seemed to have more cases of hypertension, heart disease, and shorter life spans.  Generally, I use olive oil when cooking, but figured I would go with Canola for the sliders.

As for my meal, I think overall it was a much more healthified version than say….Applebee’s or Chili’s sliders–but I still got the taste of party fare that I so craved in honor of my Saints.

Saints–1 & 0, baby!

Question of the Night:  What are your thoughts on using Canola Oil for frying food?  Healthy or unhealthy?

Advertisements

Blast From the Past

Waking up this morning I was so happy because it was Friiiiday!  I was ready for the two day break to catch up on some sleep, since I’ve been averaging between 5 to 6 hours a night.  Although at times when I get more than that I feel more groggy waking up.  Next I headed to the kitchen for some breakfast deciding on an oikos blueberry greek yogurt bowl with a small ripened banana, half of an unripened tough peach because I stuck it in the fridge immediately after purchasing rather than let it sit out, and about half cup of uncooked rolled oats.

All Mixed Up, Don't Know What To Do

Lunch was then thrown together–a deli flat sammie with Hormel nitrate free oven roasted turkey, L.C. Light Swiss Cheese Wedge, side of carrot sticks and strawberries and the other half of my peach from breakfast.

When I got home from work I had a snack craving for some salty junk food.  I had a blast from the past appear in my mind.  Going back to my elementary days, my older sister, Michelle, and I would come home from school and always have a snack or two or three or four before enjoying Mom’s home-cooked meal.  Snacks didn’t spoil my appetite; I was a clean your plate so it doesn’t even need to be washed kind of girl.

One of my favorite snacks (as I always loved anything with cheese and still do) was when we poured approximately half a bag of oh so nacho cheesy, stain your finger orange Doritoes on a large plate and covered them with a massive pile of shredded cheddar cheese to be heated up in the microwave {sometimes topping with sour cream and jalapenos, other times devoured alone}.  So I thought to myself, I can still have my cake cheese and eat it too!  On a small salad plate, I poured a reasonable 15 organic all natural blue corn tortilla chips and topped them with bits of one Sargento Reduced Fat Colby Jack Cheese Stick.  After heating in the microwave until cheese was melted, I added a few jalapenos sporadically atop the chips.  Healthified version–I would say so.  And it gave me all the flavor of the original. 🙂

**************************************************************************

While we are on a “blast from the past”  I thought I would share some of my more recent past with you….going back to February 2007, my wedding.

Of course we have to start with the rehearsal dinner.  It was held at what began as a local restaurant serving Mediterranean/”Inspired American Food”,  Zea’s Rotisserie & Grill.  They now have several franchise locations outside of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area including New Mexico and Florida.  The food is rather delicious and includes a variety of flavors from Thai to Greek.  I don’t have photos of the food, but please enjoy viewing me and some of my family from the night.

My Hubby and I

(He doesn’t really wear bow ties!! It was actually from a gag gift from our shower with a matching set of men’s penguin briefs.)

My Beautiful Mother & Me Slurping Down a Mojito

Michelle with Husband, Duke

Michelle, Chris, and Me...Why Does He Look So Uncomfortable? 😉

Blurry Photo of Dad, Sorry

After my 15 minute elliptical, 30 minute weights session, and 10 minute elliptical work out, I conveniently stopped at Zea’s tonight to pick up dinner to go.  My whole point of going was to get a spinach salad with blue cheese, cranberries, pepper jelly vinaigrette, the same one served at the Rehearsal Dinner.  But upon getting home I realized I was given the “Zeasar” Salad instead.  What a bummer!  I did pick up some other things for the hubby and I to share as well–the Mediterranean Hummus with feta, calamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and roasted garlic (also served at the dinner), and a philly steak panini–thought hubby would enjoy.

The Zeasar Salad

The Mediterranean Hummus

Philly Steak Panini--Hubby grabbed one before I even snapped the photo.

My Plate

After dinner chocolate

Onto Our Wedding Day, February 17, 2007

Mom, Me, Dad

At hotel

Michelle and Me

St. Agnes Catholic Church

Cake Tease

And finally the honeymoon–A Cruise Aboard the Fantasy to Mexico

Sailing Away

In Our Fantasy Suite

Sight-Seeing

So we are not so good at getting pics of us together, but this one is from the first night at dinner–a pic of a pic.

My Night Cup of Chai Tea With a Bit of Nostalgia from Our Honeymoon Cruise to Mexico

That was my first cruise and would love to go back.  I love how it can be just as relaxing or just as adventurous as you wish.  We did enjoy a beach visit at one stop and power snorkeling at another.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos! 🙂

Question:  1. What is your go to snack when you crave junk food?  2. Have you ever been on a cruise and would you go again?

Honey, Where Are You?

When I awoke this A.M., I was feeling something warm for breakfast.  So I heated up a packet of Kashi Instant Honey and Cinnamon Hot Cereal.  I topped it with a sliced banana, a handful of blueberries, and a teaspoon of almond butter.  I had some hot chai tea on the side.  It hit the spot though my oatmeal wasn’t very warm once topping with cold nut butter and frozen blueberries, oh and snapping a couple of photos.

Lunch was similar to dinner last night– a turkey wrap.  But I did not go the mexican route.  I had two slices of Hormel Oven Roasted Turkey, L.C. Light Swiss Wedge, and spring mix all rolled up on a whole wheat tortilla.  On side I had some grape tomatoes and Chobani Non-Fat Greek Yogurt with Honey.

I bet you thought my title had to do with my hubby.  Nope, I was actually talking about my Chobani Greek Yogurt with Honey.  Side note:  I do not call the hubby “honey.”  Generally, he is either babe or boop, or Chris/Christopher.  He really hates when I call him Christopher though.  But seriously, where is the honey?  I do not taste it!  I do not see it!  I want more of it!  I need to contact the Chobani peeps and let them know they can’t call it “with Honey” if there is no inkling of honey.  If not I am going to have to stick with Fage Honey.  It makes my experience so much more tastier when I can scoop up some of that sticky, thick honey on the tip of my spoon and then scoop some of the yogurt on top.  Then I have to use my teeth to scrape the honey off of the spoon due to its gooey texture.  Mmmm, it is making my mouth water thinking about it.

After work I enjoyed a couple of snacks–a Kashi Dark Chocolate and Cherry Chewy Granola Bar and a handful of sweet, crimson-colored cherries.

After snack time and a short visit to the computer to catch up on some reading, I headed to the gym to pump some iron.  I did 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, 30 minutes of strength training on the weight machines, and ended with 15 minutes on the treadmill.  Felt good to get a full hour.  I feel like I’ve been slacking since going back to work last week.

Tonight I intended to fix beef fajitas with a corn and black bean side salad.  But I decided not to use my store-bought fajita kit and instead make up a Mexican Fiesta Bowl for dinner.

I started by browning the thinly sliced angus beef chuck in a tbsp. of olive oil.  Once browned I drained off the liquid/oil and added half a packet of store bought taco seasoning and 3/4 cup of water.  I also added 1/2 of a sliced onion and a small sliced bell pepper from the garden.  That simmered away until the veggies were tender.

Meanwhile, I cooked some whole grain brown rice.  Once the rice was cooked I added a bag of frozen corn that was sitting out for about fifteen minutes or so and a can of rinsed reduced sodium black beans.  Next I added a diced hot, red chile pepper from the garden and some grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise.  Naturally, some seasonings were needed.  I used approx. 1 tsp. of ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. of chile powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  To be honest no measuring was done, but I did taste a couple bites as I added the seasonings.

For my Mexican Fiesta Bowl, I layered a large cooking spoonful of the rice mixture, a few slices of beef, a spoon of onion/bell peppers, about a tbsp. of Sargento Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend, and a dollop of light sour cream.  I was satisfied with how well and easily this meal came together.

Question of the Day:  First, what is your favorite type of yogurt?  Secondly, have you ever contacted a food company to make a suggestion about their product?

My favorite regular yogurt is Yoplait Light White Chocolate Strawberry ( probably not the greatest due to the aspartame) and my favorite Greek Yogurt (which I am currently on a Greek Yogurt Fix only) is Fage Honey.  And I have never contacted any food companies about their products.

“Beef–It’s What’s For Dinner”

Dinner tonight was quick and easy–Beef Terriyaki. 

Beef Terriyaki Recipe

1 pound beef sirloin tip steak

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 onion sliced

1 bell pepper sliced

4-6 tablespoons of beef terriyaki sauce with about 15 calories per tblsp. (low sodium)

salt and pepper

Marinate beef steak in 4 tblsp. sauce for at least an hour or overnight.  Heat oil in pan over medium/high heat.  Place beef in pan and brown for 3-5 minutes.  Flip and brown 3-5 minutes more or until desired doneness.  Remove cooked beef to serving plate.  Cover with foil and let beef rest 15 minutes before slicing into thin strips.  Next, add onion and bell pepper to pan to cook down until tender.  Add 1/4 cup of water if more liquid is needed.  Also, add 1 or 2 tablespoons more of terriyaki sauce if desired.  Salt and pepper onions and bell pepper to taste.  While veggies simmer, slice the beef into thin strips.  Pour veggies and sauce over sliced beef steak.  Serve over brown rice with steamed broccoli or veggie of choice on the side.

Beef Terriyaki Over Brown Rice

My plate is above:  I ate 2/3 cup of whole grain brown rice, about 4 ounces of beef, 1/2 cup of onion and bell pepper with tblsp of sauce, and about 1 1/2 cups of steamed mixed vegetables.  Yum, yum!