Category Archives: Food

Homemade Gnocchi

So I have been scouring Pinterest and the internet for recipes to use up random things in our pantry.  I have this random can of pumpkin and had no idea what to make with it.  After my fingers did the walking . . .

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PUMPKIN GNOCCHI!

I found it on simply recipes.  It took a little longer than I was planning, and I actually forgot to include the parmesan cheese. But still delicious.

It’s amazing that I can take these random foods that I don’t think that I like, put ‘em together, and DELICIOUS!! See, most pumpkin dishes also involve cinnamon (yuck) and I’m still not sure about ricotta outside of cannolis.  But this was really tasty!  I think it’s the sauted parts in butter.  Crispy and delicious!

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Maybe next time I’ll include a bed of sauteed spinach.

Tried any new recipes lately?  What’s randomly in your pantry?

April Randomness

Well the calendar has turned to the month of April.

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Who is that cute dog?  Smile with tongue out

I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred, however it hasn’t been so easy to find 20 minutes in the evening.  Last week I worked really late several days, and didn’t want to work out at 10pm, even if it was for 20 minutes.  So this week, I’m challenging myself to get up and do it in the morning.  (Confession: tonight I did it while I dinner was in the oven and not in the morning).

So how is it going?  CHALLENGING!  The workout is made up of (3) 6 minute circuits, with 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs.  For me, the first circuit kicks my butt!  It’s 30 seconds of push-ups and then 1 minute of squat and presses, then repeat.  The combination of those two make my arms jell-o by the second round of pushups.  I used to be so good at pushups; I don’t know what happened.  Oh wait, I trained for a half marathon and stopped doing strength training.  The other part that kills me in the first circuit is the cardio.  It’s not that I get tired.  It’s that my feet hurt.  Constantly jumping really hurts the bottom of my feet.  This is something that’s always happened to me.  I even made sure to buy cross-training shoes, and they still hurt.  Anyone else have this issue?  Since they really hurt today, I’m wondering if it’s the heels that I wear all the time.  Hmmmmmm . . . .

In other news, here’s to making food at home this week!  We went to the grocery last night (which apparently were almost all closed early due to the holiday.  The third one we tried at 8:30pm was only open for more minutes.  UGH!).  Tonight’s dinner was a pasta bake based on this recipe:

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I used whole wheat penne and ground turkey and added a random can of olives.  It was pretty darn tasty. 

Anybody else get their butt kicked with 30 Day Shred?  What’s on your weekly menu?  Don’t you hate when you live in New England and grocery stores aren’t 24 hours!?!

Crockpot Enchiladas!

After his second helping of this, Matt declared that it is his favorite thing that I have made so far.  Of course, it’s not the healthiest thing.  Can anyone help?

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DISGUSTING PICTURE!

Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas

2 1/2 – 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded

24 oz. enchilada sauce (I used red sauce, the recipe called for green chile sauce, whatevs)

2 c. light sour cream

4-5 tortillas torn into strips (I used whole wheat high fiber ones that were sell by “08/2011”)

4 c. pepper jack cheese

1 onion chopped (yeah, like Matt would have approved the onions)

Put layer of enchilada sauce in bottom of crock pot.  Layer torn tortillas, sauce, cheese, chicken, sour cream.  I made three layers.  Top with cheese.  Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4-5 hours.

Now I think I might add some black beans and corn to add some “veggies”.  Any other suggestions?  Matt hates onions and peppers.  I might add some guac, too.  But then, I love guac. 

Okay, so not the healthiest, but probably healthier than eating out.  And cheaper, too. 

Any other additions?

Lusting After TV

Well, I’ve been working extra hours, and it should continue for the next few months.  Tonight, despite the fact that I should have set some analyses to run, I decided to leave in time to pick up April at 6:45.  Since I was home “early”, I decided to make a dish that I’ve been planning for a week!  Whole wheat pasta, spinach, garlic, and chicken sausage.

First I had to boil the pasta (why does it take so long?  I know that I took thermodynamics in college, so I put the lid on the pot to increase the pressure and decrease the boiling point, but still!  It was like 30 minutes!)

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(LOOK AT MY SHINY NEW ALL CLAD POTS AND PANS!!)

and then I cooked up the spinach in olive oil and garlic. 

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TA DA!!  It was a bit bland, so I added garlic salt.  YAY SALT!

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The rest of the night was spent watching HGTV and SYTYCD.  Matt suggested that I move my tv viewing from wedding shows.  So it landed on Property Virgins and House Hunters.  Apropos, since we are hoping to buy a house in a few years.  Oh I wish we could do it right now.

We also watched So You Think You Can Dance.  It makes me legs start to twitch lusting after dance classes.  I basically took the last year off of tap class due to dog obedience classes and wedding commitments.  Now I’d really like to take the class.  I mean it’s 8-9 on Monday nights.  I could leave work by 7:30, right?  Hey, I might even attend a ballet or jazz class, too!  CRAZY! 

Do you watch SYTYCD?  Who did you like? 

I was really impressed with Tadd the b-boy (break dancer) doing the Viennese waltz!  DANG!  His port de bras (arms) were amazing for someone without much formal dance training!

Three Months To Go

Are you freaking kidding me?  Three months left?  This is getting SERIOUS! 

So I made my first dress fitting appointment today for March 12.  I had thought that it would be 6 weeks before, but it’s actually 10 weeks before.  That means that I have just under three weeks until my dress fitting!! AHHH!  I jokingly said on Facebook that I can not eat for three weeks.  But seriously . . .  the weight loss has slowed as of late, however I was admiring myself in the mirror at the gym today.  I’ve definitely worked a lot on my upper body, and even lost another inch around my middle!  That’s huge for me (literally), since my waist is where those last few pounds like to linger.

After my trip to the gym (workout found here), I took April on a nice long walk (yes, I had President’s Day off).  Then I came home to finally make some mini quiche lorraines.   Here’s my healthy, protein-packed, late lunch:

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Three little mini quiches (2 WW PointsPlus each), and some tasty green giant veggies (blackbeans, carrots, and edamame).  Don’t you love the monkey cupcake foils?  OH YEAH!  I ran out of plain ones.  Next time I make these though, note to self, use Pam on the inside of the foils.  Also, note to self, go buy Pam; you are out!

So that’s day #1 before my dress fitting.  Only 18 days left!  More lifting, running, veggies, and water in my future (should be there anyway, right?)

Dutch Oven Inside; Igloo Outside

I received a cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas (does anyone else think of something gross when they hear dutch oven?).  I finally broke it out and made some spaghetti sauce.  Start with a pound of ground turkey.

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Add some fennel seed (to make it taste like sausage), minced onions, and red pepper flakes while it’s cooking.  Then stir in the left over jars of spaghetti sauce hanging around the fridge.

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Let simmer!  VOILA!! 

I put mine over some penne and added peas (since I haven’t had a green veggie in a few days).

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I may have added too much red pepper flakes, because it was VERY spicy.  I went through two glasses of water!  Best part of making spaghetti?  LEFTOVERS!!  I have lunch for today and tomorrow.  How do you make spaghetti?  Does it remind you of growing up? We seriously had spaghetti at least twice per week.  Once at my mom’s and once at my dad’s. 

You may have heard that Boston got some snow last night.  That brings our total to like 60” for the year.  And it’s ONLY JANUARY!  It took Matt and I an hour to dig out our driveway this morning.  But at least it got our blood flowing and the sweat pouring out!!  Unfortunately, we are seriously running out of places to put the snow!  Here is a picture of the pile in our front yard.

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It is seriously taller than I am.  Poor April couldn’t get over the snow bank this morning for her walk!  Her walk this evening was a bit better.  And we saw some fun snow sculptures along the way.

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It’s either a snow dog or Winnie the Pooh.

Cincinnati Food

So while I was in Cincinnati, I had some great food!  One night we went to TGIFridays with a huge gang of people.  I can’t even remember the last time all four of my dad’s kids were together with my stepmom’s family.

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Somehow we ended up at Graeter’s TWICE!  The first time was as a reward to Matt, my dad, and little brother for going to the tux rental place.  The second time was simply an excuse to also go to get some allergy medicine.

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I ventured away from a chip flavor and got their strawberry.  MMMM!!  Please ignore my crazy eye.  Have I mentioned that I am allergic to cats?  My dad has one and the second day my right eye suddenly turned bright red and watery.  I took some Claritin before the wheezing really started!! UGH!  I felt like I had the Bubonic plague!  Even the pastor asked me if my eye was okay.

We also ended up at Skyline twice.  Matt begged me for a third trip, but I declined to go three days in a row!

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Chili spaghetti (with beans and onions) and cheese coneys!  Chili spaghetti reminds me of when I was little.  Everyone else had chili spaghetti in the high school cafeteria, right?

And finally, I met Beckey downtown for lunch.  We went to this AWESOME place called It’s Just Crepes.  I’ve always associated crepes with French class and sweet fillings like strawberries and whipped cream, but they had incredible savory ones as well.  Here is the guy making the crepe:

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He said that pictures were $5.  I told him that the check was in the mail.  After making the crepe, they are filled and folded:

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And then SCARFED DOWN!  I got the Hawaiian one with mozzarella, cheddar, ham, pineapple, and brown sugar.

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Beckey got the special Ultimate Veggie Pizza crepe:  Goat Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese, Spinach, Artichokes, Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Pizza Sauce and Pesto

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Oh were they amazing.  It was like a sweet pita.  Mmmmmm . . . .  what is your favorite crepe filling?  Have you ever made them? I made them a few times in high school.  Maybe they will be making a return.

Golden Birthdays

Well, I made it to Knoxville just fine!  I flew out at 5am on December 26th (just before the blizzard), and despite two hours on the tarmac in Charlotte awaiting de-icing, I got to Knoxville about 12:45pm.  My original flight (leaving at 5am on Monday, December 27th) was canceled, so I’m glad I made it.  I wonder how much snow will be left when we return to Boston.  April, who is staying with my mom, is enjoying the snow immensely!  My mom and stepdad swear that she is part husky.

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Today is Matt’s (and his twin sister, Diana’s) GOLDEN birthday.  They are 28 on the 28th!  WOO HOO!!  We celebrated by checking out the new Brazilian steakhouse in Knoxville.  What an experience.  I had heard of the concept, but didn’t know exactly how it worked.  You are given a chip.  Red means “No, thank you”, and green means “MORE PLEASE!”

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We started with a salad course.  Delicious cheesey poufs (little muffins) were also consumed.

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Then came the meat.  Now I am not a big red meat fan, so I had to say “No thank you” to all of the guys with their many cuts of beef.

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But yes to chicken legs, chicken breast wrapped in bacon, and pork sausage.

We were stuffed when all was said and done.  It was a fun experience, and highly recommended if you are a carnivore.

This evening we opened presents:

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And ate cookie cake!

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I gave Matt a digital camera.  He kept stealing mine to go to site visits, so I got him one of his very own!  Good thing, too.  I appear to have forgotten my camera.  I swear I checked that I had packed it, but I can’t find it!  ARGH!  It had better be sitting somewhere in our house.  I guess the fact that I stayed up all night until the taxi arrived at 3am caused me to be forgetful.  Speaking of which, my cab ride to the airport was $39 (plus tip), and I only gave the driver $27!  Luckily I figured it out and called him back to hand him another $20.  I wonder what he bad words he was saying when he saw that I had shorted him.

Anyway, happy birthday to Matt and Diana!  We are off to Cincinnati in the morning for LOTS OF WEDDING STUFFS!

Going Bananas for Bananas!

As I was reading Laura’s post last night about watching her weight for her upcoming wedding (FYI, it’s the same day as ours), got me thinking about my own weight loss goals and the progress that I am not really making.  A while back I thought about whether or not to count calories, and was determined to just eat healthy and exercise to lose weight.  This worked for a while (add in a dog for bonus activity) and I have actually lost about 8 pounds since January.  However, my weight has been stagnant, hovering between 157 and 160 depending on the day, for the past few months.  So with Laura as inspiration, I signed up for Weight Watchers Online.  I know that this could be a hotly debated topic, but I decided that I needed a bit more accountability that the blog was not giving me (or I wasn’t giving myself).  Plus, I’ve had success on WW in the past (read about it here).

So I signed up this morning, and went to look at my daily points target.  I was very taken aback when my old points target of about 22 was suddenly 29, with 49 flex weekly points.   WTF?!!?  Oh yeah, they change their plan in December and this was a BIG change.  For those who followed WW before, the old “points” system was based on calories with less points if a food was rich in fiber and more points if the food was high in fat.  Now, the points are calculated using protein, fat, carbs, and fiber.  I think that this is probably a good move (and of course it doesn’t hurt that the formula is a bit more mysterious, like the BCS football rankings, and therefore more proprietary).

BUT WAIT . . . THE BEST PART!!  I went to input my banana to learn that MOST FRUITS ARE NOW FREE!!  WHOA!!  They are encouraging WWers to eat fruits and veggies and not 100 calorie packs!  OH BOY!  I told Matt that I was going to go bananas for more bananas!

Anyway, so starting today, back on WW; starting weight: 161.2lbs.

ACTIVITY POINTS!

When embracing a healthier lifestyle, why not go full throttle and hit up the gym (like you had been planning on this morning, but a bad night’s sleep didn’t help).  Now it’s no secret that I am not a cardio person.  I would rather lift all day long, than do a bunch of cardio.  As a result, my cardio health is not stellar.  So this workout from my trainer last week was a killer!:

  • 40 seconds of each activity; 20 seconds of rest
  • Pushups (yup 40 seconds of push-ups!  If you aren’t doing them from your knees sometime during Round 2, you are fitter than I!)
  • Squat walk
  • Buttkicks
  • Flutterkicks
  • Single arm bent over rows (keeping arms bent up) (10 lb dumbbells)
  • Calf raises
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Plank
  • Wall sit bicep curls (10 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep kickbacks (8 lb dumbbells)
  • Baby lunges
  • Crunches w/ 15 lb dumbbell
  • repeat 2-3 X

Yeah, same thing happened tonight as last week.  I did the first round pretty well.  The second round goes well until the mountain climbers and plank.  I then absolutely cannot do the bicep curls.  My heart is beating so fast.  For those who don’t know what mountain climbers are:

Seriously, just killer!  And then a plank after that!?!  I DIED!!  I DIED!!  So after resting for what seemed like forever (I was actually laying, bent over the smelly table where people get stretched out), I went back to it and completed round 2.  For my third round, I decided to cut the mountain climbers and did much better.

I really need to get better at cardio!  Do you prefer weight lifting or cardio?

All of my training workouts mix up both, which is what you should be doing for optimum calorie burn and cardiovascular workout, but I could probably do more cardio by itself to help me to keep up.

Taste the Rainbow

Mmmm . . . how many colors have I had today?

Lunch was more quesadilla (picture from Wednesday evening):

Red salsa, yellow corn, black beans, green guacamole

And I finally broke out the crock pot!  We had some Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie:

Orange sweet potatoes (which are the best bites!) and green peas!  This is really great!

Workout

Wednesday evening I had my personal training session.  The first two had been relatively void of hard cardio, so I knew it was coming.  Yup, she wanted me to finish the round with a running (I mean RUNNING!) 0.25 miles.  I haven’t run in a while, and when she said “Try it at 6.0 mph”, I was a bit anxious.  But as I ran, I realized 6.0 isn’t really that fast.  I wasn’t exactly sprinting.  I couldn’t have completed another 0.25 miles at that pace, but it wasn’t so bad!  GO ME!

After two rounds of lifting/running, she had me do 3 rounds of 15 situps on the incline.  My abs were so tired.  She kept saying “think about the dress; think about the dress”.  Oh yeah!

Eight Questions

Lily tagged in the blogger game of 8 questions (just realized Lily only asked 7 questions, oh well!).  She gives me (and 6 other bloggers) 8 questions, and I, in turn, ask 8 new questions of 7 other bloggers.  Oh boy, here goes!

Here are my questions:

1) What was/is the name of your first pet? Freida, a miniature dachshund

2) What is your favorite form of exercise? dance (although lifting is my favorite “exercise exercise”)

3) Why did you start blogging? I originally started after reading so many blogs and wanted to find some outlet for accountability.

4) What’s your favorite store to shop for clothes? New York and Company

5) Favorite grocery store? Kroger

6) What is your current profession? structural engineer

7) Favorite kind of muffin? double chocolate chip? Not really a muffin coinnoiseur

Now I tag:

Jan

Beckey

Laura

Amy

Ali

Tina

Ashleigh

Eight Questions:

  1. Salty or Sweet?
  2. What is your favorite movie of all time?
  3. If you could go anywhere in the world (that you haven’t already been) where would you go?
  4. What is your favorite physical or personality trait about yourself?
  5. What is an ideal Saturday night for you?
  6. What is your favorite color to wear?
  7. Cats or dogs?
  8. Name a food/recipe that you recently discovered.

GO!

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