Breakfast Bonanza, day one

The sky was extra beautiful last night.

Fierce and burning on one side. 
 

Bright blue and gentle on the other.

This resulted in a gorgeous splash of color.  The leaves were like little mirrors, reflecting the light in all different directions. 

It was stunning.

Breakfast Bonanza…step 1…

Something about the beautiful sky made me feel like baking.  Or maybe I was just looking for any old excuse to turn the oven on.

For my first breakfast bonanza challenge, I had my heart set on breakfasts scones.  With hints of cinnamon.  And orange. 

And a handful of dried cranberries for good measure.

When adding the butter to your dry mix, use a pastry cutter if this utensil is part of your kitchen collection.

If you’re like me, however, and a pastry cutter is still on your amazon wish list, two knives will do just fine. 

Hands work well too.

Cooked to golden perfection.  In fifteen minutes flat.  What’s not to love?

Breakfast Bonanza…step 2…

When it comes to breakfast, I like to focus on eating a good mix of whole grains (with fiber!), healthy fat, and lean protein.  The protein is great for keeping you full all morning long. 

I could have had eggs with my morning scone.  But I kind of, sort of, wanted greek yogurt.  Without the price tag.  😉

You will need: One strainer with very tiny holes, a bowl and a paper towl.

I wasn’t sure how much yogurt I would “lose” with the straining process, so I used two yogurts just to be on the safe side. 

Place paper towl in strainer, pour yogurt on top of paper towel, and let yogurt strain in the fridge overnight. 

(somehow this reminded me of milking a cow :mrgreen: )

Breakfast Bonanza…step 3…

Time.  To.  Eat.

This morning, I topped the greek yogurt with walnuts and a drizzle of agave.  I love how thick and creamy this came out.  Very much like chobani.

I ended up using the yogurt as more of a topping for my scone, because that’s the way I roll. 

Delicious.

Greek Yogurt–serves 1 or 2

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to include greek yogurt in your life, it’s time to make your own! 

  • 2, 6-oz. containers of plain, nonfat yogurt
  • toppings of choice

Place a paper towel in a very small-holed strainer.  Place strainer over a bowl.  (Make sure the strainer does not touch the bottom of the bowl.)  Pour yogurt on top of paper towel and let it sit overnight in refrigerator.  Pop out of paper towel the next morning, and serve with your favorite toppings (fresh fruit, nuts, honey, granola, etc.)  Enjoy! 😀

Breakfast Scones–serves 4

These were subtle in sweetness, perfect for an early morning.  Not to mention the fact that they’re very transportable.  You could easily throw a couple of these into a container with a handful of nuts and a fruit for breakfast-on-the-go. 😀

  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 6 dashes of cinnamon
  • zest of one orange
  • handful of dried cranberries (about 2-3 T.)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (or 1/2 c. milk + 1 tsp lemon juice)
  1. Mix together first 6 ingredients (oats through cranberries.)  Cut in the butter until you have a mixture of fine crumbs.  Mix in the buttermilk, just until moistened.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Portion out 4 round scones and bake at 475 until golden brown, about 12-13 minutes.
  3. Eat while still hot or cool on rack.  May be reheated in toaster oven the following morning. 😀
  4. ENJOY!

Question: What is your favorite way to eat yogurt?

In case you missed it, there’s a Breakfast Bonanza occuring from today until November 6.  The idea is to mix things up and try new breakfasts for an entire week.  Feel free to let me know if you’ve made an awesome breakfast (via comment,) and I’ll post your breakfast my official breakfast post next week. 😀

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so long sorry

I’m not rude.  I don’t block the grocery isles with my shopping cart so that nobody else can walk through.  I don’t cut people off on the highway or honk my horn because you didn’t go through the green light fast enough.  I don’t snub people–ever–even when I’m being treated rude in return.

So why am I constantly saying “sorry”?

As my sister and meandered through Barnes and Noble, we found ourselves saying the “s”orry word at least a dozen times.  It’s the way we were raised.  Always be polite.  This thought process has traveled with me even into adulthood, where I find myself sheepishly saying “sorry” for everything.  Sorry for the inconvenience in asking you to move so that I can gently squeeze through the grocery isle.  Sorry that it took me just a little too long to move forward in the service line at the book store.  Sorry that I’m confusing you on my coffee order even though you’re being overtly rude to me.  Sorry.

Sorry. 

Here and now, I am setting a pact.  I refuse to be sorry.

Wait.  That sounds a little silly. 

I don’t mind being sorry.  Really, I don’t.  I’ll be the first to jump up and apologize if I’m truly in the wrong.  But I’m realizing more and more, the importance of standing up for yourself.  Because the instant that you say that you’re sorry, you’re also saying “I’m in the wrong.”  This opens up not only a feeling of disrepect for yourself, but also an opening for people to walk all over you.

In other words, I’m saying “so long to sorry” when it’s unnecessary and wrong.  I choose to respect myself enough to stand up for the fact that I’m not always the one who should be apologizing. 

So long “sorry!” 😀

Pumpkin “Un”Overnight Oats

Pumpkin is one of my favorite oat mix-ins, especially now that the fall weather is officially here to stay.

Summer and fall collided this morning, as I mixed together a sliced, frozen banana into a bowl of “un”overnight, pumpkin oats.  The combination was delightful, and I plan on doing it again tomorrow.  Sorry to be so repetitive (pun intended.) 😉  

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger
  • 6-oz. plain, nonfat yogurt
  • 1 banana, frozen and sliced
  • toppings: 2 T. walnuts, sweetened & dried coconut, Trader Joe’s apple cranberry butter

Today’s Challenge: Respect yourself!  Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry”, but also don’t be afraid to realize that you’re not always the one in the wrong.  Stand up for yourself, respect yourself, and don’t let people walk all over you.  You truly do deserve better, and don’t ever let anyone tell you differently!

breakfast in a hurry

Sometimes I like to spend hours in the kitchen. 

Throwing together homemade samosas and carrot soup, all on a whim.  Just because I can.

And then there are times when I need short-cuts.

Let’s take steel cut oats as an example.

Steel cut oats take a good 30-40 minutes of your attention.  This is fine for lazy weekends, but not so much for a busy week day.  What’s a busy girl to do?

Well, duh.  There are rolled oats for people like us.

But, really, sometimes you want steel cut oats.  They impart a deliciously nutty bite, and may even keep you full longer since the digestion time is increased.  I like to think of it in this way: steel cut oats > rolled oats > instant oats.  In regards to the fullness factor, anyways.

I’ve discovered that there is indeed a short cut to having steel cut oats during the week.  And that is simply to prepare one heeping batch at the beginning of the week and pop it in the fridge.

Four servings worth of steel cut oats.  Just cut it, pop it in a microwave safe bowl, throw in your favorite fillings and heat to desired temperature.  In 3-4 minutes, you’ll have steel cut oats for a busy, week day breakfast!!

This morning I had to drive in early for a Food Service Director’s meeting, which meant that breakfast needed to be extra, extra quick to throw together.  Cha, cha, chilly oats became my breakfast of choice.

  • 1 serving of steel cut oats (about 1/4 c. uncooked)
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 T. craisins
  • toppings: granola and almond butter

Served with hot tea for a lil’ warmth on a chilly morning. 😀

Another busy day tomorrow.  But hopefully by the end I will be ServSafe certified! :mrgreen:

Question: Do you have any “secret” shortcuts for meals/snacks/breakfasts that would normally take a long time to make?

building menus

I slept in this morning!  And I loved every delicious minute. :mrgreen:

There are some times when it’s necessary to kick yourself out the door and into your regular workout routine.  And then there are other times—such as today—when the healthiest option is to just rest.

I’ve been playing limbo with a lingering cold this past week.  It’s like my immune system is playing tug-of-war with a stuffy head.  My bets are on my immune system.  It’s just taking a little longer than I would like. 😉  Needless to say, the extra sleep felt good.  Amazing, actually.  Sometimes you just have to listen to your body. 

My bowl of oat bran was exceptionally creamy this morning.  I think it’s due to the ripe banana and chia seeds.  So yummy!

  • 1 c. lowfat milk
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon + nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. oat bran
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 T. dried cranberries
  1. Bring milk, banana, and spices to a boil.
  2. Add in oat bran, chia seeds and cranberries.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 6 minutes, whipping every so often.

Creamy.  Creamy.  Oh so creamy!

Today, my internship involved grocery shopping.  And I loved it. :mrgreen:

Yesterday involved a meeting with a mom whose son has celiac disease.  She’s concerned about what he can eat, his own personal self esteem issues related to this new diet, being able to still “fit in” with the other kids, etc.  It was awesome being there to listen in on the conversation between her and the food service director.  I can’t wait until it’s my turn to educate someday. 

At least I had the opportunity to create a brochure and a 2-week cycle menu for the boy with celiac.  I had to keep the school’s budget in mind, as well as making it as easy as possible on the food service workers.  Thankfully, there was a little wiggle room to be able to purchase special gluten-free products, which instantly helped with helping him still “fit in” with the other kids.  This is where the grocery shopping came in. 

I found a gluten-free pizza crust, along with some tortilla wraps for deli sandwiches.  Pastas, gluten free cereals, rice cakes, cheesesticks, sun-butter, and other such foods found their way into the menu too.  Fun!

On my own lunch menu for today: 2 slices Arnold German Dark Wheat Bread, 1/4 c. roasted red pepper hummus, grated carrot and thinly sliced green bell peppers

I always forget about bringing yogurt for snacks! 

Today I packed up some plain yogurt with a chopped orange and a sprinkle of pumpkin flax granola.  This kept me full between an early breakfast and a later lunch. 😀

I also snagged an apple and some chopped carrots, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes for an afternoon snack.

My Food Service Preceptor told me that the Au Bon Pain chicken noodle soup from the school was delicious, and it sounded so perfect for my sore throat.  I grabbed a small dish to accompany my sandwich and it was absolutely perfect.  Not too salty tasting, like some other chicken noodle soups out there, and the carrots still had a nice firm bite to them.

Fun.  Lunch.

The rest of the afternoon zipped by in a flash. 

Menu planning, union meetings, and making brochures left me (a) ready for a walk and (b) ready for dinner.  I ate dinner first and went for a 3-mile walk afterwards.  Both were amazing. 😀

Veggie Pizza Slice #1 (see recipe page)

Veggie Pizza Slice #2

Plus greenage! 

Mesculin greens, carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, olives.  Drizzled with EVOO.  I like my salads kept plain and simple these days. 😀

I am now off to unwind a bit before another busy day begins tomorrow.  I have a seminar class with my fellow interns, and I’m excited to see what everyone’s been up to.  😀

Question: How do you treat a sore throat?  Ideas?  My mom is convinced that gargling with salt water is key, but I just can’t do it.  Usually I stick to teas and hot bowls of oats.  It’s a temporary fix, but it still makes me feel better. 😉

cha-cha-chillin’ out

How pretty are these roses from our flower garden??

The kitchen was intoxicated with the sweet, lingering smell of fresh roses this morning.  Mmm…

This morning, I decided to squeak in an early morning run since I had that extra hour before heading to work.

First I had a nice hot bowl of oatbran.  Same ol’, same ol’ as yesterday’s bowl.  The cranberries in the warm, creamy liquid are the star of the show.  They really plump up and add such a nice touch of sweet and tart. 😀

I like to follow these guidelines with cold morning runs:

<30 degrees: Under Armour Tights with shorts + t-shirt + Under Armour long sleeved shirt
<50 degrees: Under Armour Tights with shorts + t-shirt
>50 degrees: Shorts + t-shirt or tank top

For the most part, these simple guidelines work like a charm.  The temperature is already dropping to 42 degrees in the early morning, which means I’ve been running in warmer running tights.  It’s not quite cold enough to switch to wearing long sleeves yet, but we’ll be there before you know it.  I even saw my breath this morning! 

New seasons make me so excited! 😀 

My legs felt really fresh for my morning run.  I took the past few days off from running, sticking only with my regular walking routine.  The rest was was *so* worth it.  Three miles of running felt easy! 😀

Lunch was kept fresh and simple today!

  • mixed greens
  • cucumbers
  • yellow and red garden tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. black beans
  • cheese stick
  • carrot
  • mushrooms
  • olive oil and sea salt

With some kashis, an apple, and a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar for snacks.

I’m sticking to my original thoughts on these “new” larabar flavors.  Fun, yummy, but a little too pricey for my liking.  Although this one might be worth buying now and again.  Soooo sweet and chocolatey. 😀

Afternoon Snack: yogurt + natures path pumpkin flax granola + teddy peanut butter

My throat was feeling a little funky tonight.  Not really sore, not really scratchy, but kind of just…you know…funky.

A hot bowl of split pea soup felt oh so right. 😀

(see recipe page for recipe!)

On the side, I had a melted sharp cheddar cheese quesadilla. 

Simply heat up a frying pan, spray with cooking spray, and toss on a whole wheat tortilla wrap.  Sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/4 c. per person) and fold in half.  Flip and toast to perfection!

+ steamed broccoli and mixed veggies for that little somethin’ extra

I finished the night off with a hunk of 88% dark chocolate. 😀

I. Am. So. Tired. Tonight.

I think I’m running on chronic sleep deprivation, due to early mornings and late nights.  There’s no excuse for going to bed late last night.  Just that I stayed up a little too late watching the end of LOST.  I waited to see the end of the series until I caught up with all the reruns.  I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but…the ending?!?  Not a fan.

Off to relax for the night and hopefully go to bed early.  Happy Hump Day! 😀

Question: Does your workout routine change at all once the cooler weather rolls around? 

weekend post: my most favorite of things

Thank you all for the get well wishes!  I’m still not feeling completely myself today, but at least I was able to do everything that I had set my plans—and my heart—on doing.  I can tell that my immune system is hard at work fighting something off, and I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll be back to normal.  😀

Today was filled to the brim with a few of my most favorite of things.  It all started with an early morning walk.

And a bowl of your basic oatbran.

This bowl of creaminess was filled—and topped—with warm, sweet bananas.  With a sprinkle of walnuts and chia seeds.  Plus a drizzle of fresh maple syrup.

A short breezy morning walk + a warm, filling breakfast + a hot cup of coffee = just a few of my most favorite of things.

Next on the list: hitting up a farmers market with my sis.  My best friend (aka, Nicole from Simple Moments.) 

We ooohed and ahhhed our way through thai basil, fresh organic kale, peppery radishes, and rainbow colored heirloom tomatoes.  It was nearly impossible not to buy everything in sight.  I’m sure you understand. 😀

And I also spent some time with my fur-nephew Stitch.  He desparately needed a manicure, which is a two-woman job. 😉  Nicole held him, while I snipped away.  He’s such a sweetie-pie, and just acts all upset and hurt vs. scratching or biting.  The poor little guy gave me the saddest look, with an expression that said, “I thought you loved me.”

The post-manicure kitty treats seemed to make up for any hurt feelings. :mrgreen:

 Spending time with Nicole + spending time with Stitch + hitting up a farmers market and feeling 100% inspired to continuously eat fresh and local = just a few of my most favorite of things.

My dad is convinced that everything tastes better when it’s cooked over an open fire. 

I’m convinced that he’s right.

Dad built a gigantic tripod, complete with a chain link to attach a cooking pot. 

Dinner over an open fire.  It felt so early American.  Completely primitive.

On the menu: split pea soup!

 And crackers for dunking.

My bowl was filled, filled, filled to the brim with warmth. 

 But wait!  No campfire is complete without s’mores.  It would be so wrong not to bring out the graham crackers, the fluffy marshmallows and the dark chocolate squares.

Step 1: toast a marshmallow.

Step 2: Redo ‘Step 1’ as necessary.

Step 3: Top the toasted ‘mallow with a square of dark chocolate.

Step 4: Ooze together. 

Dad’s s’more—obviously—came out perfect.

Step 5: Enjoy.  Each.  Bite. 

Don’t be afraid to get all messy.

A campfire + Split Pea Soup cooked over a fire + ooey, gooey s’mores = a few of my most favorite of things.

Twas a deliciously wonderful Saturday.  In every sense of the word. 😀

Goodnight World!!

Question: What were a few of your favorite things about today?

Food Stars

 In every good movie, there is a celebrity.  A star.  The main actor.  The reason you watch the movie in the first place.

Food isn’t so different.

Take breakfast, for example.  Just my standard bowl of banana ‘n’ oats, topped with granola, chia seeds, coconut…

 

 …and Trader Joe’s almond butter. 

Almond butter.  It stole the show.  I mean, everything else was delicious, and there would have been no meal without the oats, the milk, the banana.  But still.  It was all about the almond butter.

 

 Then there was lunch.

You all know I love my salads.  Whether it’s basic like this one, or filled out to the max.  Love. 

 Extra virgin olive oil.  Tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden.  Buttery white beans.

But it all came down to the cheese.  Robusto cheese, to be exact.  Full of little crystals that pop when you chew, melting into your tongue with a burst of sharp, nutty flavor.  I like to try all different types of cheese, but I’m pretty sure I could settle down and enjoy this one for the rest of my life. 

 

dessert: watermelon x2!!!

snack: grapefruit and almonds

 

 Dinner had a major role player as well, although this one was a little harder to narrow down.

Was it the brown rice cooked in vegetable broth?

The grilled zucchini, cooked with olive oil, garlic powder and pepper?

 

 Was it the grilled chicken, smothered in garlic powder, paprika, parsley, pepper, & a little olive oil?

Was it the fresh salsa, made of Trader Joe’s mild salsa and diced avocado?

 

No. 

It was the date.  The sweet, innocent medjool date that I ate for dessert.  At first glance, he doesn’t look like much.  But, you know, first appearances really aren’t everything.

Densely sweet.  Chewy.  Nature’s candy. 

Melt.  In.  Your.  Mouth.  Delicious.

Question: What were some of the “food stars” of your day?

it’s the sauce

New month.  New beginnings.  New goals. 

Goal #1: Create a strength training workout routine (at least 2 times a week) and learn to enjoy it.

Goal #2: No tv for the entire month of July.

I’ve got to be honest with you guys.  Goal #2 is going to be tough for me.  And it’s not that I watch a lot of tv, but it’s always on after 9 o’clock as a brainless source of entertainment.  What would life be without that, I wonder.  And now I’ll find out.  The hardest part will be nixing my regular Tuesday night fix of Jillian Michaels.  Ah well.  Maybe I’ll go out for a run instead. 😉

Any new goals for the month of July?

Breakfast

Hot apples ‘n’ oats just felt right this morning. 

I love this combination of flavors.  It feels very “autumn” which fit with this morning’s chilly 58 degrees.  YES!  58 degrees.  July seems to already be full of surprises.

  • 1/4 c. oatbran
  • 1/4 c. wheatbran
  • 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 pink lady apple, diced small
  • toppings: 2 T. Galaxy Granola Maple Pecan Quinoa and a dollop of Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter

Morning Snack: A HUGE Grapefruit and a Handful of Almonds

And so my strength training goal has begun.  I spent 15 solid minutes of working out my arms, but I think I need a more structured plan.  And more ideas!  So if you have any strength training tips and tricks that you’d like to share, I would definitely love to hear them. 😀  The workout didn’t leave me begging for more (the goal is to learn to enjoy strength training too, after all ) but it did leave my arms sore and happy.

  • 3 sets of 20 one arm dumbbell rows
  • 3 sets of 15 bicep curls
  • planks…lots and lots of planks + side planks (for some strange reason, I love these )
  • 3 sets of 5 push-ups against the stairs
  • 3 sets of 10 chair dips

Lunch

Hummus sandwiches used to be my staple, go-to meal during college.  I love how convenient they are to make (as easy as pb&j!) and I love all the different hummus varieties out there.  Today I chose a garlic lover’s hummus which completely lived up to its name. 

I also scooped on some spicy black bean & corn salsa, along with two large tomato slices and some lettuce.  Hummus and salsa.  It’s a winning combination.

On the side, I added in some raw produce for c-r-u-n-c-h! 

Garlic.  Hummus.  Veggies.  Yum.

+ a square of 90% dark Lindt chocolate with a smear of Teddy chunky, salted peanut butter

Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt, 2 T. crushed flax, 1/2 banana, scoop of Pb&Company Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Dreams

Dinner

Here’s a confession: I’ve never been a pasta fan.  I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but to no avail.  And I consider this to be a downright shame.  After all, how can I consider myself a foodie, when I have such a deep dislike for something as innocent as a noodle?  What ever would happen if I visited Rome and left without ordering a giant plate of pasta?  *gasp* It’s basically a sin, and I know that full well.

But I can’t help it.  Pasta seems so boring to me.  Tasteless.  Stringy.  Nothing special.  It’s the sauce that people remember.  It’s the sauce that makes people bring their hands to their lips with a loud “smack”—mwuahh!—as they indulge with a deep sigh of pleasure.  It’s the sauce that makes an Italian restaurant famous.

It’s the sauce! 

And maybe the meatballs.

My mom is an expert at both, and she keeps her recipe tucked away like an ancient treasure.  It’s thick, it’s chunky and it’s top secret. 

As an aside, I’m sure some poor Italian would be crying right now if they saw that I used this sauce to top my sauteed zucchini and vidalia onion, along with some steamed baby lima beans.  What can I say?  It’s the sauce!  And the meatballs. 

Side Salad

+ two slices of homemade bread for dipping

Question: When it comes to spaghetti, is it all about the sauce, the pasta itself, or both? 

how convenient

Two busy bumblebees.

One rainbow.

One leaf falling.

Four birds flying.

Let’s just say that looking up at the sky while in a side plank position is way more exciting when done outdoors versus looking up at the ceiling of my basement.  Tack it on to the ever growing list of why I love summer so much.

Followed by my morning workout which included fifteen minutes of arms and fifteen minutes of legs, I set out to make a hot, steamy bowl of oatbran.  Leave it to me to crave such a breakfast on one of the hottest days of the year (although, I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this 😉 ).

  • 1/4 c. oatbran
  • 1/4 c. wheatbran
  • 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 c. fresh strawberries
  • toppings: 1 tsp chia seeds, 1 T. Galaxy Granola, 1 scoop of peanut butter

It made for one delicious breakfast.

Morning Snack: a juicy orange

By noon today, it was 85 degrees and humid—I had one thing on the brain: salads.  I can not get enough of these big bowls of produce.  And for one reason or another, this bowl of green was particularly interesting today. 

Full of f-r-e-s-h. 

Full of c-r-u-n-c-h. 

Full of carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, mushrooms, sliced bell peppers and white beans. 

I’m really into simple dressings lately.  This salad was drizzled with a small amount of olive oil (about 1 tsp) and followed with a bit of sea salt.  So simple.  So delicious. 

+ kashis and a slice of swiss

+ some after-lunch sweetness in the form of my favorite kind of berry

 Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt + 2 T. crushed flax + 2 T. Galaxy Granola Hint of Honey

When it comes to dinner, who doesn’t like a bit of convenience now and then?  I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes when life gets hectic, dinner needs to be simple.  And quick.

I was tempted to pick up a box of veggie burgers for tonight’s dinner, even though it wasn’t on my shopping list (okay, $4 wouldn’t exactly break the bank, but I’m trying to be good here.)  I sighed and placed them back into the freezer as I scrambled to think of something that would be just as quick and easy.  Then it occurred to me…duh!  I could make my own!

I had successfully made homemade black bean burgers in the past (using KERF for inspiration!,) and I also happened to remember that they were super easy to prepare.  Cheap and convenient?  Sign me up!

Black Bean Burgers

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. worcestershire sauce
  • lots of garlic powder (lots, lots, lots)
  • cayenne to taste (remember that this stuff is hot)
  1. Just mash everything together really well.  It takes some good strong effort.  Don’t be afraid to show those beans who’s the boss!
  2. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or longer.
  3. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray, heat to medium and cook 4 patties until browned on one side.  Flip over and cook until browned to preference.  About 10-12 minutes total.

The first time I made these, I undercooked them.  This time I remained patient and let them crisp and brown up nicely.

Served with side salads, sweet potato fries, a whole wheat bun and some Trader Joe’s catsup.  They were just as delicious as I remembered them to be.  Yum!

Off to make a snack and read some of Eat, Pray, Love.  I’d like to finish the book before the movie comes out. 😀

Question: It’s late.  You’re hungry.  Food needs to be placed on the table as quickly as possible.  What do you do/make/buy?  First I grab a carrot stick or a handful of almonds to prevent myself from chewing off my arm.  And some of the easiest meals that I’ve made in a hurry include sweet potatoes with black beans&salsa, or scrambled veggie omelets.  In a pinch, cereal isn’t such a bad option either.  😉

Thursday Thai

It was a rainy morning, and I found myself sleeping in until the ripe old hour of 7:08. 

This is serious stuff for me.  It means that I’m slowly overcoming my internal alarm, which normally shouts at me when I dare to sleep beyond 6:30.  “Get up, get up—there’s so much to do!”  I trained myself to think this way during 4 years of college, so naturally it takes more than one night to overcome this voice.  But slowly—oh-so-slowly—my body is learning that it’s okay to “sleep in” now and again.  A dark, cool, rainy morning certainly helps in this department.

I wanted to finish off the Dannon yogurt this morning, so I made a yogurt & oat mess and called it breakfast:

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 2 T. wheat bran
  • 1 pink lady apple, chopped
  • 6-oz. plain, nonfat dannon yogurt
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
  • toppings: 2 T. walnuts

I like to keep a record of all my workouts in a journal.  It’s a great way to pinpoint what works, what doesn’t work, where injuries might have possibly come from, etc.  It’s also a great motivation tool.  I can look back at all my past workouts and training schedules to see where I’ve been and how far I have come.

As I was journaling about my 3-mile run + 1-mile walk this morning, I quickly noted “laid back work-out week” at the top of the page.  Then I realized how dull this sounded and scratched it out.  Since when did 3-miles become laid back?  Just last month, I couldn’t even run a mile without severe knee pain.  I should be jumping—absolutely leaping!—with joy, over the fact that I ran without knee pain.  I should be shouting at the top of my lungs.  I should be dancing through the streets (okay, maybe I’m getting a little carried away now.)  The point is that it’s so easy to forget how far I’ve come in training and where I once was.  Our bodies do so much for us, and it’s incredibly important that we give it the respect that it deserves. 

The current “getting back from an injury” running plan: 3 times a week MAX, 3-miles each run MAX—until the end of July, and then I’ll see how things are feeling from there on 😉

Post run, I quickly headed to the deck to ice my knees and refueled with a grapefruit and some almonds.

I had many food items to finish off in the refrigerator before going grocery shopping today.  And—lucky me—they all worked marvellously together to form one killer of an omelet (or veggie scramble, which is probably a more accurate a way of describing it 😉 ).

  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white
  • steamed broccoli
  • 3 mushroom caps, sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 slice of reduced fat, sargento provolone cheese

On the side, I toasted two slices of homemade wheat bread, topped with a pat of butter. 

Afternoon Snack: Voskos Plain Non-Fat yogurt with a homemade blueberry banana muffin

I’ve mentioned my sister and her talented tastebuds before, and I’ll mention it again.  It completely blows my mind to see her taste something and know what the secret ingredient is.  The ingredient that makes the dish.  And then she goes home and remakes it in her own kitchen.  Yes.  It blows my mind.

I have no ability at all when it comes to pinpointing a specific ingredient.  When I order a meal at a restaurant, I simply know whether my tastebuds are happy or not.  It serves me well for the most part.  Just don’t ask me to tell you what’s in your favorite dipping sauce.  I honestly couldn’t tell you.   

However, I’ve been toying with the idea of remaking the Cheesecake Factory’s Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps ever since I first tried them.  And this recipe is as close as I’ve come to repeating the meal.  But don’t be upset if it tastes nothing at all like the real deal.  All I can promise is that it will make your tastebuds very, very happy. 

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chicken:

  • 1 lb. chicken breast, sliced into long, thin strips
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp dried garlic (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Heat the broiler on high. 
  2. Mix all ingredients together, add chicken.  Marinate for 20 minutes.  Thread chicken onto wooden skewers and place on broiler pan (cover ends of sticks with foil to avoid burning them.)
  3. Cook under broiler for 8 minutes, flipping once halfway.

Other Ingredients:

Just have fun with the rest of the stuff!  I julienned some carrots, added in some black beans with red onions, bean sprouts, red bell peppers and cucumbers.  I also had guacamole and peanut sauce for dipping (check the label to be sure you can pronounce the ingredients…or better yet, make your own!  )  This was easily one of the funnest, tastiest meals of my week. 😀

Tomorrow is my sis’ 27th birthday!   If you want to wish her a Happy Birthday, check out her blog: Loving Simple Moments.  We’re spending the day with shopping, girly chatter, and icecream sundaes.  I don’t think it gets any better. :mrgreen:

Question: Have you ever tried to recreate a meal that you had while eating out?  Is there a meal that you wish you could recreate?