Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Great Day

Work continues to be really busy - and obviously effecting the frequency of my posts!  :)

My day started with eggs and toast.  I buy a loaf of french bread in the bakery at my grocery store and then ask them to slice it.  They slice it pretty thin so it makes really good, crispy toast.  Love it!

When I came home this evening, I threw together some "clean out the refrigerator" pasta.  Just throw in anything you need to use from the refrigerator!  It was pretty good!

Chicken, mushrooms, spinach, red bell pepper, broccoli, lemon, cream, whole wheat pasta, crushed red pepper, and parmesan cheese.

I was determined to go for a run tonight.  It's been almost a week since my last run and I was feeling pretty crappy about that.  I have a 10k race coming up so I need to start building my miles up again.  This was a great run.  Isn't it funny how you just feel light on your feet sometimes?  This was one of those times.  I could have kept going, but it was starting to get dark and I don't like to run in the dark.  I'll go for more mileage this weekend!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Girls Night Out!

This Saturday morning was very productive!  I was motivated by a few things - 1) I have a lot of things to get done before this afternoon; and 2) the house is clean and my kitchen is organized.  Well, not totally organized, but having the pantry done makes a huge difference.  Having a clean and organized work space is really energizing to me!

I have some bananas that are getting too ripe, so I peeled them and bagged them up to put in the freezer.  I have plans for these later...

Tonight I have big plans with a group of girlfriends!  About 3 or 4 times a year we have a slumber party where we eat, drink, talk, watch videos, stay up late and just have lots of fun!  We each bring something to snack on and something to drink.  Lately I've noticed in our emails that all of us are either trying to exercise more or eat better to shed some winter pounds so I decided to make something healthy.  I have a rainbow of veggies all cut into "sticks" for easy dipping!

Celery, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, yellow and red bell peppers.

I made regular and red pepper hummus for dipping and I also have some pita bread to take (hmm...wouldn't that make a good pita sandwich? Yum!).

I can't wait to dig in to this!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Guess What's For Dinner...

Another busy day, made a little easier due to the fact that IT'S FRIDAY!!!  I did get a decent break over lunch time and met Matt at the Spicy Pickle.  I was craving a sandwich with good bread and lots of veggies...I guess I was a little over zealous because I totally forgot to take a picture until I was more than halfway through.  Sorry!

Here's the rundown:  roasted chicken, provolone, sun dried tomato mayo, portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, avocado, kalamata olives, and artichoke hearts.  It took me about 5 minutes just to order this sandwich because of my long list of veggies, Matt made fun of me.  :)  Holy cow was it good!  Seriously good! 

I did get a short run in tonight and it felt great!  I hope to do a longer run this weekend, but I'm not sure yet what day that will happen.

Time for dinner!  Here's a hint:

Tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red pepper, jalapeno, roasted corn, black beans, lime, salt.

Obviously I was on a veggie kick today - I was craving more salsa fresca.  I made it a little different this time.  I didn't have any red onion so I left that out and I added black beans and red bell pepper.  This salsa fresca went into flour tortillas with cheese and hamburger.  Yum!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I had a yummy bowl of steel cut oatmeal this morning.  I've been trying to change it up a bit and added walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds to my normal banana/pecan/maple syrup combo.  I'm not sure why, but both pictures I took turned out blurry...sorry!

This has really been a blah week, I haven't had very many interesting things to blog about.  Today was so busy at work but I love those days.  Usually my motivation is directly proportional to how busy I am - very busy = high motivation.  I went from one meeting to the next and tried to answer emails in between and that went on non stop all day!

I did manage to break away at lunch to grab a ham, prosciutto and mozzarella panini.  I took it back to work and ate at my desk.  The sandwich had kind of a funny flavor to it and was dry.  It would have been better with some kind of flavored mayonnaise.

I also got a chai tea latte with my sandwich.  This is the second one I've had in a week that I just wanted to throw in the trash after a few sips. This one was too sweet and tasted like the seasonal lattes that Starbucks has during the holidays (Egg Nog or Gingerbread).  I much prefer the chai lattes I make at home.  Maybe I'm not doing it "right", but it's better for me so I guess I don't care.  Someday I'll post about that and show you how I make them.

I didn't get home until almost 7pm and this is what I came home to:

I wish I had "before" pictures, it was totally full and unorganized.  I wish I could take credit, but I'm really not capable of such organization.  I wish I were...but it was all Matt.  Thanks honey!  :)  I love opening the pantry now and I just stand there and admire it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ho Hum Monday

MAJOR headache today!!  So much for my motivation...  I stayed hopped up on Advil all day and it just barely kept me going.  I did manage to get a little painting done though (remember, the painting project I talked about here and here).  This is truly the room from hell when it comes to painting!  It seems to never end.  I wish I had kept track of how many hours I've spent on that thing, and I'm STILL not done! 

I forgot to share this picture with you in my Spring Break Recap post...we passed this place on our way out of Austin in route to Brenham.


Matt said he wanted some "Pho King noodles"!  (Ha!!  Think about it...)

Not a very exciting Monday, but I DO have a few foodie things to share.  First, for my snack today I ate two of these really yummy cookies I made this weekend.

Just your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe except that I substituted coconut oil for the butter/shortening.  I also added a little bit of oatmeal to make a more dense cookie and added walnuts to the last batch for me.  My daughter is severely allergic to nuts, but I love them - go figure.  I was a little scared with the coconut oil substitution, but I soon figured out they would turn out okay based on the kids begging to eat the dough!  They couldn't leave it alone!  Actually, neither could I!  The cookies were FABULOUS!!  Matt didn't care for them because he said he could taste the coconut, but the kids and I loved them so much that we canceled out his vote.  Hee hee!

I kind of cheated for dinner tonight.  I very rarely buy pre-made meals, but the other day I went grocery shopping at Sprouts (my new favorite place!) and they had a pre-made meatloaf in their meat department.  The price wasn't bad at all, not much more than you would pay for the ground beef alone, and when I looked at the ingredients they were all familiar to me so I decided to give it a try.  All I had to do was bake it for 40 minutes so it was a really easy dinner.  During that 40 minutes I made a new side dish - cornbread pancakes.  I don't know why I've never done this before because they were a hit with everyone.  I used the recipe on the Jiffy box.

The meatloaf was really good too!  I will buy that again for sure.  Here is my dinner plate - I threw a few Brussels sprouts in the oven with the meatloaf even though no one else eats them.

I'm going to finish my Chai tea now and then off to bed!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break Recap

Sorry I've been away for a few days.  We took an unplanned "vacation" for spring break where we took the kids on a series of day trips.  Here's a recap:

Day One - Hunting Ghosts!
We spent the first day in San Antonio and the main event was a Ghost Tour.  This was an evening tour where we walked around to some historical sights and heard ghostly stories.  It was fun, interesting, and most of all the kids dug it!  They gave us "ghost detecting tools" to carry around with us to measure the change in temperatures around you.  We didn't encounter any ghostly beings (which was a big disappointment to the kids), but we did learn a bit about San Antonio history and it was a beautiful night to be able to walk around the downtown area.  I didn't see anything suspicious in my photos, but I did get a good picture of the Alamo! ;)

Day Two - Ice Cream?
Our second adventure was to tour the Blue Bell ice cream factory in Brenham, TX.  During spring break they offer more tours than normal, starting every 10 minutes from 8am to 3pm.   

It took us 2 hours to get there and we were so excited to tour the factory and get a free scoop of ice cream!  When we finally pulled up to the building we couldn't believe what we saw.

I had NO idea there would be so many people there.  Seriously, a tour every 10 minutes for 7 hours and they're full by NOON???  I couldn't believe it!  Luckily, we still got to enjoy a scoop of ice cream for $1 and browse through their gift shop.  Oh well...

Since we were already there, we tried to find something else we could do nearby.  We settled on the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, TX.  I have never been to a Presidential Library before, so this was a first for me and the kids.  Matt has been to the Ronald Reagan Library and he was excited to check this one out.  

Afterward, we stopped in College Station for a burger and fries and the Koppe Bridge Bar and Grill

Day Three - Enchanted Rock?

I'm sensing a theme here...yes, ANOTHER 2 hour drive to find that the park is at capacity and has closed.  Plan B was a walk around Fredericksburg, TX and a visit to the butterfly house at Wildseed Farms just outside of town.  The butterfly house was totally cool!  They gave us "nectar sticks" that we could use to pick up the butterflies.  This one was my favorite - I think it's called a Mexican Paintbrush, it's fairly rare for this region and there were only two of these in the butterfly house so we were happy to catch him for a few seconds!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Salsa Fresca

I think I have introduced you to Roger before...well, this is him begging for a banana while I prepared my oatmeal for breakfast:

Roger LOVES bananas!  They are probably his favorite food and I think he loves them even more than popcorn.  I don't know how he does it, but he can be in a totally different room (even upstairs) and if we break open the peel of a banana he comes running! 

I'm really, really trying to fight this cold and I feel like I may be losing.  Today my sore throat was mostly gone but it was replaced by a stuffy nose and headache and then general body aches by late afternoon.  I needed to take it easy tonight so this cold doesn't turn into something more.  We have some spring break plans for the kids later this week so I can't get sick!  Motivation will have to go on hold for a while as I rest...

But before I can rest...there is dinner to be made.  Obviously I didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen so I threw together some tacos.  You won't believe how simple they were and how AWESOME they tasted!  Tortillas, jack cheese, hamburger, but the star of the show was the salsa fresca.

Grape tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, corn, avocado, lime, and salt.
This stuff was OFF THE HOOK!  It really made the tacos fabulous!  Here was the soft taco I made with a whole wheat tortilla:

I piled on the salsa fresca, right?  Well, I went back TWO times to get more!  I will be making this one again. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm Back!

This weekend was kind of rough for me - I had that sore-throat-achy feeling off and on all weekend.  Needless to say, absolutely NO painting got done - zip...zilch...nada!  That's about the same amount of running I did over the weekend too.   I'm not sure I'm totally over the "crud", but I was well enough to go to work this morning and I'm going to keep fighting it! 

So I came home from work today and went for a short run.

I've decided that I'm satisfied with these short runs (i.e. less than 3 miles) during the week.  I put so much pressure on myself to always do more, and I got the idea in my head that doing less than 3 miles at a time was not acceptable.  What the hell?!  For now I will focus on speed during the week and save the longer runs for the weekend ("speed" for me means less than 10 minute miles).  This is so much more motivating!  I obviously didn't make it today, but I was close! 

I made some Israeli couscous for dinner tonight.  We've never tried it before, but every time I see it in the bulk section of the grocery store I'm intrigued.  What I had in mind was a side dish of Israeli couscous with roasted veggies.  I roasted broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, red pepper, and mushrooms at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

When I stuck this in the oven, the cookie sheet was covered with veggies.  It's amazing how much they shrunk.  They tasted awesome though! 

I threw some steaks on the grill and then started cooking the couscous.  First, I toasted it in some EVOO and then added beef broth and simmered for about 12 minutes.  

Once the couscous was done I mixed it with the veggies.  

It was good and it was a winner with the family.  We all agreed, however, that the roasted veggies were better by themselves.  When I added them in with the couscous they lost their crispiness.  Next time, I'll serve them separately.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Catching Up

I came home last night and totally crashed!  I wonder if I'm getting sick because I've had a mild sore throat all day today.  I will try my best to fight that off!

Rewind to Friday...

I forgot to make my oatmeal before going to bed, so I had to come up with a breakfast alternative that would keep me satisfied until lunch.  I fried an egg, over easy, and made some awesome toast with some thinly sliced french bread so it was really crispy...yum!

As usual, I was so famished in the morning that I didn't remember until halfway through my meal that I needed to snap a picture...sorry!  

We had a colleague come in town from one of our other offices, so you know what that means...FREE LUNCH!!  Not the place I would have chosen, but beggars can't be choosers.  The place definitely has atmosphere and the barbecue isn't bad, but I think they're overpriced and choices are limited.  It's an Austin establishment so it's almost taboo to say out loud that it's not your favorite, so I didn't.

I had the port loin, cole slaw, and the cream corn.  Their cream corn IS fabulous - best I've had anywhere!  I made a sandwich with my pork loin, but left it open for the picture so you could see in between the slices of bread.  With all of my co-workers around me, I chose to sneak a picture with my iPhone rather than giving an explanation since this is my extra-curricular activity!

I decided to grab a snack in the afternoon because my daughter had a team practice that evening and I knew it would be late before we would eat dinner.  I started with this new kind of yogurt I picked up at the store last week.  It sounded interesting and the flavor, Orange and Ginger, sucked me in!

I'm sure there's someone out there who likes this stuff, but I couldn't handle more than two bites!  I took the second bite only because I thought maybe the flavor was on the bottom and I should stir it up.  YUCK!!  This one went in the trash.  Luckily I had more yogurt in the fridge at work, so I tried this one:

MUCH better!  The fruit flavor was great - not too sweet or overpowering.  The texture of the coconut milk yogurt is different than I expected.  It was kind of slimy, for lack of a better word, but I got used to it.  I kept wondering as I ate it if this would be more like a gelato if frozen.  I'll have to try that!

After my daughter's practice, we talked ourselves into eating out since it was a Friday night and too late for cooking.  We stopped in at a California Pizza Kitchen where the wait was a surprisingly short 10-15 minutes!  A Mojito is the first thing I ordered.

The CPK Mojito was good because it wasn't too sweet and there was plenty of lime and mint!  My second course was a cup of chicken tortilla soup.  I won't be getting this again. It was really thick and had a very concentrated flavor - too much like a Cream of Chicken Tortilla soup.  Yuck!

That's all I ate.  About half a cup of that and I was done.  On to the main course - Cabo Crab Cakes - an appetizer that we get every time we visit the CPK.  This time I decided to make it my meal because I always love it so much.  Not so much this time...

I guess I was really on a roll with my food choices!  They were just okay.  The black bean and roasted corn relish wasn't as fresh, the dipping sauce wasn't as thick and creamy, and I kept getting pieces of crab shell in the cakes.  Boo!

I was so ready to get home.  The kids wanted ice cream for dessert, so since I had the ice cream out I made a blackberry shake for myself.  It was yummy and it was the most intense PURPLE!

Vanilla ice cream, milk, fresh blackberries, vanilla extract, and a few ice cubes.

On Saturday, I woke up early because I had a meeting and some work to get done.  After that, we lounged around and finally made breakfast around 10:30!  I was craving eggs again, but this time I remembered to snap the picture before digging in!

The funny thing about this breakfast for me is that I really don't like eggs.  Maybe I just need some protein, hence the craving, or maybe they are just growing on me.  I haven't decided yet, but just looking at this picture now makes me want to go cook another egg!  :)

We had some errands to run today and we saw the neatest chair in a department store.  It is made of woven wire.  Not comfortable AT ALL, but would make a great conversation piece!

It was a beautiful summer day so I wanted to run, but I just couldn't do it.  I started feeling worn out right before dinner and that sore throat was getting worse.  So much for motivation!  I took a nap instead, hopefully just what my body needed!

Dinner was really good tonight.  I made chicken piccata with tiny potatoes that I roasted in butter and a little bit of chicken broth and roasted asparagus (and no paper plates tonight - yay!).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chile With Beans

I was in a hurry this morning.  I had my coffee (almost never miss that), but had to run out the door without breakfast (almost never miss breakfast either!).  Luckily, someone brought donuts to work so I snagged one of those to satisfy me until lunch.

One of our VP's was in the office today and I had meetings with him that pretty much took up my whole lunch hour, so I resorted to my stockpile of Lean Cuisines again.  I chose some kind of flatbread sandwich and it was DISGUSTING!  I choked about half of it down and then remembered I had thrown a multigrain bagel and some almond butter in my bag yesterday, and I always keep some honey at my desk.  Woo hoo!  I tossed the rest of the nasty flatbread and enjoyed every bite of my bagel!

I also had a greek yogurt later in the afternoon.  I was planning to run after work, so I figured I would need a little afternoon snack.  When I left work, however, it looked like it might rain.  This provided an easy excuse for me to bag the run for today.  As I got closer to home, the skies looked clearer and seeing all of the people out walking, running, and biking made me feel really guilty.  I decided I should at least go for a short run.  As usual, I was so glad I did!  It was a good run and I was able to stay under a 10 minute pace (barely, but it counts!)!  Having that new pace goal gave me the extra challenge and motivation I needed to make it through the run.

Here was the prize waiting for me after the run:

This is a Pinot Grigio from Chile.  I drank about half of this glass. This is the third "half glass" I've wasted from this same bottle.  I've tried several wines from Chile, and I have never found one that I liked. 

While I sipped on the mediocre wine, I started making dinner.  I tried a bean salad recipe tonight that was really good.  I had several veggies that I just needed to finish off before they go bad.  Here's my salad:

Black beans, pinto beans, red bell pepper, corn, red onion, cilantro, cucumber, grape tomatoes.  

I mixed up a vinaigrette dressing with evoo, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, cumin, salt and pepper.  Here's the recipe - the only things I changed was to use pintos instead of lentils and I added cucumber.  It was so fresh and good!  We also had grilled hamburgers.

I'm really tired and ready to go to bed!  Sorry it wasn't a very exciting day, but tomorrow is Friday and I expect things will be hoppin'!  :)