Just Another Manic Monday

Today has been quite the hectic day.  It was a Monday, first of all, which is certainly not my favorite day of the week. 

It actually started off well.  I awoke to immediately stick a roast, carrots, and an onion in the crockpot (does anyone still call it that???) along with a Lipton powdered soup mix and a cup of water so dinner would be ready when I got home.  Then I made myself a quick bowl of cereal for breakfast.DSC01304

In my bowl, I mixed Special K Vanilla and Almond, a handful of plain old fashioned oats, a sprinkle of flaxseed, a sliced banana, and some lowfat milk.

Lunch was just a simple turkey sandwich with reduced fat pepper jack and some spinach plus some yellow mustard.  I enjoyed an apple and some pineapple pieces dipped in some melted chocolate courtesy of the school principal and some coworkers.

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Next up is where the day turned into chaos.  I had to go to Walmart to purchase all of the materials needed for our Family Night tomorrow night at school.  I was there about two hours pushing a cart around that was entirely too heavy.  I then went back to work to unload my car on my own and deliver all of the materials to the other teachers.  The worst part is I had to go back to a different Walmart this evening to get some items that the other store was out of.  Needless to say, two Walmarts in one day equals not a good day.

I did snack on chips in salsa prior to the second visit to Walmart, but no picture was snapped.

Oh well, at least I did not have to worry about preparing dinner.

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I enjoyed my roast over some mashed potatoes that were cooked last night with potatoes from the hubby’s garden.

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To prepare them, I just mixed the boiled, tender potatoes with a container of 1/3 reduced fat onion and chive cream cheese and some milk using my handheld blender.

Well, I’m going to call it a night because I have work til 8 tomorrow night.  Good night all!

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Gorgonzola Chicken Alfredo Over Spaghetti Squash

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Gorgonzola Chicken Alfredo Over Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

1 small to medium spaghetti squash

1.5-2 lbs. chicken breast tenders

1 egg, beaten + tbsp. water

2 c Italian flavored panko bread crumbs

1 tbsp. canola oil

1 tbsp. flour

1 c skim milk

1/2 c gorgonzola cheese

1/4 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)

black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400*. Score squash with a knife in random spots all over squash.  Put whole squash on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes to an hour.

2. Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper to taste.  Dip each tender into egg/water mixture.  Coat tender in panko crumbs.  Place tenders on a broiler pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Lightly spray the top of the tenders with cooking spray.  Bake in oven 20-25 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165* is reached.

3.  While squash and tenders bake, mix oil and flour in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add milk stirring constantly.  Allow mixture to thicken to desired consistency.  Add gorgonzola cheese, 1/4 tsp. of salt, and pepper to taste.  Heat through.  (Add more milk if sauce gets too thick and reheat if necessary.)

4. Once squash is cooked, cut in half vertically.  Use a tablespoon to scoop out the seeded pulp in the center and discard.  Use a fork to scrape the tender flesh of the squash, which should resemble spaghetti.

5. To plate, add one cup of squash to plate.  Top with two tenders and two tablespoons of the gorgonzola alfredo sauce.  Enjoy!

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As for today’s eating:

I began with cereal with only a small splash of milk because I needed to get to the grocery and didn’t realize Chris drank until after pouring the cereal and slicing the overly-ripe banana.DSC01117 Lunch was a ham and muenster wrap with mustard, few spinach leaves that weren’t wilted, and pickles.  I enjoyed a sliced apple on the side.DSC01125

Snacking included this bar Mom brought back from Trader Joe’s Chicago location along with lots of other goodies.DSC01126

Tonight’s dinner included a fast and messy roast beef po’boy on french bread with reduced fat swiss, lowfat mayo and lettuce and tomato.  I had tutoring after work and needed to grocery shop, so Chris suggested this quick dinner.  I was so hungry I failed to snap a picture.

I have been craving cupcakes for several weeks now due to that darn show “Cupcake Wars.”  I made an attempt to bake some tonight, which do look pretty with the ganache like icing, but did not taste so pretty.  I managed to eat the tops of two (the icing was excellent), but most of the spongy cake stuck to the paper. 

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Actually underneath the icing lies deflated cupcakes; when I took them out of the oven they began to shrink.  I am not quite sure what happened, but obviously there will be no recipe sharing.  I shall try again some day.

Blackened Redfish Tacos

Hi friendly people!  I hope you had a nice, relaxing weekend!  I know I did.  I managed to read an entire book; I couldn’t put it down it was that good.  Now if you have an aversion to animal cruelty you may cringe at some points in the story, but it is totally worth the read.  The author thoroughly captivated me with her descriptive writings and believable storyline.  And I can’t wait until April 22nd for the movie to come out with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. 

Reading and lazing around didn’t consume the entire weekend.  I cut grass and did far too many loads of laundry.  Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike doing laundry?  It is not getting it to the washer.  Nor is it putting it in the dryer.  It is; however, the part that involves folding, hanging, and the most disliked of all is finding a drawer or empty space in the closet to stuff it into. 

Like I said, some things were enjoyable though.  Like these blackened redfish tacos.

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Blackened Redfish Tacos

Ingredients:

4 (6 ounce) redfish fillets, skin on

1 tbsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. ground red pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

4 whole wheat tortillas

1 cup broccoli slaw

2 tbsp. wholy guacomole

2 tbsp. 0% plain greek yogurt

optional toppings: reduced fat cheese, lettuce, tomato, salsa

Directions:

1. Combine thyme and next 6 ingredients through salt in small bowl.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium high heat.  Make sure you let it get hot; this is essential to the blackening process.

3. Meanwhile, brush filets with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub each with spice mixture.

4. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to pan.  Add fillets skin side up and cook for 3 minutes.  Flip skin side down and cook 3 to 4 additional minutes until fish flakes easily.

5. While fish cooks, mix broccoli slaw, guacamole, and greek yogurt in a bowl and set aside.

6. Remove fish from skins.  Top tortillas evenly with fish, 1/4 cup of broccoli slaw, and optional toppings if desired.

7. Roll up the taco and enjoy!

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I stayed up way too late last night finishing Water for Elephants, so I totally wanted to play hooky from work but that is unlike me so I went in after a bowl of cereal.

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Kashi Vanilla Island Wheat Squares, Praline Granola, Apple Cinnamon Baby Cereal, Cinnamon Almonds, and Sliced Banana with 1 % milk.  Plus I drank some hot mango green tea.

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I grabbed lunch in a jiffy from the cabinet—a can of Amy’s No Chicken Noodle Soup + Apple.  Here is a sneak peak into my lunch kit.

lunch Can you tell I was in a hurry?

After tutoring I had an apple pie larabar and a colby jack cheese stick.  Yesterday’s intended dinner turned into tonight’s since it wasn’t ready in time.  Chris slow cooked a boston butt pork roast on the grill yesterday for about 8 hours.  We ate it on sandwich thins topped with Hungry Girl’s Not- So- Secret BBQ Sauce, lowfat mayo, and spinach/arugula mix.  On side we shared some crispy oven baked fries.

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Currently, I am thinking about grabbing some hot tea as I watch “Bethenny Ever After.”  She cracks me up!  Have a good one!

Toilet Talk

Hello there! I hope you do not mind my veering away from food for a second, but I really need to get this off my chest while it’s in my head.  It does have something to do with health.  I’m talking about restroom habits, and not particularly about how regular or irregular one may be.  That is not my business, but I will say eating whole grains, fruits, and veggies can help with that sort of problem.  I’m talking more so in the sense of sanitary habits.

 

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I always use those toilet covers when they are available and they are so much more user friendly than covering the seat with strips of toilet paper as Mom taught me to do at a young age, but I never hear other people pulling them from the box in stalls next to me.  What’s up with that?  Do the majority of people squat or do they just not give a darn?  With squatting there is always the risk of missing which someone might have to sit on later.  No thanks!  Or, as in my case, I freeze up if I squat and I end up not being able to go.  Thank goodness, we don’t have these here in the U.S.—squat toilets.

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Second–really people, wash your nasty hands!  That grosses me out to no end when I see people walk out of the bathroom after using the restroom without washing their hands.  This happens all.the.time. at the gym nonetheless (where people are concerned with health).  I do not want to touch the cardio or weight machines after you just took a p*** or s*** for that matter and failed to wash.  It takes all of 20 seconds or the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song.  I learned that a while back in a medication training for when I have to administer medication to students at work.  Well, I guess everyone was not as fortunate to have a dad to fuss them if they didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.  That guy raised me right!

Done with that!  Let’s talk food now.

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I wasn’t feeling like cooking this a.m. so I had a quick cereal bowl-mixture of Kashi Heart to Heart, Kashi Vanilla Island Squares, Ground Flaxseed, handful of praline pecan granola, banana, and cup of low fat milk.

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Cup A Mango Green Tea

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Lunch was a homemade lunchable with sliced turkey, laughing cow wedges, Triscuits, on the verge to being bad celery stalks, and a nectarine that was traded out for the apple pictured below.

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After work I headed straight to the gym munching on this Almond Joy of a Bar below in the car.

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This honestly felt like I was eating a candy bar—sweet, coconutty texture, almonds, mmmm.  I didn’t miss the chocolate either.

After 45 sweaty minutes on the elliptical and stair climber I stretched, did some abdominals, and headed home with intentions to cook dinner.  To my surprise, I arrived home to a meal cooked by my husband.  Oh, how thankful am I!  I didn’t have to cook.

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Chris baked a maple and brown sugar pre-seasoned pork tenderloin.  These Hormel tenderloins are easy, lean, and delish plus they were buy one get one free so I have another in the freezer!  Sides included boxed mac~n~cheese and steamed peas.  Dinner is always better when I am not the one cooking it!  Thanks again to my hubby—much appreciated!

I’m off to rest!  This time change has got me feeling off the past three mornings, but I do like those lighting effects hitting my dinner plate above.  Night!

Smothered Potatoes and Sausage

Last night I wanted to cook something that did not take hours to cook, but was a home-cooked meal that would satisfy both me and my husband.  I remembered a coworker a few years back explaining what she was eating for lunch one day—leftover smothered potatoes.  The smothering technique involves cooking potatoes, meat, vegetables such as cabbage (smothered cabbage with pickled meat is an old favorite that Mom has cooked since I was a child) on low heat in a little bit of liquid in a covered saucepan.  Combining the smothered potatoes with the sweet Italian chicken sausage I purchased on Sunday made for a fulfilling, tasty meal.  I had a simple lettuce and tomato salad on the side topped with Newman’s Light Honey Mustard Dressing.

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Smothered Potatoes and Sausage

Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. garlic

1.5 lbs. fingerling potatoes, chopped in 1” cubes

1 lb. sausage of choice, sliced (I used sweet Italian chicken)

1/4 + 1/2 c. of water

Salt and white pepper to taste

Tony Chacherie’s Creole Seasoning

1/2 c. green onions, chopped

Directions:

1.) Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add onions and cook on medium low about ten minutes until tender.

2.) Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

3.) Next add sausage and 1/4 c. water.  Cook until browned.

4.) Add potatoes and 1/2 c. water.  Season with salt, pepper, and creole seasoning and stir.

5.) Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until potatoes are soft and almost creamy. 

6.) Stir in green onions, heat about 5 minutes more, and serve.

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Today’s Breakfast

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Kashi Heart to Heart, Kashi Vanilla Island Shredded Wheat, Flaxseed, Blueberries, and 1 c. lowfat milk + Chai Tea

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Lunch: Turkey, Reduced Fat Swiss, Spring Mix, Honey Mustard + McIntosh Apple + Cherry Tomatoes

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I ate an apple pie Larabar before tutoring to tide me over til I got home.  That did not do the trick because I came home and snacked on pumpernickel pretzel sticks with greek olive hummus.  Then I decided to take it easy and watched “The Town” (since Chris and I started it last night but did not finish because I fell asleep), which was recommended during lunchtime talk yesterday.  I totally enjoyed the romantic action packed movie.

As for my stress free evening, I continued in that route by heating up a Kashi Roasted Vegetable Pizza.  Another simple salad was eaten alongside my pizza slices.

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I think I need some hot chocolate to finish off the stress free night.

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf Remixed

DSC00414 Breakfast Cereal with 1/2 cup Kashi Heart to Heart, 1/2 cup Kashi Vanilla Wheat Squares, small sprinkle pecan praline granola, a few cinnamon almonds, sliced banana, 1/2 c blueberries, cup of lowfat milk

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I had a meeting away from school today so I got to go to lunch out…a looong lunch out at McAlister’s Deli.  I ordered a cup of veggie soup and a half of the sweet chipotle salad. I also added some crackers to go with the soup.

mcal After dropping a friend at the airport I headed to the gym for 50 minutes of cardio and some light stretching.  I did 22 minutes on the stair climber and 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Then I headed home to make some BBQ Turkey Meatloaf, which was much better than I remembered after making a few changes to the original.  See my changes below.

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I used half red bell and half yellow bell because that’s what I had.  I omitted the onion powder(because I am out), added 2 tsp. of curry powder, added 1 tbsp. garlic minced rather than garlic powder, added 2 tbsp. BBQ sauce to the mixture, and instead of store bought bread crumbs I crumbed my own in the processor from 2 slices whole wheat bread with ends removed.

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

1-1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey breast

1 medium bell pepper, chopped (from our garden)

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. curry powder

2 tbsp. hickory smoked mustard (dijon mustard may work too)

10 splashes of worcestershire sauce (more if desired)

1 whole egg

2 slices whole wheat bread, ends removed and processed into crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c BBQ sauce (2 tbsp. mixed with meat; 2 tbsp for topping)

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Mix all ingredients  except 2 tbsp. of BBQ sauce; hands work best.   Once mixed, put into loaf pan.  Top the loaf with  2tbsp. BBQ sauce.  Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until thermometer inserted reads 165*.

The result was a flavorful, tender loaf of ground turkey.  I had to go back for a second slice.  On the side, Chris and I split a baked sweet potato topped with a tsp. of Brummel & Brown and an oz. of reduced fat sharp cheddar.  Also, for some veg I blanched some green beans that were on their last leg about to be thrown in the compost pile. This dinner was delicious.

Currently, I am watching American Idol and there are some really great singers this season.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love to sing and when I was little I was often told how well I sang and forced to sing for friends and family.  I can still carry a tune, but due to lack of practice I don’t sing as well as I once did.

Are there any American Idol fans out there?

The Eyelash Predicament

I know that sounds weird, but I have been having this little predicament within the tiny strands above my eyes.  For a couple of months now, when it turns dark out my eyelashes begin to itch.

mel It doesn’t happen every single night, but more often than not.  What could it be?  Is it my makeup?  It still itches even after I wash my face at night.  Could it be a sign that I am tired?  I took a nap today and they still itch.  Perhaps it is my contacts?  I have been wearing the same type for many years and this just began recently.  Has this ever happened to you or should I be worried? :/

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Today was a lazy day at a math workshop, which left me completely sluggish.  I thought starting with breakfast would be a good thing, but it did not keep me full for long.  My stomach was growling at 9:00.  My unfilling breakfast consisted of:

A Cereal mix of 1/4 c Bear Naked Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola, a few raisins, a small handful of Kashi Vanilla Squares, 4 sliced strawberries, and 1/2 c 1% lowfat milk.  I also had hot chai.

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Since away from school today, my work friend was very nice and offered to treat me to lunch at Boudreaux’s Road House.  I ordered the soup and side salad combo.  Spicy chicken and sausage gumbo was ordered for warmth since the meeting room was so cold with a lettuce, tomato, cucumber, purple onion, and honey mustard simple salad.  Thanks again to Vickie for treating me to lunch!

When I got home I was feeling hungry/snacky so I started with a Satsuma picked from my sister’s tree…

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Followed by a peanut butter on whole wheat tortilla wrap.

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As for dinner, Mom cooked Monday Red Beans on Tuesday, so I ran drove over to her house [with containers in tow].  For some reason, Chris thought Mom omitted sausage from her beans and he picked some up at the store to grill.  So we had lots of sausage, red beans and rice, and cornbread.

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The real deal…

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I could have done without all of the extra sausage, but it was scrumptious nonetheless.