A Quick Fix

Due to my working late last night at our Cajun themed Family Literacy Night to promote reading and writing, I did not get home til 8:30.  Though I was hungry (I did have a small taste of the jambalaya that was handed out at about 4:30) by that time, I just wanted something quick yet not too much that I would feel sick for bed.  So I went with Caitlin‚Äôs suggestion of a steamed sweet potato topped with baked beans.  I did not even snap a picture because my husband told me it did not look good, but I assure it tastes good.  I also had two lemony flavored fleur de lis shaped cookies that i brought home from the event.  Again, no picture. ūüė¶

Looking back on Tuesday‚Äôs dinner, it was a quick, tasty dinner.  I prepared a pork loin served with cheesy Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe‚Äôs (mom picked it up in Chicago) aside steamed veggies. 

DSC00509 DSC00511 DSC00514

I followed the instructions for baking the lemon-garlic flavored loin by cooking at 350* for 45 minutes until the meat thermometer registered to 165*.  It was moist and tender.

For the grains, I cooked them according to the package directions by adding a tsp. of Brummel & Brown and simmering covered ten minutes.  For a cheesy addition, I heated up 1/4 cup lowfat milk, 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt, and 1/2 cup applewood smoked cheddar cheese.  I did not care for the cheese on its own but once added to the couscous, orzo, bean, quinoa mix; it added a nice smoky flavor which Chris thought was bacon.

As for some of my other meals, the past two days for your viewing pleasure:

DSC00502

Hummus and Veggie Sammie with Babybel Light

DSC00506

Tuesday Lunch along with a Chobani Yogurt while home with the cable guy.

And Wednesday…..Breakfast Sammie of Peanut Butter, Sliced Peach, and Cinnamon

DSC00527

Lunch contained some leftover cheesy grains + Fage Greek and Honey Yogurt

DSC00529 

I once again will have a late night at work, but only until six tonight.   So dinner will likely be something picked up or a quick salad, maybe eggs.  I don‚Äôt know.

What is your favorite quick fix dinner for those late night meals?

Advertisements

Bananas Cause Cellulite

Truth or Myth‚ÄĒRevealed!

Someone recently told my mother ‚Äúbananas cause cellulite‚ÄĚ as she sat at work eating her banana.¬† In my quest to find any truth in this statement, I found the opposite to be true.¬† In fact, bananas can help in detoxifying the body by increasing blood circulation and ridding the body of unwanted toxins.¬† Perhaps the woman got bananas confused with something else, but it has not been found to to cause cellulite.¬† Myth–revealed!

I know bananas are a staple in my diet; I eat them on a daily basis unless I run out, but I certainly do not plan on giving them up any time soon.  They provide the body with ample amounts of potassium, which aids the body in regulating blood circulation.  Additionally, the fiber content in bananas can help with normalizing digestion.  There are so many more advantages including preventing stomach ulcers, reducing kidney cancer in women, boosting moods, and promoting bone health.  

Although bananas get some criticism¬† about containing too much sugar, the benefits far outweigh the bad.¬† So eat your bananas, people! ūüėČ

Unfortunately, I was all out of bananas this morning, so I ate a sliced peach in a parfait of sorts.

DSC00191 

I layered greek yogurt, cinnamon and oats granola, peach, raspberry preserves, a drizzle of honey, and a few cinnamon almonds.  Sweet, cold, satisfying!

DSC00194

With Hot Chai Tea

Today’s lunch included sister’s white beans with sausage, pita chips for dipping, and an apple.

DSC00185

After work, I headed to the grocery to pick up some staples + ingredients for tonight’s dinner.  Bananas and milk were needed desperately.  Okay, maybe the Talenti Coconut Gelato was not needed, but it looked so good.

DSC00201

I immediately had to try out this new yogurt.

DSC00212

It had cherry chunk pieces in it; I wished it had cake chunks instead, but it was tasty.

For dinner tonight, I made pasta with roasted vegetables, feta, and Italian Turkey Sausage.

DSC00232 

Feta Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Sausage

Ingredients:

12 oz. vegetable radiatore (tri-colored pasta)

5 links of Italian Turkey Sausage

Handful of Fresh Spinach

5 Basil Leaves, fresh

Approx. 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

1 zucchini, sliced

20 grape tomatoes

4 oz. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup reserved pasta water

salt and pepper

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400*.  Drizzle tomatoes and zucchini slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat and put in single layer on baking sheet.  Roast for 20 minutes in oven.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is boiling, add a teaspoon of oil to sauté pan.  Heat to medium high.  Cook sausage links for five minutes on medium turning periodically.  Cover and reduce heat; cook 5-6 minutes longer or until 170* inner temperature is reached and sausage is cooked through.  Let sit 5 minutes longer and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.  Before draining pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for later.  Place spinach and basil in colander; drain pasta in colander to allow spinach and basil to wilt from steamed pasta and water.   Return pasta to pot and add spinach, basil, sausage to pot.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 cup of reserve water to sauté pan used for cooking sausage; scrape any brown bits from pan and stir.  Pour water mixture over the pasta.  Add feta cheese and mix until combined.  Carefully stir in roasted vegetables.  Heat on low fire until warmed through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

DSC00215  DSC00216

Collecting spinach and basil from garden

DSC00219 DSC00225 DSC00223 DSC00228 DSC00229 DSC00232

My final opinion‚ÄĒI did not like the bites of whole leaves of basil.¬† I should have chopped that up into smaller pieces, but the dish was still yummy and not too complicated to cook.

Do you fear any foods that are thought to be healthy by most?

Rainbows In Waiting

I am really getting used to waking up early. ¬†Or is it the fact that I’m excited to make breakfast so that I can make sure it looks decent enough for the blog? ¬†Or is it that I started taking a different route across the river cutting my travel time down and eliminating the constant stop of red lights which pumps ¬†up my adrenaline making my drive to work all the more exciting and something I have been looking forward to this first week of school? ¬†I think it has to do with all three!

So to start my day I jumped out of bed (literally and then jumped back in after hitting snooze) and got up on the second sound of the blaring radio which I’ve been forced to use during the no phone zone week. ¬†Hopefully I’ll have a phone by the weekend, but may continue using the actual alarm clock anyway. ¬†Now for breakfast, I felt like a simple banana and peanut butter sammie on a Pepperidge Farm deli flat. ¬†Though the remnants of the Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter remain in the fridge I really am not a fan of that brand, so went with almond butter instead. ¬†Also had a cup of hot chai on the side.

After breakfast I got ready for work and headed out for my 35 minute drive. ¬†At about thirty minutes out, in the distance over the expressway I could see a beautiful rainbow. Truly, it could not have been prettier as the prisms sparkled in the sky. ¬†I thought about pulling out my camera, but didn’t think it was the brightest idea going 60 miles an hour on the expressway. ¬†Seeing the rainbow this morning uplifted my mood and clearly was a sign that I would have a good day. ¬†Do rainbows have that effect on you? ¬†What else would there purpose be? ¬†It seems they just sit in the sky waiting for passer-byes to take in their beauty. ¬†Many cars did appear to slow down to take in the view; I know I did. ūüôā

I enjoyed a rainbow of foods in my lunch box today.  I had some spring mix of greens and purple leaves topped with yellow corn, red grape tomatoes, brown rice, black beans which left the rice a slight shade of blue, tomato red salsa, and orange shredded cheese.  On side I had a fuzzy peach.


Once home from work I just couldn’t cool down with it being so hot and my house having outdated ’70s crank windows allowing all of the cool air to seep out through the cracks. ¬† ¬†Thank goodness we are getting some new, updated energy efficient windows in a couple of week. ¬†I know it will make a huge difference. ¬†My hot flash enticed me to make something cold and sweet for my afternoon snack–a chocolate banana smoothie. ¬†To the blender I added a frozen banana, a half cup of Arctic Zero Chocolate Frozen Dessert, a cup of plain almond milk, four ice cubes, and a few leaves of baby spinach that were left in the fridge.

After blending and tasting, I added a tsp.? of cocoa powder to add a bit more chocolate flavor.

And Then She Was Done

I caught up on some reading (of blogs), then went for a ten minute jog/5 minute walk session around the neighborhood and came home to do some of this.

Look Mom! ¬†I’m using the Ab Lounger. ¬†Thanks! ¬†Mom is de-cluttering her house so I inherit her clutter.

And then some of this.

BBQ Scallop and Mushroom Pasta

I was trying to recreate the BBQ Shrimp Pasta sold at many restaurants as a spin off on regular BBQ Shrimp with French Bread, which is a well known dish in the New Orleans area. ¬†Although it is called BBQ shrimp there is in fact no BBQ sauce in the dish. ¬†The famous Pascal’s Manale BBQ Shrimp recipe is supposedly all over the net, but I doubt it is the tried and true. ¬†It is a mix of white wine (I’ve heard it could be beer), worcestershire sauce, butter (I used olive oil instead), garlic, and spices. ¬†But I wanted a healthified version without all of the butter and mounds of french bread for dipping. ¬†So I modified a couple of recipes I glanced at on the WWW creating a BBQ Scallop and Mushroom Pasta dish using these ingredients + mushrooms. ¬†I don’t think the Italian dressing is really needed, but saw it in one recipe so added some. ¬†Though I think I would prefer it without.

Also, I would do fresh scallops instead of the miniscule ones I purchased in the frozen section. ¬†Again, I did not measure. ¬†Sorry, I try to go on taste rather than measuring. ¬†And I can’t even give a good estimate so I won’t even try, but my ingredients included olive oil, minced garlic, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, thyme, oregano, rosemary, onion powder, salt + pepper, white cooking wine, spaghetti, scallops, mushrooms, reserve pasta water as thickener, and italian dressing (to be omitted due to it’s tanginess; the worcestershire and wine give enough tanginess). ¬†Oh, I even added a squirt of honey to balance out some of the tang.

I ate a cooking spoonful of the pasta, a simple lettuce salad with Light Italian dressing, and a half of Pepperidge Farm whole wheat deli flat with a schmear of Brummel & Brown.  Thinking about the original BBQ Shrimp made me want bread, so I satisfied the craving.  Oh yeah, see those little things that look like chickpeas; that is what my grocer is calling frozen scallops.

Whew! That was a long post and I am feeling hot (28 with hot flashes, hmmm?) and tired so need to get some R&R.  Good night!

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! ūüôā

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> ūüėČ

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?

The Verdict Is In

Yesterday I decided to eat dinner since my stomach was feeling hungry.¬†¬†The verdict–I took out some penne and turkey meat sauce I¬†had in the freezer from a previous meal.¬† I ate about 1/2 cup of the pasta/sauce mix and a cup and a half of steamed broccoli.¬† Since I ate such a late lunch, I didn’t want to eat too much for dinner.¬†¬†

¬†¬†However, that did not satisfy me, so I had a Chobani Greek Honey.¬† To be honest, I could not find the honey.¬† They forgot to put it in.¬† It wasn’t on bottom, on top, or in between.¬† So I added a drizzle of my own to the top.

I also had a juicy, fuzzy peach and called it a night.  (Picture not posted.)