Not Your Everyday Football Fare

Any Saints fans out there?  Tonight was a big game for the “Bless You Boys" against the “dirty birds.”  And thankfully the New Orleans Saints pulled it together to get a W on the board against the Atlanta Falcons.

Earlier today Mom and I went to La Madeleine’s for lunch and she asked if I was planning football food on the dinner menu.  I desperately needed to cook my spaghetti squash that I purchased a few weeks back, so I wasn’t planning on typical game food, but more of a meal to go along with squash.  Just before the big game I asked Chris what he felt like eating for dinner with the squash and replied pork chops.  So on to the store I went to collect much needed staples and pork chops, which just so happened to be buy 1 get 1 free today.  Score!

Prior to running to pick up groceries, I turned on the oven and prepped the squash for roasting as previously done here roasting the whole squash.  I asked hub to stick it in the oven so it would be nearly done by the time I got back. 

Once home, I seasoned my center cut bone-in pork chops with salt and pepper and browned them in a pan sprayed with nonstick spray for 5 minutes on each side.  The chops were removed and I added a sliced green pepper, sliced onion, and a tad of water to the same pan used to cook chops stirring and scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  As the vegetables cooked sown I removed the seeded pulp from the squash and then scraped out the spaghetti strands to be added to the pepper and onion mixture.  Along with the veggies, I added about 3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce to the pan.  The chops were placed on top of the veggie mixture, covered, and  cooked on low for twenty minutes more to ensure they were cooked through. 

This meal came together on a whim and turned out great!

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The squash did not keep its natural yellow color; it absorbed the teriyaki brown color, but it was still tasty.  The dish reminded me much of braised cabbage and pork.  Chris said “dinner was great” and it reminded him of french onion soup. 

As for my earlier eats today, I started with oats—more because I wanted to use my new bowl and less of the fact that I had no banana or milk to put in it.

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So I stirred sweet potato pecan butter into my very plain oatmeal and topped it with Fage Greek Yogurt with Honey.  It turned out to be a satisfying, not very warm breakfast.

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Mom and I headed to the gym a while later for cardio.  I did 20 minutes on the killer of a stair stepper, 20 minutes on the arc trainer, and 10 minutes on the bicycle.  I finished with some stretching to try to relieve the pain in my lower back/tailbone area and left hip.

Mom and I then stopped for lunch at our usual.  I ordered the wild fields salad and a bowl of country potato soup with cheese and bacon, please.

salad

Spring mix with balsamic vinaigrette

soup

Totally.hit.the.spot.

I also had a few bites of Mom’s pasta salad and sandwich.

While waiting for dinner to cook I shared a piece of cheese with my German Shepherd, Niko.

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And during the game—no beer for me, just coffee…

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No nachos, wings, or burgers; just an apple.

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Walking in New Orleans

On Friday and Saturday, after enjoying some of these…

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Apple Spice Muffins (will share recipe in another post)

and lots of this…

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and all of this…

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I desperately felt the need for a good workout.  After baking muffins and finishing some leftover pizza from Friday night, I met Mom at work so we could get our “swole” on. ;) 

Mom and I had to take another trip to the jeweler downtown so we decided to do that before working out.  Once downtown I mentioned how gorgeous the weather was and that we should just go walking the quarter to get our exercise rather than head back to the gym.  It was way too beautiful to be indoors.  So we decided to go walking in New Orleans.

There is nothing like walking around downtown hearing the sidewalk bands play well-known songs customary of New Orleans, listening to people chatting and laughing, hearing the sounds of the ferries and streetcars, children tapping on the street to earn a buck, or the bars filled with cheering crowds.  Not to mention all the sights one might come across.

F quarter 

Mom and I walked up and down the river and made a stop at the flea market.  We came upon a dance competition where people mostly in their twenties and thirties were swinging away. 

Dancing Dance 2 Dance 3

We then headed through the flea market where you can find all kinds of neat things.

 Fruit

HandmadeJewelry

Pics  Handmade 2 Masks

We continued with our walk past Jax Brewery.

Jax Brewery

Walking

Mom in the zone.

River

View of the river and Crescent City Connection. My apologies for poor picture quality; I only had my iphone on me.

me 

Once we got to the end of the Riverwalk, we both agreed we needed some fueling.

We stopped at the Time Out Sports Bar and Grill right outside the Riverwalk Mall and sat al fresco taking in the sights and sounds.

We started with a refreshing Arnold Palmer.

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And shared some Ultimate Nachos.Ult nachos

nachos

They definitely could have used something else.  More beans, the addition of salsa.  The cheese was concession stand, movie theater cheese.  I hoped for real cheese since the menu described it as cheddar cheese.  I guess my hopes were set to high and I should have gathered that it would be fake since the waiters were dressed like referees in black and white striped shirts and most of the patrons were decked out in purple and gold as they cheered on the LSU football team as the sounds played in the background.   

After finishing our drinks we headed back to the car to get home.   Once I got home my hub suggested he and I go for a bike ride around the neighborhood.  It was nice to get out and do that with him.  And we decided we would take the bikes to the levee along the river to do it more.

I really shouldn’t have eaten the nachos earlier in the day because hub and I had plans for a dinner date.  After showering, we headed to Sun Ray Grill right around the corner.

We started with the delta mushrooms. 

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Broiled with butter and parmesan served with French bread for topping.  It was tasty and buttery to say the least.  I had two slices of the bread with the mushrooms.

Next up, I tried the soup special, Butternut Squash Soup.  Hub had the gumbo.

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The soup was a bit too creamy for me, I thought it would more of a broth based soup.  I couldn’t even eat half of it.  Also, there was no meat in it, but it tasted like meat based stock was used—much like the sausage that was in hub’s gumbo.

Finally for my meal I ordered the pan roasted fish orleans served with whipped potatoes and veggies.  When the dish came out it looked nothing like brown buttered fish with potatoes and veggies.  It was more of a casserole that was brought to me.  So I waited for the waitress to return and asked what the dish was before me.  It turned out she thought I wanted the Mixed Seafood Pan Roast.  They took the casserole back and I decided I would just share hub’s Cioppino Pasta  rather than have the fish. I did eat a massive amount of nachos earlier in the day, so I wasn’t that hungry anyways.

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My portion on a salad plate.  The pasta was a creamy tomato sauce with shrimp that were cooked just right, mushrooms, and fried calamari with a tasty green sauce on top.  Looking at the menu, I do not remember tasting any crab in the dish, but maybe I just did not get any in my portion.

Overall, I enjoyed the food, although it is rich.  I am sure one could find some lighter fare if desired.  The service was great as there were not that many other people dining.  The chef even makes a visit to all tables to see how the meal is.  Hub and I agreed we would be back to try some other items on the menu.

All in all, Saturday was a wonderful day with plentiful eats and spending time with people who matter most.

Question of the Day:  When dining out, do you eat what you want or try to order healthier fare?

We’re Going Downtown

On Saturday, I started my day with a delicious breakfast of an egg, 2 slices turkey bacon, and laughing cow light cheese wedge on a sandwich thin.  On the  side I enjoyed a luscious plum.

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Yesterday afternoon Mom and I had plans to have lunch and to  take a ride downtown.  All I knew is that we were headed to a jewelry store, and I was not told why.  Because it was a SURPRISE from her and her boyfriend!

For lunch, we dined at one of our usual places near Mom’s work—La Madeleine.  I had a small spinach salad, a french onion soup with cheese, and two slices fresh wheat bread with butter and jam.  I also ate a couple bites of Mom’s pasta salad.

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I was a bit disappointed with my salad.  If you’ve never been to La Madeleine, you walk in and pick up a tray for your eats.  If you want a salad, you tell the salad chef right at the beginning of the counter and she makes it right before you in a large wooden bowl to  be plated and passed over the counter to be put on your tray just before placing any hot orders,  soup orders, and checking out at the cashier.   Well, as she began making my salad, two other women walked up and requested the same spinach salad.  So to my salad bowl, the cook added two more servings to mix the salad with the balsamic vinaigrette.  I received mine and headed to eat.

As I began eating I noticed I was only given one small slice of mushroom and one small slice of red bell pepper; obviously the other two women received all of my veggies that were supposed to be included in my salad.  I ate it, nonetheless, but I felt that I got gypped!

After lunch, Mom and I headed to downtown New Orleans.

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This is a streetcar, which is powered by the electric lines along its route.  The streetcars will bring you from uptown New Orleans on St. Charles Ave. to downtown New Orleans on Canal St. for a small fee.Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggies 006

Once downtown Mom led me to Jack Sutton’s Jewelry Store.  When we walked in, Mom pulled out a box and told the jeweler that we were there to get some watches sized.  To my surprise, I was given a very NICE (and expensive) watch with a mother of pearl dial and diamond bezel on a white gold band.  This watch is a timeless classic that I will have forever.  Unfortunately I won’t get it until Wednesday or Thursday because the watch was not functioning properly.  Once it is set it is supposed to be powered while being worn, but for some reason it would not work.  I am so thankful for my gift and it is something I would never have been able to purchase on my own.

To end our day together, Mom took me to Tutti Frutti for some dessert.  We bypassed the mini-lemon tarts earlier at La Madeleine and both agreed froyo would be worth the wait.

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My froyo flavors of choice were cake batter, coconut, and cafe au lait.  I added mochi, cheesecake, coconut, a few cookie dough pieces, mango, pineapple, and kiwi.  Honestly, I could have done without the cafe au lait; it didn’t go very well with my toppings.  But I did stick to three flavors this time—that’s a good thing.

Later on at home I heated up some black beans with a tad of water, cumin, chili powder, garlic salt, and onion powder.  I topped a whole wheat tortilla with the mashed beans, half avocado, salsa, and a dollop of sour cream.

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After this I still had the munchies, so I ate a bowl of granola with skim milk.

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This satisfied my hunger for the night.

Question of the night:  When you’ve already eaten dinner and you are still hungry, what is your go-to food?

Grocery Shopping 101

I’m still under the weather today, but am hopeful that my cold will soon disappear.  This morning I woke up and was unsure of what to eat, since I had no fresh fruit or veggies on hand, nor did I have any yogurt, eggs, or milk for that matter.  Upon looking in the freezer, I found some whole grain waffles and frozen bananas.  To my surprise I was able have a scrumptious breakfast in no time.  I toasted a waffle and topped it with about a tablespoon of peanut butter.  While the waffle was toasting, I whipped up a batch of Banana Soft Serve.  (Notice it gets capitalized because it is just that special!)  Banana Soft Serve is simply frozen bananas processed in a food processor until smooth and creamy deliciousness results.  You may have to stop to scrape the banana from off the sides as it is being blended due to clumping.  But the result is divine; I highly recommend that you let some bananas ripen, peel and freeze them, and whip up some soft serve.  It was like having dessert for breakfast, but nutritious at the same time.  I then topped my peanut butter waffle with the soft serve and some ground cinnamon.

Earl Grey Tea and Waffle Sundae

Lunch today was leftover vegetable soup, crackers, and frozen grapes for some sweetness.

All Together Now

Yum, Yum, Eat 'Em Up

Frosty

When you find your grapes on the verge of going bad and you can’t eat them all, pop ’em in a Ziploc and store in the freezer for a sweet, cold treat.  I have tried using them in smoothies, but they do not produce a good consistency, so I prefer them as is.

I desperately needed to hit up the grocery store and finally accomplished that task this evening.  On my way from work I snacked on a Kashi Bar to hinder my uncontrollable purchases when going to the grocery  store hungry.

My Bar Matched My Skirt

I really despise grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, but it is cheaper than Winn Dixie near my house and I am trying to save a little moolah on my food.  It is too crowded and seems to take forever when I go, but I went anyway.  And an hour and a half later I arrived home to cook up some dinner.  I made some crispy oven baked chicken (actually wish it would have been crispier, but better luck next time) to put in a healthified “snack wrap.”  Many fast food places offer the crispy and grilled chicken wraps, so if ordering from one of those types of places I’d definitely go with the grilled.  But tonight I was in the mood for some crispy chicken.  I originally intended to put it on a salad, but wasn’t quite in the mood for a big salad–so a wrap it was.

While preheating the oven to 350*, I breaded three boneless, skinless chicken breast by dipping them 1st in whole wheat flour (seasoned with salt and pepper), 2nd in an egg wash bowl made of one egg, tad of water, salt and pepper, and 3rd in italian breadcrumbs.  I then baked them on a broiler pan sprayed with nonstick spray for 40 minutes.  Lastly, they were put under the broiler for a couple minutes to get the top crispy.

My whole wheat wrap is filled with half of a breaded chicken breast, romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, half an avocado, and some honey mustard.

Wrap 'N Roll

I enjoyed some green bean fries on the side with salt, cajun seasoning, and ketchup.

This may make an appearance in my tummy later on.

Finally, I want to share some tips on my grocery shopping adventures.  Now this is not for those trying to shop healthily on a “budget” because I, myself, need some help with that.  This is only tips that I follow for making healthy food purchase.

*Do not go to the grocery hungry! As we all know, going to the grocery with a hungry stomach only leads to less money and your wallet and more (unhealthy) food than you intended to buy.  Eat a snack before heading out to shop or go after you’ve had a meal.  This will help to eliminate tempting, eye-catching, new, “low-fat” foods.

*Shop the perimeters to make up the bulk of your groceries. The perimeter of the store is where you can find healthy produce–fruits and veggies, lean meats, and healthy reduced fat dairy products.  Fill up your basket with mostly fruits and veggies.  Purchase fish, lean chicken, pork, or beef.  When purchasing cheeses, I usually look for a reduced fat variety.  If skim milk seems to watered down, then opt for low-fat.  (Vitamin D actually needs a small amount of fat for the body to absorb it anyway.)

*Go in the aisles for specifics, but do not go up and down every aisle. Tonight I went into the aisles for these things:  whole wheat spaghetti, quick-cooking oats or rolled oats, maple syrup, flavored tea, salsa, tomato and basil sauce, reduced sodium canned beans, canned white meat chicken, dark chocolate peanut butter (saw on another blog that Wal-Mart sold the PB & Co. brand; that’s the real reason I went to Wal-Mart) ;), whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat sandwich thins, pita chips, and pistachios because the husband loves ’em, oh and orzo pasta.  So there are healthy reasons to stray into the aisles.  And that leads to my next tip.

*Pay attention to the ingredient lists. If you cannot read the lists, it is probably filled with preservatives due to the amount of processing that needs to be done to make it actually taste good.  Avoid those foods at all costs.  They are not satiating and leave you wanting, craving more.

*Opt for whole grains. That is for pastas, rice, breads, etc.  Look at the ingredients that have whole wheat or whole grain listed first.  If it says “enriched” then the natural nutrients have been lost due to processing and some may have been unnaturally added back in along the way so steer clear of those.

*Avoid gimmicks. Do not believe that if you “eat three of these a day” you will lose all kind of weight.  Weight loss is simply calories consumed versus calories burned.  You can eat 2,000 calories of whatever food you want, but if your body does not burn those 2,000 calories then eventually it will add up.  To lose weight, eat fewer calories or even better participate in more physical activity to burn off what you consume.

That concludes my Grocery Shopping 101. Please be advised, I am not a nutritionist/dietician.  These are simply tips I have learned along my journey to living a more healthified life.

Question of the Night:  What tips do you follow for grocery shopping when trying to lead a healthy life?

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.

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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?

St. Cloud with a Chance of Parmesan

I woke up to the cloudy skies and moisture-filled air.  That type of weather puts a damper on my mood.  So I started the day off with a cup of coffee to try to awaken my unheigtened mood.  It really did not do the trick; for some reason my coffee has been too weak tasting the past couple of times I’ve made it.  I’m not sure why the change when I am making it the same way I always have in the past.

While reading some blogs, checking my email, news, etc., my dogs began barking aggressively at the sound of a delivery man at the door.  So I peaked out the blinds and there it was.  To my surprise, my package was delivered today.  My mood suddenly went from 😦 to 🙂 !  I hurriedly opened the cardboard box and was left a bit disappointed with my purchase once I tried them on.  The patterned shorts were too long.  I haven’t yet decided if I am going to send them back or have them hemmed.

After looking in the mirror for several minutes, I felt my growling stomach sending some signals my way.  So I decided on oatmeal for breakfast.  To my instant cinnamon honey oats I added a sliced banana, blueberries, and almonds. 

After breakfast I met my mom so we could head to the gym.  I was looking forward to it because I took a break this weekend because my hip has been giving me some trouble.  I always feel guilty when I skip a work out, but felt like my body needed the rest.  At the gym, we did 15 minutes on the elliptical followed by 30 minutes of weights.  We then headed back upstairs for 10 minutes on the arc trainer and 10 minutes on the treadmill.  Working out makes me feel so much better and much more energized, so I’m glad we went.

We then went shoe shopping at Marshall’s where Mom bought me four pairs of shoes for my birthday which is next week.  Yikes, I’ll be 28!  That’s so close to 30.  Scary! 

Next up, Charlie St. Cloud!  Wow, I didn’t realize how good looking Zack Efron is due to the fact I hadn’t seen any of his previous films.  It was well past lunch time, so I opted for a Parmesan Garlic Pretzel and a diet coke to enjoy during the movie.  The pretzel was way parmesany and garlicy.  I think I’ll stick to the cinnamon sugar ones from now on, but since I hadn’t eaten lunch I was feeling  something more savory.

Due to the darkness inside the theater, it was a bit difficult to get a good shot.  My iphone camera definitely does not produce top quality photos.  But I guess it serves the purpose.

So back to the movie!  It had a sad story line, but had a happy ending which I was glad for because the three movies I rented throughout the summer all ended sadly, which left me wondering “Can there ever be happy endings?”  And today showed me “yes, it is possible!”

Mom and I concluded our evening at La Madeleine’s where I had the salad sampler from the smart choices section.  I ate a petite caesar salad with fat free dressing, a cup of veggie soup, and a fruit cup.  I ate all of it except the honeydew melon, due to its tough, unripened texture.

After all was said and done, my tummy was full and my mood felt much better from spending the day with Mom!  It was certainly a happy ending to my day! 🙂

Question of the day:  When you go to the movie theater, what do you eat?  Do you forget your healthy ways and eat what you want or opt for something healthy(if that’s possible) or nothing at all?

Since I hadn’t eaten lunch and was hungry I really felt like I wanted to order nachos or a hot dog, but opted for the pretzel–a healthier choice in my opinion. 

 

Sushi Bowl

On Friday night, the hubby got off of work early and we had plans to meet some friends for bowling. Before bowling, hub and I stopped at a new Japanese restaurant called the Cherry Blossom which is in walking distance from our house.  They did a fantastic job of redesigning the interior of what once was a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint. Here is what I had and enjoyed it thoroughly.  Everything tasted fresh and fulfilling.
One ring from these fried calamari my husband ordered:

They looked more like onion rings, but it was calamari which had a crispy panko, tempura style coating.

I also had a cup of miso soup while hubs enjoyed his calamari.  Picture was not worth posting due to its blurriness.  (I’m using my iphone for all of my pictures, so I apologize for the very unprofessional images.  My b-day is coming up and I am hoping to get a camera from someone special.  😉 )

Here is my two sushi rolls both with brown rice instead of white.   Added note:  The calories are the same in white and brown rice.  A cup of each has about 200 calories, but the brown rice provides much more nutrients which you can read about here. I ate 5 pieces of the tuna roll and 5 pieces of my california roll.  In addition I had three pieces of the hubby’s philly roll.

Hers

His

After dinner, we met some friends for a fun filled night of bowling, darts, and pool.  So tonight, I am planning on catching up on some much needed sleep.  Good night ya’ll! 🙂