Wednesday’s What I’m Fixin’ in the Kitchen

Oatmeal and Peanut Butter Makes Its Return + Instant Coffee

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Leftover’s For Lunch E-Z Baked Ziti

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Plus a slice of cake for Teacher Appreciation Week 😉

And chips and salsa once home.

Dinner was “Breakfast for Dinner”

Pepper, Spinach, Chipotle Frittata

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Sautéed Potatoes

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And a couple slices of turkey bacon.

Altogether Now

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The night was capped off with a couple pieces of chocolate.

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It’s the Thought That Counts

With Christmas right around the corner, so much emphasis is placed on shopping, gift buying, giving and receiving.  I say it all the time; the actual gift makes no difference.  It is the thought that counts.  But truthfully is it really just the thought or does the gift matter? 

This afternoon as I picked up my fourth grade students for my last math class, one student says, “I have something for you.”  I acknowledged him, but I no longer get too excited about receiving gifts from my students because it is usually the same old smelly lotion, candy, used ornaments, or the favorite teacher gift of all time—a mug, sometimes with goodies in it and sometimes without.  So sure enough I thought to myself it was going to be another one of these to stuff in my kitchen cabinet and add to the pile that my husband says, “You really need to get rid of some of those.”

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We made our way to the classroom and the student was then called over the intercom to check out early.  Just before he left he said, “Do you want your gift now?”  Of course I did.  He then asked, “Which color do you like best—white, baby blue, or dark blue?”  Okay, maybe this is something, my excitement evolved slightly.  I went with baby blue and emerged from his pocket was this…

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A decorative bead, a baby blue bead.

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I smiled and accepted whole heartedly as he handed it over and thanked him so much.  He had a grin from ear to ear.  It was the joy that he handed over to me; it wasn’t about the gift at all. 

What’s a girl to do with a baby blue bead?  I will place this in the third drawer of my jewelry box with other student mementos and on the rare occasion that I see it I will remember and smile. 

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Not that it is as special as my gift, but today’s meals…

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Oatmeal with crumbled gingerbread cake and a mug (from a student) of tea.

Lunch was a salad of romaine, tomatoes, carrots, turkey, feta, ranch light, and some chobani greek yogurt.

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I did make it to the gym, but did NOT feel like being there at all.  I did 20 minutes on the bicycle, followed by 20 minutes on the elliptical, and 12 minutes on the stair stepper.   I ended with some stretching.

By the time I got home I was hungry.  I snacked on crackers (shared with the dogs)and honey flavored goat cheese that has been sitting in my fridge.

On Monday, Mom stopped at my house to let out my dogs since Chris and I both worked late and she snuck some leftover Chinese takeout in my refrigerator.  So dinner was composed of fried rice.

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I also had a piece of gingerbread cake.  I guess my body was craving some carbs. tonight.

Have you ever received a gift that meant a lot, but wasn’t exactly something you would want or could ever use?

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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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….

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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?

No Chore Monday

Yesterday when my husband got home from work he found me sluggishly laying on the couch.  I think I am getting sick once again.  It never fails; each year I get sick three or four times per year working with children.  My throat started bothering me on Sunday night and I am not yet feeling better.  Due to my not feeling well, when Chris got home he said, “Since Monday is so tiring from the weekend, why don’t we just relax and have No Chore Monday,”  meaning no dishes, clothes, cooking, etc.  Though I fully appreciate that and think it may have also been due to the fact that he was feeling tired and did not care to do anything, I am not sure I can go with “No Chore Monday.”  I did last night because I was not feeling well, but hopefully normalcy will soon resume. 

On an added note, last week hub switched from the evening shift to the day shift so he now gets home around 3:30-4:00 p.m. as opposed to 10:00 p.m.  So last week he got to see what all I do once I get home from work, grocery shopping, and/or the gym.  I guess he realizes all that I do in the evening and felt bad since I was not feeling my best.

Yesterday morning I slept in so I opted for a quick breakfast of Kashi Island Vanilla Wheat Puffs, sliced banana, and lowfat milk with some hot chai tea on the side hoping to soothe my sore throat.

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Chris made my sandwich for Monday lunch on Sunday night.  He made turkey and laughing cow light mozzarella and sun dried tomato and basil cheese wedge on whole wheat bread.  On Monday morning I added some romaine and tomato slices.

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I had some Triple Berry Torte yogurt on the side for some added sweetness.  Initially I did not like that flavored laughing cow cheese, but my sandwich was cold and satisfying at lunch time.

After work I wasn’t feeling up to par as stated earlier, so I had a snack and then lounged on the sofa watching Oprah and Food Network. My snack included Bosc pear slices and Peanut Butter and Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter for Dipping~Yum!

For dinner, Chris suggested sushi from the Cherry Blossom at the corner.  All I wanted was some comfort for my throat so I chose the tempura udon soup.  It came with two tempura shrimp and tempura sweet potato, broccoli, and zucchini.

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I ate one of the shrimp, all of the veggies which I actually thought would be in the soup, and about 2/3 of the soup. 

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The Japanese noodles were so thick and chewy I really enjoyed the texture though they were a bit difficult to pick up with a spoon so I had to alternate between the spoon for the hot, salty broth and chopsticks for the onion and noodles mixture.  The soup/tempura combo was filling and soothed my throat for a short while.  Hub enjoyed the soup as well and said it would definitely be on his order if he felt like having soup at some point in the future.

After dinner and a bath I got in my pjs (t-shirt and shorts), took some meds, and climbed right back on the sofa to call it a night.

At the moment I am home from work today.  I requested a substitute yesterday because we are having all of our cable, phone, and Internet services switched to a new company and my husband scheduled them to set it up today.  Since he just started a new position, he did not want to miss work and have about 40 sick days accumulated so I told him I would miss.  As it turns out I am actually sick and not just playing hooky though I would likely have been at work today if I hadn’t needed to be home for the cable guy. 🙂

This morning I tidied up a bit since I went with “No Chore Monday” then had some pumpkin oats with pumpkin spice coffee.

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Old Fashioned Oats were cooked on the stovetop including the following in the mix:

~1/3 c oats

~1/3 c water

~1/3 c lowfat milk

~pinch of salt

~mashed banana

~generous sprinkling of cinnamon

~dash of ginger and nutmeg

~1/4 c pumpkin, canned (stirred in at end)

~cinnamon almonds for topping

Now I’m sitting at the table waiting for the two cable guys to be done.  It looks like this could take a while because so far my cables are bad and the cable guy said he has to do some rewiring, uuugghhh!  So I may do some dishes, clothes, read since my TVs and Internet are currently out of service, and drink coffee or tea for the throat of course!

Do you have any home remedies for healing sore throats? 

A Weekend of Frolic and Food

The weekend could not come soon enough.  I was so ready for it to arrive.  My Friday night began with babysitting my niece and nephew with the help of my mom; so my sister, Michelle, and her husband, Duke, could spend the night out with friends celebrating Duke’s birthday.  How could I not have a good time frolicking around with this little guy and girl and eating pizza?

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And because she is too cute not to  show, my niece!

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While I was babysitting my niece and nephew, my husband did a little babysitting of his own.  He babysat his twin nieces and even captured a little video of his endeavors.  He sent this video to me saying “Help!” 🙂

 

He had his hands full between the two twin girls.  And in  case you were wondering, Abby immediately got up without a tear in her eye, hugged her uncle, and then became angry with him for capturing it on video.  She quickly got over it though.

Aside from babysitting, I did not make the best decisions with my eating habits for the past couple of days.  Some of my meals (or lack thereof) consisted of pizza, tacos, french fries and more.  But, I know tomorrow I will be back to a more normal  schedule and making better choices.

On Saturday, I started my day off with coffee and homemade french toast and turkey sausage links.

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To make three slices of french toast (2 for hub and 1 for me) I whisked:

~2 eggs

~1/4 tsp vanilla

~1/2 tsp cinnamon

~1 stevia packet

~1/4 c lowfat milk

I then I soaked the slices and cooked them for 3-4 minutes per side in a nonstick pan sprayed with cooking spray.  For topping the toast, I sliced a banana and browned it in a nonstick pan sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray, which allowed the sugars in the banana to come out and caramelize adding a nice flavor to the sweet breakfast.  All was sopped up with some  pure maple syrup drizzled over the top.

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Shortly after breakfast I met Mom for a workout, lunch, froyo, and yes, another craft fair selling mostly the same stuff as the one last week minus all the dips and jams.

I wasn’t too hungry for lunch so I chose an appetizer of baked pretzels with queso dip.

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I had two of the pretzels and brought the rest to Chris, but ended up eating some of a third pretzel with him later on in the day.

After the craft fair Mom suggested we get some Tutti Fruiti Frozen Yogurt.

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I had cake batter and s’mores flavored yogurt with mochi cakes, reese’s, cheesecake bites, pineapple and kiwi.  I just can’t get enough of this stuff and am always game if someone suggests we get it. 🙂

Dinner was some tacos from a fast food joint per hub’s request. So I scarfed two of them down with little hesitation.

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On Sunday Michelle scooped me up to go watch her nephew’s football game shortly after I ate breakfast.  I had some steel cut oats cooked on the stovetop with banana, vanilla,  and stevia.

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I added granola, peanut butter, and sweet potato pecan butter after cooking.

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Lunch was not the greatest combination—pumpkin spice latte plus french fries from my nephew’s snack, so an early dinner was eaten.  My sister’s family, Chris, and I all joined at Houston’s for dinner.

We HAD to start with the spinach and artichoke dip.  It is the one thing I must have if going there.  It is SO good.  People claim to have the “Houston’s recipe,” but no one has ever recreated that tasty, cheesy goodness.

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For my entree I tried the Veggie Burger with purple cabbage and goat cheese.

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Mmmmm! My two year old nephew, Jett, enjoyed eating this with me.  I ate the entire [burger] but only half the bun since Jett decided to take the top of my bun and the tomato off one half to enjoy for himself.  As for the rice and oat made burger, it was quite tasty with the added hickory sauce that was mixed in.  And the cabbage was just as good, though I am not a big fan of the goat cheese clumps that was put on top.

Now I need to get some rest for the long week ahead.  I am not looking forward to this week because I have to work late two nights this week.  Waaahhhh!  I hope it goes by fast, not that I am trying to wish my life away, just looking forward to my break! :) 

My Oh Mahi

Looking back on yesterday’s eats, they were much more interesting in my opinion so I’ll start with them.

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Chai Tea + Banana, Aril, Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Upon waking each morning this week, the temperatures have been in the 50s so oatmeal is the perfect warming breakfast.  My oatmeal was mad on the stovetop with:

~1/4 c old fashioned oats

~1/4 c water + a little more

~1/4 c lowfat milk

~1 mashed banana

~Hanful of pomegranate arils (added after cooking)

~Teaspoon? of peanut butter

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Lunch was thrown together fairly quickly.

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Turkey and Reduced Fat Swiss with Honey Mustard and Spring Mix on wheat bun + honey yogurt and more pomegranate arils

I finally made it back to the gym yesterday after my injury last Tuesday.  I started with 15 minutes of cycling, followed by 30 minutes of weights, and 20 minutes on the elliptical to finish up.  Exercise most definitely lifts my mood and makes me feel better.

For dinner, I planned on making some Baked Mahi Mahi, which I purchased the other day on sale from my neighborhood grocery.  So I got 2 nice sized filets for less than $7.00.  I took a cue from my sister’s meal and went with the individual packets.

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After rinsing the fish filets, I placed them on a large piece of parchment.  I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, mushrooms, black olives, olive oil and white cooking wine, and lemon slices.  I also added some chopped potatoes, but ended up taking those out and cooking on the stovetop because they were yet tender and the fish was done.  So I cooked them with Brummel & Brown and minced garlic.

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The Mahi Mahi was baked at 425* for about 15 minutes.  My, oh, my I forget how quick and EASY it is to cook fish.  In less than 20 minutes the protein of the meal can be cooked.

I also made some Caesar salad.

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My salad was made of romaine, light babybel shredded, homemade croutons from a leftover wheat bun sprinkled with salt, garlic powder, oregano, and basil that was baked at 425* for 10 minutes or until crunchy.  I drizzled fat free Caesar dressing over the top.

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Wednesday dinner just did not satisfy me so I had to have a slice of Sweet Potato Pie and a spoon of creamy coconut gelato on top.

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And for today:

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Granola, Flaxseed, Cinnamon Almonds, Half a Banana, Lowfat Milk

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Romaine, Grape Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Turkey slice, Light Babybel Crumbled, with Raspberry Vinaigrette + Plum + Cinnamon Almonds

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After school snack of chips and salsa.

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Wonton Soup + Eggroll

I stopped at Imperial Garden on my way home from sister’s house.  I wasn’t really in the mood for Chinese, but hub chose it.  My wonton soup was not good;  I ate it, but the flavor in the wonton tasted funny.

Thank goodness tomorrow is the weekend!  This week has been a busy one.  One more week then it’s Thanksgiving Break! :)  Woooohoooo!

Backtrack Tuesday + Pork Loin Chop with Balsamic Raspberry Reduction

Yesterday was quite eventful on my day off from work.  I had off due to Election Day.  Mid-morning my sister invited me to work out with her husband, Duke, whom is the personal trainer of The Duke Academy.  After a quick breakfast I met my sister at the training facility.

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Duke’s training program is hard core (similar to the work outs done on Biggest Loser) as his normal clientele includes college and professional athletes in addition to local children and adults.  After about twenty minutes into our workout, which felt like death from the start, as my sister and I together flipped this gargantuan tire I felt a muscle pull in my back.  I knew I could not continue on with moving the monstrosity of a tire which I stated to my sister and the trainers.  They did not believe me until I was brought to nearly tears.  I was then assisted with doing some not so lady-like stretches by Duke’s assistant trainer, Nat.   Needless to say, I am injured and out of commission as far as working out for the rest of this week for sure.

The rest of my day was spent with my sister and her family.  We ran a few errands, and headed to Michelle’s house for lunch.

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Turkey, Mustard, Onion, Tomato on Toasted Wheat Sammie + Celery and Salsa for Dipping

Then I spent an hour or so lounging on her couch with Baby Breelyn to rest my back.

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Shortly thereafter I arose to eat a snack just before dinner was ready.

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A Sliver of Pound Cake

And finally dinner was ready.  Michelle cooked some pulled BBQ Chicken in the Slow Cooker to have on wheat buns. 

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To make this she put six boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot with chopped onion, chicken stock, salt and pepper.  After cooking on high for 5 hours, she shredded the tender chicken and added a bottle of BBQ sauce.  It cooked for about an hour more and then it was time for devouring.

On side she served a cucumber salad with Italian dressing and red onion and corn on the cob.

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Seriously, I could get used to having someone else cook for me every night!  Two nights in a row dinner was eaten at my sister’s house and it was tasty.  Thanks Meesh!

Once home I had a craving for some snackage, so I ate a small bowl of granola with a bit of low fat milk which hit the spot and killed my craving.

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Onto today…..it was tough getting out of bed this a.m. with the soreness in my lower back.  Moving slowly, I opted to eat instant oatmeal for breakfast.

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Kashi Instant Oatmeal with Half of Banana and Teaspoon of Peanut Butter Mixed In + Hot Chai

For lunch I actually enjoyed the other half of my leftover, soggy Chicken Caesar salad from Monday’s lunch, which I had left in the fridge in my classroom on Monday.

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I brought a honeycrisp apple from home to add some sweetness.

Knowing I would be unable to hit the gym, I stayed a late at work to get some work done.  Once home I ate the other half of my banana from breakfast and a handful of pita chips with some of my sister’s leftover white beans as a dip.  They are so good and I can’t wait to eat some more for lunch tomorrow.

Finally, I began on dinner after defrosting a pack of pork chops from the freezer.  The chops I used were purchased on sale, bone-in center cut pork loin chops, but I would have preferred boneless.

Tonight’s menu included Pork Loin Chops with a Balsamic Raspberry Reduction, Cauliflower Potato Mash, and Peas.

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Pork Loin Chop with Balsamic Raspberry Reduction

4 center cut pork loin chops

Garlic Powder

Dried Rosemary

Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of seedless black raspberry preserves

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Season both sides of chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary.  Spray oven proof pan with cooking spray and heat to medium high.  Brown chops on both sides for 3-4 minutes per side.  Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring vinegar, preserves and pinch of salt to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally until reduced by half or desired thickness is reached.  Once chops are browned, put oven-proof pan in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes more until pork reaches 165* or cooked through to desired doneness.  Plate chop and drizzle with the balsamic raspberry reduction before serving.

Cauliflower Potato Mash

1 package frozen cauliflower

1 baking potato

1/4 cup low fat milk

1/3 cup less fat chive and onion cream cheese

Salt and Pepper

Directions:  Cook cauliflower according to package directions.  Peel and chop potato.  Put into boiling water and cook until fork tender.  Drain.  Combine all ingredients plus salt and pepper to taste.  Using a potato masher or electric mixer, mash/whip mixture to desired consistency.

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  The flavor combination of the rosemary and balsamic raspberry worked exceptionally well together.  Also, the one potato mixed into the cauliflower gives all the flavor and texture of mashed potatoes with some added flavor, nutrients, and texture from the cauliflower.  Overall, I was pleased with this meal.  Again, I worry about meats being undercooked so probably tend to overcook it.  Just alter cooking times above to suit your preference or better yet use a meat thermometer.

I’m currently icing my back watching some Criminal Minds.  Cross your fingers my back heals quickly.  If you have any advice on a speedy recovery it would be greatly appreciated. 🙂