It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Aaaahhh! Finally the gorgeous 70* weather has arrived.  The weather allowed for plenty of outdoor activities.

Lunch with Mom on Saturday al fresco…

lemon tart Best part was the mini lemon tart at La Madeleine’s and Mom eating hers.

mom Isn’t she cute? 😉

And feeding some birdies while we enjoyed the weather.

birds After eating, we also went on a small adventure—a car chase hunt in search of the 15 cop cars that were chasing one speeding black truck, but we never found them. 

Saturday night Chris and I met some friends out at StepBrothers Bar and Grill to celebrate my friend Chantel’s 30th birthday.

chantel Somehow I keep forgetting my camera for important events.  For instance, Chris and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary this past Thursday on February 17.  We did go out to dinner to celebrate, but I managed to leave home without my camera and my phone.  Maybe that wasn’t a bad thing though.

Cooking was also involved in my weekend.  I made these oatmeal chocolate chip muffins with some changes that I may post at a later date.  I am still deciding if I like them enough to share the recipe.


Check out the Halloween muffin cups since I was short a couple and that’s all that was left in the cabinet.

On Sunday, with the beautiful weather Chris decided to grill up some chicken for dinner and I made a rice-veggie-cashew side dish.  It was a delicious meal.

DSC00454 The chicken was marinated in red pepper flakes, orange pineapple juice, and salt and pepper.DSC00456

As for today–

I had a muffin and greek yogurt with blueberries and honey.


Simple lunch–


I managed to eat too much of my favorite hummus and chips after work.


And bean and chicken enchiladas were made for dinner using some of last night’s chicken.


I made the enchilada sauce following this recipe, but it was definitely not as tomato-y as I prefer since it required no tomato ingredient. 

DSC00473 The consistency was good, but flavor-wise it was just okay.  It was worth a shot, but I am still on the hunt for a better one.

Until next time…good night!


Food Network, Humor Me Please

I’ll admit that I am a big fan of most all of the Food Network hosts and their shows.  They each have their own unique idiosyncrasies in which some can be annoying and others I’ve grown to accept and like.  For instance one that annoys me to no end, Ina Garten’s continual references to “good” chocolate or “good” cooking oil.  Really, that gets on my nerves; what qualifies as “good,” Ina? 

When I ran across this blog today I could not stop myself from cracking up.  The Food Network Humor website was launched in January of 2009 aiming to poke fun at the network’s hosts and shows viewed daily by millions.  Take a look at the humorous website when in need of a laugh to:

1. See how inappropriate some of the hosts actually are.

2. See how unoriginal some of the hosts actually are.

3. See how vicious some of the hosts actually are.

4. See how judgmental some of the hosts actually are.

5. See how loved some of the hosts actually are.

I hope you find the site as entertaining as I have.


I know I have been away from blogging for a while, but that hasn’t stopped me from eating or cooking.

A couple breakfasts the past few days:


Sandwich thin with Brummel & Brown and seedless raspberry preserves and yogurt


Pancakes using Brittney’s Recipe topped with blueberry compote and melted peanut butter—yummy!


Today’s Breakfast—Barley Porridge

A few lunches here and there…


Fried egg on top garden veggie burger and roasted green beans


Salad with chicken, strawberries, feta, balsamic, and olive oil


Today’s lunch—turkey and swiss melted at work, bell and olive hummus, and satsuma

And some of my dinners recently…


Chicken noodle soup from freezer with buttered (Brummel & Brown) crackers


Homemade lean beef meatballs and gravy over whole wheat spaghetti


For tonight’s dinner, I used leftover whole wheat pasta to make alfredo pasta using lowfat milk, plain greek yogurt, reduced fat chive and onion cream cheese, laughing cow light swiss, and grated parmesan.  The bell peppers were stuffed with green onion chicken sausage removed from the casings.

Of course there has been snacking the past week with lots of chips + hummus, fruit, yogurt, larabars, almonds, etc. but have eluded any pictures.

Don’t forget to have a laugh here! 🙂

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.

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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?

Carb Overload

Normally, if given the choice between a big slice of chocolate cake or salty potato chips, I would always choose the chips.  But lately, my sweet tooth has been running ramped;  I cannot get enough sweets.

It started shortly after the first grade multicultural/Thanksgiving feast on Thursday where I loaded my plate up with carbs due to lack of other choices offered.


Turkey and Cranberry, Spring Roll, Rice, Rice, and More Rice—the only veggies I saw offered were peas so I piled some on. 🙂

I had a meeting after work Thursday and came home to dinner prepared by Chris—more CARBS.  I made a side salad to add some veggies.

DSC00545 DSC00549

He made a tasty pasta dish using whole wheat pasta, smoked sausage, miniature frozen scallops, chives from the garden, white wine, lemon juice, olive oil, spices, and parmesan sprinkled on top.  It was delicious and I appreciate him cooking dinner; now that he has switched to the day shift I hope he can do this from time to time.  It is a big help on the days I work late.

Simple side salad with balsamic vinaigrette…


Since Chris told me he was fixing dinner and he asked me to stop to get Parmesan cheese, I decided to surprise him with dessert.


He stole his turtle before I could snap the picture.  And here’s mine.


I knew should have only chose one—turtles OR petit fours, not both because after eating my turtle I wanted the petit four too!


Why not splurge now and then!?!  The husband felt the need to pick up my camera and take pictures of me devouring my petit four.

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Ok, that’s enough already…. is what I am saying without actually saying it.

And since this day, my sweet tooth continued.  So Friday I baked some brownie bites using a brownie boxed mix combined with a can of pumpkin and two tablespoons of cocoa powder to get some super moist cookie sized brownies that look like something my dog you may not want to eat.  But they are super moist, sweet, choclatey, and addictive.


After eating them Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday I decided to throw the rest away today.  Though they were super tasty, I do not need to eat the whole box.  And I had to force Chris to try it; he agreed they tasted great but did not look appetizing.

For the record, I do not fear carbohydrates like so many people on the no-carb diet.  I understand that carbohydrates are needed by the body for energy and cannot cause weight gain.  Additionally I know that I should be consuming the more complex carbs rather than simple.  But either way, it is the calorie overload that causes weight gain, not carb overload.  I did have mopre of those simple carbs this weekend, but I know I can soon get back on the right track to healthy eating.

Here are today’s eats.

Still sweet, but better for me oatmeal.


In the mixture:

~1/4 c each of oats, water, lowfat milk

~mashed small banana

~generous sprinkling of cinnamon

~quick dash of nutmeg

~2 tbsp canned pumpkin stirred in at end

~1 tsp peanut butter

~small handful of granola

Lunch included a sliced kiwi, greek olive hummus on whole wheat toast, and roasted acorn squash.

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I finally made it to the gym after a week off.  Well actually I did do 30 minutes of cardio and weights on Friday, but I went today as well.  I did 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by 20 minutes on the bike.  I ended my workout session with 5 minutes of stretching. 

I stopped to browse at TJ Maxx and left with some goodies.


White Chocolate Raspberry Coffee, Kona Coffee, German Honey, another jar of Seedless Black Raspberry Preserves, and Roasted Garlic & Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce

I had to try out the German Honey on some Greek Yogurt right when I got home.  The last time a lady recommended the preserves, she also told me about the German Honey.


She said it was nothing like American honey, but honestly I could not taste the difference.

Dinner tonight came together quickly once the lean ground beef was defrosted.  Tacos were made and devoured along with some corn.


I was all out of lettuce, and it wasn’t quite the same without, but it was still delish.  I added some chopped avocado, tomatoes, reduced fat colby jack cheese, light sour cream, and taco sauce to my beef tacos.  The corn was eaten with Brummel & Brown yogurt spread and salt.  Chris made his plate after me and he mixed it all into a taco bowl; I wish I would have thought of that—bummer!!

As for some of my other eats this weekend….


The highlight of my weekend was going to the Saints vs. Seahawks game on Sunday.  I had a spicy bloody mary with some white beans and chicken sausage, with a breadstick.  After half time I had a cinnamon pretzel.  I think my choices were better than say…nachos and chicken tenders which would have been first choice in my past.DSC00595

Mom, Chris, and I had a blast at the game and what made it better—the WIN!! Who Dat!

Are there any foods you fear eating?

A Taste of the Holidays

The cool weather this weekend has put me in the holiday spirit and reminded me that in two short weeks I’ll be off of work an entire week for the Thanksgiving holidays.  I.Can’t.Wait!  The winter holidays are my favorite time of year with the aromas of wood burning fireplaces and Christmas trees filling the air, festive decorations, comforting home-cooking, and spending time with loved ones.  On Saturday, Mom and I attended the Pontchartrain Holiday Arts and Craft Show.  We go just about every year to see mostly the same types of jellies, dip mixes, wooden yard signs, wreaths, jewelry, and much more. 

At the show I sampled way too much of these and did not buy one of them.

IMG_0179 IMG_0177

All Kinds of Pepper Jellies including Crawfish Pepper Jelly and Mayhaw Pepper Jelly of The Ole Homestead out of Gilbert, LA.  Plus all sorts of mayonnaise/ sour cream based dips with pretzel sticks from spinach dip to garlic dip to Mardi Gras dip, which is a Cajun flavored spicy dip.  They were all tasty, but what I enjoyed the most and had to have (because I knew I would actually use it and not store it in the cabinet for years like some of the dip and soup mixes purchased two years ago) to top on my oatmeal was Sweet Potato Pecan Butter.


I actually baked a homemade Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecan topping on Friday and topped my oatmeal this morning with it.


Sunday breakfast—steel cut oats made with banana, cinnamon, milk, and water.  I guess sweet potatoes are on my brain since we still have a bunch to use up, so fittingly I purchased the sweet potato butter which tastes a lot like this pie.  More on the pie in another post.

The arts and craft show was not just about food, though it seemed many people just go for the sample tastings.  There was also tons of jewelry for sale at the show as well.


Saints and Fleur de Lis paraphernalia out the Ying-Yang!

Handmade Wooden Yard Signage


Christmas Decor, the Door Wreath I Purchased


As always, Mom and I shared some freshly roasted New Orleans Praline Pecans.  They were sweet and hot right out the pan.


To recap the rest of my Saturday eats:

Breakfast was a hunk of Sweet Potato Pie with a cup of Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

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Lunch was sandwiches for two—one for Chris and one for me. 


Whole Wheat Toast topped with Greek Olive Hummus, Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, Grape Tomatoes, Spring Mix, Sliced Cucumbers, Sliced Bell Peppers, Salt & Pepper


Chris said this very well could be his favorite sandwich of all times and he wants me to make it “everyday.”  I agree it was scrumptious though I am sure he and I would both tire of it if eaten every day.

Later in the day I tried my first pomegranate.  Julie was right when she warned her readers that there will be ruby red pomegranate juice all over the place when dissecting a pom to get to the beautiful, crunchy, juicy little arils.  I was worried, though, about the staining power, but the juice easily wiped up from my white countertops with water.


Wish I had this hunk of jewels as a ring; the arils look like beautiful, glistening gemstones.


My pomegranate provided me with hundreds of the juice bursting arils.  When you bite down on one of them a burst of juice explodes in your mouth.  They are a fun, little snack to chomp on.


Shortly after dark, husband and I decided to head out to try Prime Time Seafood and Steak House down the street from our house.  It has been there for a while, but we were hesitant to try it since they hardly ever look packed.


The outside looks a bit old-fashioned, but the inside has been freshly renovated to a modern sophistication with dim lights.  The hostess greeted us kindly and proceeded to seat us at a white linen covered table.  The dining tables were very close together, so Chris asked if we could sit in a booth where our request was welcomed.

To start, we had the stuffed mushrooms, which our waitress claimed she ate them everyday because they are that good.

IMG_0184  They were deep fried and served with ranch dressing, although the menu stated they came with hollandaise sauce.  When asked about the substitution, Angie, our waitress, stated most people do not eat the hollandaise and that they go better with the in-house made ranch dressing anyway.  I’m not a fan of hollandaise, so it was no problem for me.  And Chris couldn’t get enough of the ranch.  I had two of the fried mushroom stuffed balls with a couple slices of crusty, hot French bread as well.  The mushroom pieces seemed to be sliced on the inside of the fried breading, so being called stuffed mushrooms was somewhat deceptive, but the flavor was delicious.  I think it is difficult to mess up a “stuffed mushroom.”  I can’t recall ever having a bad one.

For my meal, I ordered the chopped salad and crabcake appetizer.


Pile of chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, olives, cheese, egg, bacon, mushrooms, croutons topped with crispy, fried onion rings.  Initially, I requested Italian dressing for my salad, but it was certainly not needed or used because the salad had so many flavors already.  I ate all of this with two of my crabcakes mixed in.  Chris ate the third along with his T-bone steak.


The crabcakes were chock full of lumps of meat.  Very little breading was used unlike most restaurants who serve more breading than crabmeat.  These were the perfect accompaniment to my chopped salad. 

As for Chris’s steak ordered from the steak house, we both agreed that it was way too over-seasoned.  For a $40 cut of meat, you should be able to actually taste the flavor of the meat and not the seasoning that it was dredged in.

We finished up our meal sharing a cup of coffee and New Orleans Style Bread Pudding with a Sweet Rum Sauce.

IMG_0194    Pudding for Two—Decadent and Delicious

Sip for Him & Sip for Her

IMG_0189 IMG_0190

We both agreed that the steak was overpriced, but would perhaps come back for the other food offerings at another time.  Another couple actually came in, were seated, looked at the menu, and got up and left without ordering a thing.  I think it may have been due to the pricing.  The cheapest steak is 30 bucks, which maybe they are trying to become one of the better steak restaurants in the area; however, the place does not stand up to the top notch steak houses for two reasons. 1.) The location is next to a not so nice hotel, so the people staying there may not want to fork out that kind of money for the food.  2.) If the flavor of the steak needs to be hidden with that much extra seasoning, then perhaps they do not know how to cook a good steak.  Maybe they should stick to seafood.  Lastly, I think the name says something about a place.  Prime Time sounds more like the name of a sports bar rather than a fancy dining eatery.

Finally, the day ended with Chris lighting our fireplace for the first time this season.


Just a taste of the holidays because it did not last too long, because we are short on firewood.  All we had were some twigs and branches that were gathered up a couple weeks ago from the yard.

As for now, this time change has made me feel like I need to go to sleep with it being so dark so early, but I need to get some laundry done instead and see if any good shows are on.  I may just have to pop a handful of pom arils in my mouth for a burst of energy even though I just had some froyo not long ago.  Have a good night!

Do you like the time change for the winter or do you dislike it?

I am not a fan of setting the clocks back for winter because once I get home from work between five or six, I feel like my whole day is lost/gone.  Not to mention it puts me to sleep when I have things to get done around my house.  And I thoroughly dislike driving in the dark (I’ve been in glasses since I was 2 years old and can’t see very well during the day much less at night) which I’m forced to do if I need to run any errands.

Friday Recap & Healthified Pizza

I apologize for skipping yesterday’s post.  I just wasn’t feeling it and after running a couple errands after work I came home and crashed for a couple hours.  Then I spent some time with my hub.  Here is a recap of yesterday’s eats.

Breakfast:  Sandwich Thin topped with Dark Chocolate Dreams PB, Sliced Nanner, and Cinnamon Sprinkling

Lunch: Salad with Sliced Pear, Sliced Squash, Sliced Cucumbers, Grape Tomatoes, Reduced Fat Feta, Light Raspberry Vinaigrette, and Pita Chips

Snackage:  Tortilla Chips + Spinach and Artichoke Hummus, Half Pear, + more (was feeling very snacky today so I also had a Reduced Fat Colby Jack Cheese Square and some cookies from frozen cookie dough; probably could have went a more healthy route, but I was tired and hungry which is not a good combo)

Dinner:  Healthified Tortilla Pizza–I used a whole wheat tortilla as the dough.  (A pita or english muffin split open could also be used.)  I topped the tortilla with a tablespoon of store-bought tomato basil sauce, a light babybel cheese round, sliced squash, broccoli, a spritz of cooking spray, red pepper flakes, salt, and parmesan cheese sprinkles.  It was baked at 400* for 12 minutes or so.  I had one whole tortilla to myself and split a second with the hub.  I’ve made these before for myself, but it was his first tortilla pizza.  His response after eating it, “I’ll have to make these for myself more often!”  So it definitely gets the hubby-stamp-of-approval!

This is a really simple, healthy way to get your pizza fix rather than ordering delivery or take-out.  And did I mention how good it tastes!  Not to mention it is fun and easy to make because the topping combinations are endless based on individual likes and differences.  I think this would be fun for kids to make their own personal pizzas as well, but I’m not there yet!

I confess–I also ate a handful of pistachios and a dark chocolate square before bedtime.

P.S. I think it might have been the artificial sweetener in the coffee at work that I had earlier in the day causing me to be so hungry.  I don’ drink it often at work, but when I do I get cravings in the evening after work.  That must have been it.  Does that happen to you all?

Question of the Day:  What are your favorite pizza topping combinations?

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


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?