A Spin on Mexican

Today was  a normal October Tuesday.  I began with a cold breakfast of cinnamon raisin granola.


Plus some chai on the side.


I had 2/3 cup granola, 6-8 Kashi Island Vanilla Wheat Puffs, a handful of frozen blueberries, 3/4 cup of lowfat milk, and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed.


As I have been the past two Tuesdays, I attended a workshop away from my school campus.  Again lunch was provided.  I chose the roast beef on wheat.  It came with chips, a cookie, and an apple.


I also had some milky way bite size chocolates.  The apple was saved for a snack when I got home.


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With some peanut butter in the middle for dipping.  I was having a bit too much fun practicing my photography skills using the corner of one of hub’s garden boxes for scenery.

After unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, and a bit of Oprah I got started on dinner.  At the grocery on Sunday I picked up some chicken breasts since they were buy 1, get 1 free.  I also purchased a jar of Peach Salsa and Gouda cheese.  That is where the Mexican comes in.  I simply baked the chicken at 350* after topping it with salt, pepper, and the salsa.  After 35 minutes I added some thin strips of Gouda (some went in my tummy on spot) and stuck the chicken back in the oven for five more minutes. 


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For a side dish, I roasted some butternut squash by cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds and pulp, and baking at 400* for an hour.  In keeping with Mexican, I used a spice common of the culture for flavoring—cumin.  In addition to cumin, I seasoned the squash with salt, pepper, and cinnamon after basting it in olive oil.


Dinner was delightfully flavorful although the salsa lacked in the peach department.  I couldn’t hardly taste any peach, just a slightly sweet flavored salsa.  The squash was tender and flavored well.



The squash tasted much like a sweet potato.


As for the chicken and being a cheese lover, it was cheesy and tasty, but it was somewhat overcooked.  I always worry about undercooking poultry so often tend to overcook it causing dryness.


My belly is full after eating the majority of this (and sharing a few bites of chicken with the pups)!  It was simple to put this meal together, but it does take some time to cook so I got other chores done in the meantime. 

Now I’m relaxing watching Biggest Loser and about to get back to washing and folding the massive amounts of laundry I desperately need to catch up on.  I don’t get to watch too much TV lately, but have some shows I like including CSI, 48 Hours, Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance, and Real Housewives, and of course all things Food Network. 🙂

What are your favorite television shows?


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. 🙂

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!

Chantilly Lace and a Pretty Face

Yesterday I woke up thinking it would be a pretty simple day.  I had an entire day to set up my classroom and prepare for the kiddos to arrive today.  Well, it turned into a pretty eventful day.

Simply made breakfast consisted of cereal, blueberrries, and 2% milk because my husband picked it up at the gas station on the way home and that’s all they had at the time.

Bad plating, bad photography.  Oh well.   And then I was off to work!

Let the celebrations continue!  It was the last day of opportunity for my coworkers and I to actually have freedom to go out to lunch without having to scarf down our food during a thirty minute lunch break (hence the reason we don’t get out much).  After that was brought to my attention I decided to forego my individual room 😉 (any Bachelor fans) my packed lunch and go out with three other teachers.  CiCi’s Pizza was decided on.  Man, I can’t even remember the last time I had pizza.  It is not a fine dining eatery by any means; just a quick family pizza buffet joint.

My Eats

A quick snap of the camera documented my salad of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot, mushrooms, and lite italian dressing.  And I savored every bite of my 3 veggie, spinach, and pepperoni slices.

I told my coworkers about the blog and as to why I take pictures of my food.  I wonder if they think I’m nuts!?!  Their expressions gave off a sense of that.   I’ve also experienced a bit of mockery from some of my family.  Additionally, when I try to explain the website address and where they can check it out I hear groans of “Ugh, that’s too much to remember!”  Really people, it’s not that difficult.

Back to lunch…I honestly thought I would still be hungry or want to go back for more food being at a buffet, but once I ate the (aforementioned) food I was completely stuffed.  I could not have eaten another bite.


After work I had plans to meet up with my sister (her son and husband too) and mom for some more celebrating of my birthday.  We went to Casa Garcia, a Mexican restaurant, for dinner.  Always gotta have some of the chips with not only salsa, but also the oh so tasty and warm bean dip.  The bean dip is my favorite thing when I go there.  This time it even had sliced jalapenos in it, which I don’t recall it usually having.

Oh Bean Dip, Where Art Thou?

Then I had some chicken tortilla soup.

I do not recommend the soup.  This was my first time having it and the broth tasted minty, not what I expected for tortilla soup. Though I did enjoy the shredded chicken and big chunk of avocado.  Lastly, for my entree I had an appetizer–chicken lettuce wraps.  The menu did not contain much of a description, but I figured it would be similar to fajitas with lettuce wraps.  It was good, but I felt like I was eating Chinese food rather than Mexican with the seasoned chicken chunks, chopped carrot,  diced zucchini, and shredded cabbage with a light sauce on side, which I did not care for.

Hmmm....Chinese or Mexican

I ate about 1/3 and my stomach was stuffed.

But of course I made room for…..

DESSERT–Whole Foods Chantilly Lace Cake with Fresh Berries purchased by my sister.  Of course it is in fact chantilly icing minus the lace, but that’s what I always call it. 🙂  It feels like such an elegant cake and so moist and so delicious.

Chantilly Lace

My Slice

Chantilly Lace sure put a smile on my face! 😉

Question of the Day: About the whole mocking issue, does that ever happen to any of you?  Does it bother you?  Should I even be bothered by it?  How do you deal with taking pictures in public with people who just don’t get it?

It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Today is the day I was born back in 1982.  Gosh, I feel like I’m so old being so close to thirty, but when I see kids in high school and college I don’t feel that there is that much of a difference.  Woke up for work and had some b-fast before heading out–greek honey yogurt, handful of blackberries, handful of blueberries, and a handful of peanut butter granola.  Cold and refreshing!

Berries + Yogurt + Granola = :0)

Before the start of our faculty meeting, the entire faculty sang Happy Birthday to me.  As a kid that is the best thing ever, but as an adult a little bit embarrassing.  But it definitely brightened up my day!

After of a mornings of meetings (Umm, have I been drinking? No! Just got done exercising; I should be more clear-headed!), it was time for lunch.  I enjoyed turkey, laughing cow light swiss, and dijonaisse on a bagel thin.  On side I ate some celery and carrot sticks dipped in jalapeno hummus and a dark chocolate square.

Bagel Sammie Made by the Hubby--Thanks Chris!

Picture Snapped Before Anyone Else Entered Lounge

Since it was my birthday, another teacher bought me a cake, which I didn’t think to snap a picture; and that is something I should be snapping without being all secretive about it.  It was a marbled cake with fluffy white and purple icing.  I did bring a couple pieces (smashed) home, so took a picture of them so you could get a sneak peek.

Sorry Cake, I didn't mean to treat you so poorly!

I probably ate a piece about the size of the smaller one.  But might have more in a few.

Sweet Marbled Goodness

Ate a handful of these chips with salsa while I heated up dinner.

10 or so Chips with Don Pablo's Hot Salsa

After Dad visited for a while, I heated up some red beans I had in the freezer to enjoy over brown rice.  (The hubby is working late so we will celebrate with the family another day.)  I had a cup of the beans over a cup of rice with bits of pickled meat and one piece of smoked sausage.

Always Fresh...Never Frozen...Not!

Next, I decided to hit up the gym for some cardio.  I did 30/5/20 on the elliptical, stairmaster, and bike.  Then decided it was 10 minutes to 9 and I needed to get home.

So that’s how I rolled on this fine day of the year!  Not exactly a party, but I don’t really see a need to cry about anything.  I did get some fab things out of the deal:

1. A Happy Birthday Song

2. A Delish Cake

3. People Being Extra Nice

4. Over 30 Messages on My Facebook Page

5. A Check From Dad (and visit from Dad)

6. A Call From MawMaw Stating She Had My Bond

7. Several Texts From Hubby

8. Coupon For a Free Smoothie When I Checked In At the Gym

9. A Bunch of “Thank You’s” For Sharing the Cake

10. A Comment on Yesterday’s Blog Post

11. Goodies For My Classroom from the Account Clerk

12. A Sony Cybershot Camera from Hubby (got it Saturday though; he can’t ever wait for the actual day)

13. A Shopping Trip and Lunch with Mom (took place Sunday)

14. A Call From Sister (we’ll be meeting up tomorrow evening and Sunday)

15. Several Compliments throughout the Day

Thank you to everyone for making my day special!  I would say it’s been a good day! 🙂 And in the words of Martha Stewart, “it’s a good thing.”

Question of the Day:  What is one thing that brightened up your day today?

Green Monster Take 1

This morning I woke up at 9:00, but was not hungry for b-fast.  So I opted to make and drink some coffee (which I did not enjoy, just didn’t taste good today) and  wait a while to see if I would be in the mood for some FOOD.  The morning rolled on as I read my emails, read some blogs, read the news on NOLA.com, and checked out some other websites.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the net time just flies by.  By now it was around 11 o’clock and I decided I needed to get movin’.  I threw on some clothes and took Niko, the german shepherd, and Herbie, the shitzu/puggle, for a walk.  We went around two blocks and by that time I could tell that fatso Herbie was ready to get home due to the scorching heat and the fact that older brother, Niko, was practically running as lil’ Herbs tried to keep up.  So the last block I joined in the run home and thankfully Herbie made it too.

By now both the dogs and I were ready for some lunch.  I mixed up the dogs’ food and decided on a turkey taco salad for myself.  Into my small casserole dish, I added about 1 cup of romaine, about 1 cup baby spinach, 6 grape tomatoes, 4 slices (1 serving) of deli smoked turkey, 1 stick of reduced fat cheese broken into crumbles, 2 tblsp of hot salsa, 1 tblsp of light sour cream, and about 7 blue corn chips crumbled on top.  Can we say Mmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm!?!?  Take a look for yourself; I bet it will make you want some Mexican!  And the salsa and sour cream provides a nice dressing for about 30 calories rather than 130 of one of those full fat, creamy dressings.  So that entire salad is less than 300 calories and tastes much more fresh than one you could get at a fast food joint for over triple the amount of calories.

Giant salad


And after the salad:

Thick, creamy greek yogurt

After lunch, I decided to tackle the Green Monster–not the green monster smoothie that I’ve read about in many other foodie blogs, but the Green Monster otherwise known as my backyard.  The grass really needed to be cut and I thought it would be a nice surprise for the hubby.  So out in the near 100* heat I went and cut the grass.  After about 35 minutes I was done and needed something to cool down.  So I next attempted the green monster known as a smoothie.  Into the blender went a handful of spinach, a banana, 7 strawberries + 1 for garnish, 1/2 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, a cup of water, and 4 ice cubes.

I blended away to get none other than this.

Not so much of a green monster after all, more like a pink/brown monster.  Oh well, better luck next time.  It looks prettier in the pictures than what it looked like in real life.  Just so you know, I couldn’t taste the spinach at all.

I needed a snack a little while later after cleaning and mowing and walking.  Wheeew!

Celery + Carrots + Red Pepper Hummus

Got these bad boys at the grocery yesterday and chopped them earlier to have on hand in the fridge for a simple, healthy snack.  I’m always much more willing to eat ’em if they are chopped and easily accessible right front and center of the fridge.  Can I get a hoorah for the veggies?!?  🙂

The boys were pooped too after the grass cutting episode.  See–