Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Winter is here and evident– The weather temperatures are in the forties, my hands are red and dry, it is so cold it hurts.  The frigid temperatures don’t stay long around here in southeastern Louisiana, so when it is this cold out it is quite the adjustment.

Waking up this a.m. all I wanted was some warming oatmeal.

DSC00865 DSC00860

My oatmeal was cooked on the stove for 5 minutes on medium heat including:

~1/4 c old fashioned oats

~1/4 c water

~1/4 c low fat milk

~mashed banana

~pinch of salt

~dash of vanilla

~generous dash of cinnamon

I crumbled a small date, pecan, chocolate chip muffin on top with a spoonful of peanut butter.  I also sipped a mug of soothing mango black tea.


Ummm, I need to invest in some winter placemats; please forgive my continuous fall colors.  😉

Lunch was more of my delicious gumbo with a crisp apple.


I did add some water during the reheating to make it more soupy.  This picture was snapped fresh out of the refrigerator so looks slightly thick.


After work today I headed home and decided to forego working out for a nap.  I felt sore from yesterday’s workout and worn out.  So after my snack, I took an hour nap.  I enjoyed the rest of my favorite hummus with some baby carrots.  I also had a few miniature chocolate peanut butter cups Mom brought back from her first trip to Trader Joe’s Chicago back in September.


Tonight’s dinner was requested by Chris.  I told him I had ground beef and pork chops and asked him what he wanted for dinner.  He requested chili.  And of course with this chilly weather, I obliged with his request.  Using jarred tomato basil sauce and the recipe on the back of the chili powder I made the chili with a few adjustments.  I’ve made this twice before and Chris thoroughly enjoys it.


 Chili Recipe (my changes in parentheses)

1 pound lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil (added)

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. cumin, ground

1 tsp. salt (more added to taste)

cayenne pepper to taste (added)

2 tbsp. honey (substituted this for sugar)

1 1/2 cup tomato basil sauce (substituted this for 8 oz. canned, plain sauce)

2 tbsp. ketchup (added)

1 1/2 cup water (original called for 1 cup)

1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (added)

Optional toppings: pita chip crumbs, greek yogurt, cheese (added)

Directions:  Heat oil in large saucepan.  Saute’ onions, garlic, and beef until browned.  Drain any excess liquid.  Add remaining ingredients and stir.  Cook on medium low for 30 minutes.  Plate and top with desired toppings.

I ate my chili with a dollop of 0% greek yogurt and some multigrain pita crumbs. (I knew I saved that bag of crumbs for a reason.)


This chili recipe is super simple, super filling, and super comforting especially when the cold winter air is in full swing.

What is your “go to” cold weather meal?


Back to Life, Back to Reality

Back to work today!  All during the night that song was playing in my head, so I couldn’t sleep. Ugh!  Here’s the song in case you’re not aware of the 80’s hit by Soul II Soul.

So this morning I was not a happy camper when I arose at 5:45 to get ready for my first day back to school from the summer vacation.  I started with an almond butter and peach sammie with a sprinkle of cinnamon atop and Oroweat whole wheat sandwich thin.

Almond butter + Sweet Peach Half

Next I got ready and headed out on my 40 minute drive for my Back to School Staff Development Day.  By 12:00 my stomach was doing some serious talking.  Thank goodness lunch had arrived! 🙂

For lunch I enjoyed a spinach salad with celery, carrot, 1/4 fuji apple, yellow cherry tomatoes, feta, and 2 tbsp. of light raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  Mmmm, it was so refreshing and satisfied my hunger pangs.

Pretty Salad

And on the side–the other half of my peach from breakfast and a handful of blackberries.

Fresh Fruit

Late afternoon it was time for a snacky-snack, the second of my three Larabars I picked up at Whole Foods last Thursday.

PB & J

Whew!!! Today was a rough adjustment back into the swing of things.  I got home after work and began a little tidying of the house and needed another snack.  I must have been a bit hungry because it did not cross my mind to get a picture of my two slices of Hormel nitrate free turkey and Sargento light string cheese.  <Input image here> Two round slices of turkey wrapped around a tubular stick of string cheese<Embed image> 😉

Now onto dinner–a southern [stated in my most stereotypical southern voice as heard on TV] classic.  Shrimp and Grits.

I used Quaker 5 Minute Grits on the stovetop and added some Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese and garlic powder along with salt and pepper.  For the shrimp, I started by sauteing them on the stove in canola oil with salt, red pepper flakes, and dried rosemary.  Just before putting the pan in the oven I added a few splashes of worcestershire sauce.  The shrimp were baked until done.  Also, for some veggie action I roasted some squash with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary.

Lovin My Plating ❤

Up Close and Personal

The shrimp and grits came together quite quickly.  The longest part was the roasting of the veggies, which I didn’t mind getting a couple of other chores done while they roasted.  And roasting lately is my fave way to cook vegetables.  I wonder if it alters the nutritional value much!?!  Any nutritionists out there reading?  Please let me know.

I was thoroughly satisfied with my meal tonight, but I know in days, weeks, months to come I will be unable to answer that all too elusive question–what’s for dinner?  Now that I am back into the reality of my life I need to get back into a comfortable groove and figure out how to balance everything–socializing, working, cleaning, cooking and eating healthy, exercising.  And I don’t even have kids yet!  I’m scared!

Question of the Day:  How do you balance heading a household, working, and managing your healthy lifestyle?  Do you have any tips or ideas on how to accomplish all that needs to be done on a daily basis when it feels that there is just not enough time in the day?

Green Monster Take 1

This morning I woke up at 9:00, but was not hungry for b-fast.  So I opted to make and drink some coffee (which I did not enjoy, just didn’t taste good today) and  wait a while to see if I would be in the mood for some FOOD.  The morning rolled on as I read my emails, read some blogs, read the news on, and checked out some other websites.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the net time just flies by.  By now it was around 11 o’clock and I decided I needed to get movin’.  I threw on some clothes and took Niko, the german shepherd, and Herbie, the shitzu/puggle, for a walk.  We went around two blocks and by that time I could tell that fatso Herbie was ready to get home due to the scorching heat and the fact that older brother, Niko, was practically running as lil’ Herbs tried to keep up.  So the last block I joined in the run home and thankfully Herbie made it too.

By now both the dogs and I were ready for some lunch.  I mixed up the dogs’ food and decided on a turkey taco salad for myself.  Into my small casserole dish, I added about 1 cup of romaine, about 1 cup baby spinach, 6 grape tomatoes, 4 slices (1 serving) of deli smoked turkey, 1 stick of reduced fat cheese broken into crumbles, 2 tblsp of hot salsa, 1 tblsp of light sour cream, and about 7 blue corn chips crumbled on top.  Can we say Mmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm!?!?  Take a look for yourself; I bet it will make you want some Mexican!  And the salsa and sour cream provides a nice dressing for about 30 calories rather than 130 of one of those full fat, creamy dressings.  So that entire salad is less than 300 calories and tastes much more fresh than one you could get at a fast food joint for over triple the amount of calories.

Giant salad


And after the salad:

Thick, creamy greek yogurt

After lunch, I decided to tackle the Green Monster–not the green monster smoothie that I’ve read about in many other foodie blogs, but the Green Monster otherwise known as my backyard.  The grass really needed to be cut and I thought it would be a nice surprise for the hubby.  So out in the near 100* heat I went and cut the grass.  After about 35 minutes I was done and needed something to cool down.  So I next attempted the green monster known as a smoothie.  Into the blender went a handful of spinach, a banana, 7 strawberries + 1 for garnish, 1/2 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, a cup of water, and 4 ice cubes.

I blended away to get none other than this.

Not so much of a green monster after all, more like a pink/brown monster.  Oh well, better luck next time.  It looks prettier in the pictures than what it looked like in real life.  Just so you know, I couldn’t taste the spinach at all.

I needed a snack a little while later after cleaning and mowing and walking.  Wheeew!

Celery + Carrots + Red Pepper Hummus

Got these bad boys at the grocery yesterday and chopped them earlier to have on hand in the fridge for a simple, healthy snack.  I’m always much more willing to eat ’em if they are chopped and easily accessible right front and center of the fridge.  Can I get a hoorah for the veggies?!?  🙂

The boys were pooped too after the grass cutting episode.  See–