Blogger Envy

Reading numerous blogs each day can cause one to be envious of others. I’m sure it happens to many of us.  Kailey over at Snack-Face wrote a post regarding this same topic just the other day.  I am not going to go into great depth as to whose lives I find to be close to perfect  because I know their “perfect worlds” are a mere fallacy  made up in my mind and the grass is not always greener on the other side.  However, I will tell you that I do envy the foods and the activities that other bloggers eat and do in their day to day lives.

Some of those include, but are not limited to:

~Adding chia seeds to my yogurt or oatmeal.  I have yet to do that because I can’t find those things anywhere.  Maybe I should just go buy a ch-ch-chia (pet).

~Taking an exercise class like zumba or yoga or body pump.  I am just too darn intimidated and I’ve never been a dancer or coordinated in that manner.  Any advice for a novice who is interested in adding some variety to her workout routine?

On the other hand, there are some things I have mimicked  or tried after seeing it on other blogs like…

this morning I made my breakfast smile. 

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I’m telling you I literally smiled back at my plate.  I felt like Tom Hanks with Wilson, the volleyball, there for a minute.

And I had some hot Nutcracker Sweet Tea Holiday Edition with a splash of milk.

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For lunch I added some broccoli slaw to my wrap for some crunch; it was such a nice addition.

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So yeah, I saw the slaw and the muenster cheese on a blog and had to have them.  I added them to my whole wheat wrap along with turkey, mustard, spinach, and sliced roma.  I added a wacked looking nectarine for some sweetness.

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And dinner included another item I saw on a blog, Vodka sauce.  I browned some lean ground beef and added the sauce to heat through.  Spaghetti and fresh baby spinach was topped with the meat sauce.

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Tonight was a first time having Vodka sauce and it was a nice twist on the usual tomato basil sauce.

Finally, I ended the night with another blogger-induced craving–apple crisp.  The crisp was made from sliced apples and granola along with some flavorings and sweeteners, but I didn’t love it so won’t be sharing a recipe.

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Do you find yourself envious of other bloggers?

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Not-Your-Ordinary Shrimp and Grits

I am super excited to share this recipe because my husband said it was my most creative, best recipe yet.  As I was sitting at work today thinking about what to cook for dinner, I knew it had to involve shrimp and butternut squash because that is what I had, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to put it together.  I also wanted to incorporate that sample coconut butter packet since I wasn’t very fond of the crumbled bit on my peanut butter and banana sammie the other day.  I think it was more the texture that bothered me.  Anyway, I found a way to bring all the ingredients together by putting a spin on the usual Shrimp ‘N Grits.  If you give the recipes a try, let me know what you think.   

Enter Cashew Coconut Shrimp and Butternut Grits with Parmesan and Rosemary.

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Cashew Coconut Shrimp

Ingredients:

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. coconut butter, softened

1/3 c. cornmeal

1/3 c. cashews

3 tbsp. flour

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Process cashews in food processor until a crumb-like consistency forms.

2. Pour cashews in medium bowl. Add cornmeal, flour, and salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly.

3. In separate bowl combine olive oil and coconut butter.  Mix until evenly distributed.

4. Season shrimp with salt and pepper.  Toss shrimp in oil mixture to coat.  Then pour shrimp into the cashew mixture and toss to coat evenly.

5. Spray broil pan with nonstick spray.  Put coated shrimp on pan.  Spray top of shrimp lightly with nonstick spray. 

6. Broil shrimp for 5 minutes on high watching carefully to not burn coating.  Rotate pan after five minutes.  Switch broiler to low and cook 2 minutes more with oven door open to be sure coating does not burn or until shrimp are cooked through. 

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Butternut Grits with Parmesan and Rosemary

Ingredients:

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1/2 c. quick cooking grits

1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated

1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced (more for garnish if desired)

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Fill medium saucepan with water to cover squash.  Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender about 15 minutes.  Drain.

2. Put 2 cups water in saucepan and bring to a boil.  Pour in grits and stir, lower heat, cover, and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Add squash to cooked grits along with remaining ingredients.  Use a wire whisk to mash squash and incorporate into grits mixture.

Enjoy!  To plate, spoon grits onto plate or bowl.  Top with shrimp and sprinkle additional rosemary if desired.

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My other meals certainly do not top the meal above, but here they are.

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I enjoyed a half of a toasted WW bagel topped with Maranatha peanut butter, sliced banana, spoonful of greek yogurt, and some Seedless Black Raspberry Preserves. And some mango green tea.

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Lunch involved some of last night’s maple and brown sugar pork tenderloin.

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I did heat the pork at work, but for picture purposes while packing it this a.m. here it is.  I served it on whole wheat bread with honey mustard, lettuce, and tomato.  The sandwich was pretty darn tasty; I am glad I stopped the husband from feeding the leftovers to the dogs.  Dessert included a sliced nectarine.  I also had a granola bar during after school tutoring, but no pic was snapped.

Well, I am off to fold laundry and finish up Idol.  Good Night!

I Haven’t Told You Lately

First let’s look at today’s eating habits.

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Half Bagel with Peanut Butter, Banana, and some specs of coconut butter from a sample pack.

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Lunch was a leftover salad from Whole Foods with additional spring mix and Gorgonzola and an apple.  The salad had a couple different bean salads underneath the lettuce and veggie mixture.

I had a Cashew Cookie Larabar for my after-school tutoring snack, but no picture was taken.

For dinner, I attempted to defrost red beans from the freezer, but upon opening the container I realized, well Chris realized it was gumbo.  I was in the mood for some traditional Monday Red Beans so I ordered take-out from Come Back Inn instead.

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I gave Chris one of the sausage links and ate most of the beans and rice plus one piece of bread and a small serving of potato salad.  These hit the spot after a liberal dash or two or three of Crystal hot sauce was added.

Lately, I’ve been uninspired. I am uninspired to do my day job—teach with just one nine weeks left, but I’m doing it. I am uninspired to cook—lots more eating out has been happening with SOME cooking. I am uninspired to work out—I gained a few pounds and have been working out only 3 days a week. I am uninspired with blog writing—posts have been few and far between.

I am not quite sure where this lull has come from, but I am trying to get back on track. So, I figured I’d start by sharing a few things I haven’t told you lately.

1. Remember when I stopped biting my nails back in September, well I started biting them again. 

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I am trying to cut the habit again and may need to go get that gel polish put back on since it lasted for about three weeks.  Please pardon the dry skin shown above. 😉

2. I eat my apples like my dad eats his rib bones.  Oh wait, I eat my ribs like that too when I eat ‘em!

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I really gnaw on it ‘til all the flesh is gone. Now I don’t do that at work, but in the privacy of my own home that’s how I roll.

3. I have a serious addiction to chips (pita or tortilla) and hummus.DSC00797

This container is just after two days.  Whoops!  Maybe the husband helped a tad, but not by much.  I have always had a much larger love affair with salty foods than the sweet stuff.  Give me fries; give me chips.  Well, you can have the fries just don’t eat my chips!  Seriously, I need to work on self control with the chips and dips. 

4. I bought this book back in January and began to read it.  But…

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I have yet to get past Chapter 1.  I have picked it up about 5 times and just can’t get into it.  It references many German words and places and it just doesn’t capture my attention—so far.  I may still try to read it, but I picked up Water for Elephants at Target on Sunday and it looks a little more my speed.

5. The past several Fridays I have attempted to eat “Meat-Free on Friday.”  I do well with breakfast and lunch, but then dinner time comes and I eat meat.  Since I am Catholic and the Lenten season has arrived, I will be sure to make that sacrifice on Fridays up until Easter Sunday.  So, here is my eats of the first “Meat-Free Friday” in Lent.

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That’s a Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burger in case you were questioning my Meat-Free Friday.

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Gotta get going now because The Bachelor Finale is on.  My guess is for Chantell, but ya never know.

Cows in a Pot

There is a small joke between me, my mom, and my sister that I think they will never let me live down.  It revolves around coming up with a title.  Many moons ago when I was in middle school, Mom, Sis, and I were sitting around our kitchen table trying to come up with a winning title for our annual elementary school fair/fundraiser.  The fair is a “Cochon de Lait” where whole pigs are roasted hanging above a fire pit.  Each year students were given the opportunity to come up with a theme  that would be put on t-shirts, signs, etc.  Mom and Sis were spewing out titles left and right.  Past titles included “The Times Pigayune,” which is a play off of the local newspaper, The Times Picayune and “Squeal of Fortune” to name a couple.  My very intelligent self got really excited and shouted out “Pigs in a Pot.”  Needless to say, they and I still laugh about my dry, uncreative title revolving around pigs being cooked in a pot although the pigs are actually roasted.

On another note, I actually did cook my cow err beef roast in a pot on Sunday night for the first time.  I never knew pot roast on the stovetop was so simple.  I have always opted for the slow cooker or oven when cooking roasts in the past.  Atop the roast was the directions for browning the roast and simmering it in a small amount of liquid until tender.  Below is what I did.

Pot Roast

2.5 pounds beef chuck roast

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste

1 can beef broth (reduced sodium)

1 can of french onion soup (reduced sodium)

Directions:  Heat oil over medium heat.  Meanwhile, season roast with salt, pepper, etc.  Place roast in pot to brown on all sides about 4-5 minutes per side.  Drain any oil from pot before continuing.  Next pour in broth and soup.  Cover, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 2.5-3 hours until tender.  Baste with liquid periodically during cooking.

The super simple pot roast turned out fantastic served over brown rice and peas.  Chris and I ate the roast for dinner Sunday and I just had some for dinner tonight.

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For my other meals today I enjoyed a whole wheat english muffin with banana, peanut butter and cinnamon + chai.

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Lunch included some Sante Fe Ravioletti Soup defrosted from frozen.  I also had a satsuma from Sis’s tree.

On my way to the gym I tried out a new Larabar I purchased at Academy Sports and Outdoors this past Saturday.  I found the chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar and it tasted much like cookie dough.  And I love the short, natural ingredient list.

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My cardio workout included 30 minutes on the hard Precor elliptical, 5 minutes on the bike, and 5 minutes on the stairmaster.  I concluded with some stretching and abdominal floor work.  Now I am going to chill and perhaps read some of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that I just picked up at Wal-Mart along with some prizes for our 100th student through the halls on the 100th Day of School.  Phew!! I made it through another hundred school days.  Only 80 more to go!

Do you have any funny anecdotes to share?

Indecisiveness

I was indecisive about breakfast…

I couldn’t decide between an egg sandwich or peanut butter.

So I ate exceptionally late (more like lunch) and went with both.

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I was indecisive about gift buying…

So I went to three stores for one person and in the end made some purchases.  But I’m still unsure about the gifts.

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I was indecisive about eating lunch since I ate such a late breakfast…

So I ate a Cherry Pie Larabar and a banana instead.

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I was indecisive about what toppings to put on my pizza…

So I put them all.

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Spinach, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, mozzarella—which resulted in tasty but soggy pizza. 😦

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I went back for a second slice.

I was indecisive about going to the gym…

So I wore my work out clothes all day and ultimately decided not to go.  Instead I rented a movie.

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While snacking on a treat from a coworker called White Trash

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You might know it as Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies.  Basically it is Chex cereal coated in a mixture of peanut butter, butter, and melted chocolate; then dusted with powdered sugar.  It is very sweet for those with a sweet tooth.

Have you been indecisive about anything lately?

When Words Don’t Come Out…

…They’re probably best unsaid.  So I’ll leave this post short.

One of my favorite breakfasts—toast with peanut butter, cottage cheese, banana slices, and sweet potato pumpkin butter

DSC00885 DSC00888 DSC00883 Lunch (unpictured) was a Subway 6 inch turkey sandwich dressed on wheat with all the veggies offered except cucumber and onions with honey mustard.  I saved the salty cardboard Baked Lay’s for a pre-cardio snack.

After work I headed to the gym where I started on the exhausting stair stepper for 22 minutes.  I then hopped on the elliptical for a 30 minutes session.  The workout concluded with 2 minutes on the bicycle until the stretching unit was available so I could stretch (my achy hip in particular).

On the way home from the gym I picked up Come Back Inn for Chris and me.  I decided on the spinach and artichoke soup and a small chef salad with drizzled creamy Italian dressing.

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I did have a couple bites of the husband’s meatball po’boy as well.

Shortly after dinner my sweet tooth was prevalent, so I satisfied it with a date, pecan, chocolate chip muffin heated with a spoon of dark chocolate dreams peanut butter smeared on top.  Looks like a cupcake with chocolate icing and tastes like one too!

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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’s 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. 😦

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

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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:

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Hummus and Veggie Sammie with Babybel Light

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

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

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

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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’t know.

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