Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Countdown to Spring Clean!

Lately I haven’t been giving my house the attention it needs. Weekends are filled with working,  planning for Mexico, birthdays, working-out and some relaxing. Cleaning…has been put on the back burner to say the least.

In fact, my house feels like I have done a moderate job of straightening up for the last few months and I’m craving a DEEP CLEAN, however, have not felt motivated enough to start.

Since we’ve established I am a “list person” I scheduled a few organizatoinal projects for every weekend for the next 10 weekends. Leaving my house completely sanitized and freshened up by early April…just in time to enjoy spring (without the cleaning).

 

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Here’s my list:

Weekend of 2/5: Office Closet

Weekend of 2/12: Hallway Closet

Weekend of 2/19: Bedroom Closet/Bathroom Closet

Weekend of 2/26: Downstairs closet

Weekend of 3/5: Kitchen cabinets

Weekend of 3/12: Laundry Room and pantry

Weekend of 3/19: Clean all window sills, fans, base boards, replace vents & light-bulbs. Clean Fridge, microwave and oven

Weekend of 3/26: Replace all sponges, wash all hand towels, napkins, bedding, dust vigorously, wipe down leather couches, repaint trim and walls where needed

Weekend of 4/1: Out of Town-buy new ‘Welcome Mat’

Week of 4/4-4/7: Clean and get things ready for out-of-town guests, clean up front porch and back, replace shower liners. Clean grill, set up new table umbrella and outside lights and lanterns.

Last night for dinner Chris and I decided to make Tacos. These tacos would have been stellar with all the yummy vegetables we cut up and sautéed but I ended up messing up the entire dinner, by mixing the entire Trader Joe’s taco spice packet into the meat. Apparently, you are only supposed to do half, unless you want some really spicy tacos. I couldn’t even get through 2 before my nose was running and my mouth burning! It was a big disappointment because they smelled oh so good… 🙂

I’m proud to say I left off the cheese and sour-cream.

Next time: I’ll only use half a packet.

Lastly, I have to give a big SHOUT-OUT to my older sister and dearest friend, Betsy! It’s her birthday and as much as it kills me when can’t be together for it, I am excited we get to see each other in about 2 short months!!!!

Happy Birthday Lady! XO

Blog Update: It’s practically done! We are just switching out 2 more things and then we’ll be good to go! Expect a Saturday post!!!!!

Hope you all have great weekends! It’s finally Friday, wahooo!

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Coasting

I don’t know about you guys but I feel like I have just been coasting through this week. A euphoric feeling of laziness has taken over my body and while I’m going through the motions, I haven’t been on my game as much as usual.

I didn’t get enough spinach when I went grocery shopping last week and ate the entirety of my supply by Tuesday. Spinach fail. I may or may not judge my entire day on whether or not I drink my morning smoothie (we won’t get into that) so instead of making a “green” smoothie, I’ve been opting for apple/banana.

This “coasting” smoothie contains 1 cup almond milk, 3 ice-cubes, 1 apple, 1 banana and flaxseed meal.

For those of you wondering what Flaxseed Meal is, it has a nutty taste and helps digestion. It’s also high in fiber and a powerful cholesterol controller. Just 2 Tablespoons gives you your daily supply of Omega 3 Fatty Acids too! Some people put it in their hot or cold cereal or oats, but I choose to put it in my morning smoothie.

Bottom’s UP!

Lunch has quickly become my least favorite meal of the day. Taking out meat throughout the day severely cut down on my usual lunch fixings! No half turkey sandwich, no leftovers from the night before, no Zaxby’s chicken house salad, no tuna salad, etc. My favorite go-to’s now are organic tomato soup and veggie crackers, a veggie wrap, a spicy black-bean burger with carrots or a kale salad with half an avocado. Those meals can usually tide me over till my afternoon snack, but I’m still craving meat for lunch.

Group Power really kicked my butt on Tuesday. So much so that I am trying to sike myself up for tonight’s class! We have changed our tracks and exercises and they are brutal! A lot of push-ups and the bicep track was insane, I almost had to give up. Maybe after Tuesday’s class is when things began to really coast…

I did recently stumble upon a tofu recipe that I really enjoyed and sometimes those are hard to come by. I appreciate the food and that being said, eat it quite frequently throughout the week but so far I’ve only found a few recipes that I would make again…this is one of them and it’s EASY. Score. Recipe courtesy of Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Baked Tofu with Soy and Sesame

Ingredients:

  • I block (14 oz) extra firm tofu
  • 3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • Olive oil, for baking sheet
  • Optional: sliced green onions

 Directions:

Cut tofu in half crosswise. Blot each piece on both sides with paper towels, pressing down to remove as much liquid as you can. (The wetter the tofu, the longer you will have to bake it).

Turn oven on and set to 350 F. Whisk together the sesame oil and soy sauce  in a small bowl, then use pastry brush to brush both sides of the tofu pieces generously with the mixture. Let tofu marinate in the soy-sesame mixture for 5-10 minutes while the oven heats.

Spray a non-stick baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray and place tofu slices on sheet. Bake about one hour, not turning, but brushing with the soy-sesame mixture several times, until the glaze is all gone. It’s done when the tofu feels firm to the touch, and looks glazed and nicely browned. I cooked my tofu about 60 minutes.

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It’s officially February. Moving right along through these winter months…am I the only one that is lusting after Spring?

Hello Sunshine…

I almost forgot how good it felt.

To have the sun shine on your shoulders and let the breeze blow throughout the house.

Almost. Until yesterday.

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The weather was a beautiful 72 degrees out of nowhere and has left me with a serious case of the Monday blues. The weather has returned to a normal wintery mix of rain and overcast skies. Farewell sun, see you in a few months!

With such great weather, I was happy to do my errands yesterday. I rode to the grocery store with my windows down and had some quiet time @ Trader Joe’s browsing food and finding oh so many things my diet allows. I heart TJ’s. Nothing makes me happier than a cart of new food for the week!

Can you tell there is a healthy person living with a not-so healthy person?! I swear for every tofu meal I make Chris eat, I have to get chips, pizza and dunkers to quiet any arguments on food in our household. 🙂

I was really excited when I found that they just opened a Great Harvest Bread Co. right next door! What a great location!!!

(Look at those blue skies….ahhhhh)

I raced to put the groceries away and immediately threw on shorts, a t-shirt and my sneakers. I grabbed Daisy and we went for a run. Couldn’t tell ya how long or how fast. All I knew is I was happy to be out there. I can’t wait until warmer days, then maybe me and the pavement will reunite.

For dinner I was feeling something light and non-meat or dairy. 🙂 Especially after Chris’s birthday dinner. I decided to make a robust salad and just add quinoa and orzo to the mix.

I cooked some extra corn and threw it in. It was surprisingly exactly what I wanted.

On another note, Chris’s birthday present came…a Keurig. I for one don’t drink coffee, but this little baby is almost enough to make me start.

I can however make tea, iced coffee AND hot chocolate with this thing! It’s so easy and quick, plus all the cute variety cups make preparing coffee a lot more fun!

What are your favorite kitchen gadgets or tools??

I personally lust over the avocado peeler, just because they always seem to give me so much trouble…and really I should just buy one because I think they are under $5…typical.

Fingers crossed that I can use the new blog design tomorrow! I know my friend is working diligently on it but there are always little road blocks with things like this…I really like the way it looks though and I hope you do too!

Chris Turns the BIG 3-0!

Last Friday Chris went out-of-town for the Moscone Conference in San Francisco and unfortunately we were apart for his 30th birthday.  We agreed to celebrate this past Saturday and thankfully everything I had planned, turned out great! Let’s recap…

In true Claire fashion, if it were up to me, I would have invited all his friends from all walks of life to a HUGE surprise party to help ring in his “dirty thirty.” BUT…Chris has a different take on birthdays and prefers to not make a big deal out of them…crazy! I wanted to respect his wishes by keeping it down-played and so instead I planned a fun-filled day with just the two of us…and plenty of his favorite foods.

On Friday I made him some rice krispy treats…just to get things warmed up….

I’ve really missed being in the kitchen and my all tofu/salad/semi-vegan diet has kept “cooking” to a minimum, so I really enjoyed making these.

Saturday morning was Starbucks and Belgium waffles from scratch!

After lounging around the house after breakfast, it was time to go to Victory Lanes for some extreme go-karting! We had a blast and Chris was really appreciative of our Saturday adventure plans that I had made for us.

I was kinda obsessed with the fact we got to dress up in fire-resistant suits….

The entire time we were racing around the track I was laughing inside my helmet! Seriously if you have not tried this and live in Charlotte, go!

When we got back we had built up quite the appetite so I made him a big BLT sandwich…

and a tofu wrap for me.

I tried to stay away from the waffles (I just had a green smoothie) and the heavy lunch, because I knew I was going to ditch my dietary standards for the night at the steak house that evening. It was inevitable…I don’t have the strength to order fish or vegetarian when I’m eating at a nice restaurant. It feels like such a waste.

While I can say dairy is all but out of my diet and eating animal by-products have been limited to only about 2 times a week, deep down, I’m still a meat and potatoes girl…

You can take the meat out of the diet, but you can’t take the desire out of the gal.

I had a filet and mashed potatoes for dinner and enjoyed every last bite. Knowing that I would go back to eating a mostly plant-based diet the next day, I figure what’s the point in living longer if you can’t enjoy a nice piece of meat and meltly mashed potatoes every once in a while? Everything in moderation….

I also took a few bites of Chris’ brownie sundae for dessert…

Wow how I have missed butter and ice-cream! I bought a Carvel ice-cream cake, that I will let Chris tackle himself, and leave my bad habits at our dinner table on Saturday night.

Today is a long day filled with cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and I’m hoping to get a mani/pedi in! It’s a beautiful day outside so I’m thinking a gym session will get nixed for an outdoor activity with Daisy instead!

What are your plans on this warmer than usual Sunday?? Did you all have great weekends!?

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ALSO! I got a sneak peek at the new blog layout and I’m so excited to share it with you guys! I have complete faith in the graphic designer who is working on it and I’m supposed to see some final options on Monday. We are shooting to implement the new design on February 1st and I can’t wait to see what you guys think!


4 months!

4 months from today I will be Mrs. Claire Cilip! Things are rockin’ and rollin’ in the planning phase, it seems like every day is filled with decisions on flowers, cake, travel arrangements and bridesmaid dresses.

Basically, I’m in heaven.

Our invitations have been approved and I can’t wait to ship them off! Here is a sample of what they look like…

They are supposed to represent our color scheme along with the feel of our wedding…classy and beachy? Does that come across??

I’ve been living a pretty organic life this past week. Keeping with my practice “detox,” green tea has become a staple every morning.

I wish my meals were a little more interesting but the truth is, I’ve been so busy so I’ve had no time to get creative so they are relatively simple.  Sticking to a dairy and meat-less diet isn’t as bad as I initially thought it was going to be. Here are some things that I have happily been eating since I started:

  • Carrots
  • Salads topped with bell peppers, mushrooms, nuts, fruit, etc
  • tofu
  • couscous/whole grains
  • Peanut butter bread
  • Green smoothies
  • Beans
  • crackers
  • Hummus
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Celery
  • Spaghetti with tomatoes
  • Sushi
  • tomato soup

I’ve noticed my energy has picked up and I’ve even lost 5 lbs. I’ll take that, thanks. I can’t wait to see what other things improve based upon a more plant-based diet.

I think it’s important to recognize that while I’ve cut out dairy, I am aware that my body still needs calcium as well as other nutrients, especially when I’m working out. However, what some people may not know is that you can get calcium from all the foods below and honestly, the average person takes in way too much protein, way more than needed.

  • Almonds
  • Brazils Nuts
  • Soya flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Black molasses
  • Dried figs
  • Parsley
  • Kale

“The fact that vegans have a slightly lower protein intake and exclude meat from their diet encourages their bodies to retain calcium so their dietary need may be lower than the typical omnivore. In fact, the excessive protein in cow’s milk depletes the human skeleton of calcium and actually weakens bones.” -Thinkquest

Before I went to the gym, I grabbed a quick piece of bread with some peanut butter…YUM.

January is still in full effect at the gym…unfortunately. I was denied access into my Group Power class because it was at capacity and I was even 5 minutes early. Arg! Instead I did some strength training on my own with the machines and caught up with Newsweek on the Elliptical.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the gym. It’s like my own little private getaway where I can think or zone out or completely sweat it out=feeling fantastic.

For dinner I had some Capellini Pomodoro and a salad.  Roma tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil tossed with capellini.

Off to bed, dreaming of our very own, far away destination location….

(Las Caletas, Mexico)

10 to Detox

One of the many perks of where I work is that I can get a substantial amount of CD’s, DVD’s and Books for free and sometimes even before they are available to the general public. (Not that I’m bragging) 🙂

A few weeks ago a co-worker passed along a book to me called, The Beauty Detox Solution. I finally cracked it open and was pleasantly surprised by the useful information and motivation to get radiant beauty from the inside out as well as obtain renewed energy all by changing your diet. I will warn you, the principles that the author, Kimberly Snyder, abides by are more than just challenging, they are a bit overwhelming but at the same time motivating and completely promising.

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I was thinking of an appropriate way to share what I’m reading without hindering her sales. In an effort to more thoughtfully process what it is I’m reading, I’ve decided that for the next 10 days, I will mention a few things that struck me the most in the chapter that I’m reading while purposely not divulging all the useful information Snyder offers.

The book is split into 2 parts: Beauty Detox Basics and Your Beauty Solution

10 chapters=10 posts that will hopefully evoke thought about your own diets and what it means to pay attention to what you put into your body.

At the end of the book, the reader should be primed to embark on their “detox” armed with knowledge on what to eat, sample meal plans, recipes and a lifestyle change that stays with the reader, long after the initial cleanse.

I will apologize for the copy heavy posts that will take place over the next 10 days but hopefully you will find it beneficial and exciting, like me! 🙂

Not yet leaping into a detox without reading the entirety of the book first, I made a salad topped with a crumbled veggie burger for dinner tonight. Group Power was really strenuous tonight and took a lot out of me, including the desire to make any real dinner. I couldn’t have been happier to be there though!

My salad: Iceburg Lettuce, carrots shavings, diced red onion, light honey mustard dressing and a crumbled Morningstar Black Bean burger. The contrast between the warm and crispy burger against the cold salad was awesome…and even better was that it took about 10 minutes to make.

Now onto the recommended reading of the night…

CHAPTER 1 and a few things I found interesting:

  • Basic concept-our body is designed to digest more of a plant-based diet, rather than meat. Humans can get all the protein they need from the amino acids in plants.
  • “There are over thirty-five hundred scientific studies involving over fifteen thousand research scientist that report a relationship between the consumption of meats, poultry, eggs and diary products and the incidence of numerous health issues, including but not restricted to heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, constipation, gout, gallstones, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and osteoporosis.”
  • Humans resemble herbivores, in terms of both their anatomical structure and internal organs.

What you Can’t get without the book:

  • Astounding Scientific evidence of some of her points that would knock your socks off!
  • Why Humans are primed to eat a more plant-based diet, super interesting stuff that makes TOTAL sense
  • True life stories of how people’s lives have changed by following some of Snyder’s recommendations.

To take a look at Kimberly’s AWESOME AND INSPIRING blog, go here.

 

Just Because…

Just Because….

  • I’m shedding pounds for a wedding, doesn’t mean I can’t splurge on a cookie every once in a while.
  • I’m broke these days doesn’t mean that I can’t have a rich life.
  • I’m into healthy living doesn’t mean that I can’t have a few vices beers every now and then, or every Friday.
  • I wasn’t born and bred in the south, doesn’t mean I can’t be obsessed with seeing “Country Strong.”

Also, just because it’s January (and note this is literally my least favorite month followed by February, so beware) doesn’t mean I can’t dream of and then make summer food.

Enter broiler instead of grill and some chicken kebabs.

I got a great marinade by stumbling upon a blog, but didn’t save it and now I can’t find it 😦 Sorry. From what I can remember there was soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, white wine vinegar and a few other ingredients that I just can’t recall…sorry peeps. If it comes to me, I will definitely post it.

I went all the way with the “summer-dish” dinner and decided to make some pasta salad with it as well. Only thing missing was the gingham tablecloth and some warm sun. Too bad last night I do believe it was somewhere in the 20’s.

I also watched “Going the Distance” which was an oddly brash and edgy romantic comedy. I loved it. Typical.

Today being back at work was NUTS and when I got  home I was anxious to go to the gym. It’s still crowded at night, which leaves me to believe that some people are hangin’ on…looks like tomorrow I will have to show up for GP 15 minutes early and Friday will be a morning routine…

When I got home I did receive a care-package from my best-friend…just because! Inside were “Bride” and “Groom” tumblers, a bride mug which I will take to work with me immediately tomorrow, my havaianas flip-flops I left with her in NY and a CD of pictures from her wedding, finally!

Bets just got married last August and it was so great to see her and bond with her wonderful family.

(Thanks for the package Bets!)