Archive for the ‘Poultry’ Category

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 ūüė¶ 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!)

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The Tree vs. Me

Me and the Tree had quite the showdown.

To say that taking down a Christmas tree isn’t as fun as putting it up, is the understatement of the year…so far.

Everytime I thought I was done, I kept finding ANOTHER strand of lights that just happened to be so intertwined that I was literally thinking of just cutting the strand with scissors to be done with it!

What?…I can always just buy new $4 lights next year.

I didn’t give up. Eventually, I won (sans scissors) but there was major loss of limbs.

After all of the shredding and finger plucking I was ready for some food! A homemade pizza was sounding really good so I fell back on a great recipe I got from a friend earlier in the year, Buffalo-style Chicken Pizza.

With some shredded chicken breast, ranch, hot sauce and mozzarella cheese-this hit the spot. Full disclosure: I ate this while getting sucked into “The Craigslist Killer” on Lifetime. It was bad. I want my two hours of life back…

For the recipe, click here.

It wasn’t the greatest day yesterday, even aside from the tree fight. Being back at work was busy and hectic, wedding pressure is brewing and to top it off I haven’t been to the gym in days. My body has slept like a rock and it’s telling me that rest is what it needs at the moment. My early morning work-outs have been minimal but I’m going to Group Power tomorrow night, yay! One good thing that did come out of the day, came from trusty UPS…

My monitor for the office came!

I’m off to hook it up, but hope you guys had great Monday’s!

Chistmas Sugar High!

It’s almost Christmas!

I’m ready to have a few days off work and to be forced to stay home in my p.j.’s for a change. Nothing will be open so therefore Chris and I usually make a grand breakfast and watch movies on the couch all day.

Don’t ya just love traditions!?

I’ll spare you the picture of my weekly breakfast, I’m pretty sure all my readers have grown tired of seeing my apple cinnamon goodness shots.

We had our company Christmas Luncheon yesterday and the meal was surprisingly above average. I always find it so hard to get mass-produced meals to be quality, but this came pretty close.

Then came the onslaught of desserts…my company had a dessert¬†contest so almost every one came armed with their favorite and I was eager to try as many as I could.

After all that snacking, I was completely stuffed and thankful that my new-found love for the gym was back-because I need to work some of this off!

Yesterday while I was shopping for our Christmas cards (don’t worry, they got sent out) I picked up a Women’s Daily magazine and was thoughtfully reminded of a blogger’s feature¬†published in the mag¬†for Egg Land’s live Well Challenge.

It’s hard to tell but that is Tina Haupert of Carrots ‘N’ Cake!

Dinner was super un-creative and quick. I was so tired yesterday due to the gym. All this working out again is going to take some getting used to. I was getting quite comfortable becoming a couch potato.

Chorizo and Eggs

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions (green, red, or yellow onions) optional
  • 1/4 lb of Mexican chorizo sausage, removed from sausage casing (I used turkey sausage)
  • 5 to 6 eggs
  • Salt
  • Tortillas – optional
  • Cilantro – optional
  • Directions:

    Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the chopped onions (optional) and cook until softened. Once softened, move to the side of the pan and add break up bits of chorizo into the pan. Use a wooden spatula to break up the pieces of sausage. Add the raisins. Stir until the sausage is cooked through, though not necessarily browned. If you are not using lean chorizo, drain the excess fat from the pan before proceeding. If you are not using lean chorizo, you may want to cook the chorizo first, draining the excess fat, then remove to a plate while you cook the onions in the remaining

     Crack the eggs one at a time, into the pan. Break the yolks and stir the eggs into the sausage. Add a light sprinkling of salt. Stir constantly until the eggs begin to set, but are still moist. Remove from heat.

    Serve immediately with a side of warmed corn tortillas and cilantro as a garnish.

    GIVING BACK!!!!!!!!

    If anyone still has some holiday shopping to do, I have a stellar suggestion on where to buy that your friends & family are sure to love! Christmas has become beyond materialistic these days so I always love when I can find a company where it pays in more ways than one to shop with!

    Enter GreenHeart!

    Greenheart is Chicago’s premier eco-fair trade non-profit shop, carrying both fair trade and eco friendly products. Greenheart carries a variety of goods including recycled accessories and handbags, home goods, gourmet treats, cookbooks, glassware, jewelry, toys, personal care, organic cotton t-shirts and more. Greenheart believes consumers have the power to affect positive World change by supporting sustainable and fair business practices in their purchasing choices.

    We Meet Again!

    I made it to the gym last night! It was my first time back in weeks but after reading a Meals and Miles post the other day, I finally got the motivation. I am so HAPPY I did because I left feeling great.

    I’ve noticed a trend¬†in posts this morning in the healthy living community (at least the ones I read) about a runners body vs. a strength-training body. I must admit that since I have taken up running more regularly I have not been as happy with my body ūüė¶ I think I have gained around 10-15 pounds and while some of the extra lb’s must be muscle I don’t feel nearly as toned as I did this time last year.

    Just look at the difference. Last year I was in the gym 3x a week in preparation for our Caribbean cruise. I did very little running.

    …and now (albeit I’m a ton whiter and that makes a small difference) I’m not nearly as “fit” or so it would seem.

    (I realize I’m tailgating in this picture but trust me, there was no shortage of that last year)

    My jeans are hardly fitting and I just feel so heavy. This could be due to the fact that I’m not getting enough aerobic itensity out of my runs but honestly, I think my body just flourishes more with strength training. This is not to say I’m cutting out cardio all together, I just need to incorporate more of what I was doing in the past, and not soley rely on runs.

    I think people have to find what works best for them and after last night’s gym session, it was oh so clear that I want to be back more regularly. This is what works for me:

    • 7-10 minute warm-up on the Elliptical
    • 20-25 minutes circulating on the machines, either working on legs or arms
    • 10 minute ab-work-out conisting of 130 crunches
    • 20 minute cardio: 5 minute warm-up, 10 minute run, 5 minute cool down

    Last night, I even caught the spread in Glamour on Reese Witherspoon during my warm-up!

    I know some people don’t love the idea of working out in a gym, but I’m not one of them. I find it satisfying and like to people watch. They have good tunes playing without having to use my i-pod and most importantly…it’s warm.

    Backtracking a bit, I had my normal breakfast-last photo, I promise. I’m switching it up a bit next week.

    Oats, yogurt, apple slices and cinnamon.

    For lunch, Chris packed me an awesome lunch using our leftovers.

    I love how he used the compartments in the Tupperware so wisely. That brownie for dessert fit in there perfectly! Thanks hubs!

    On to dinner, this was Chris’s concoction. He called it “Chicken with Strange Sauce.” All I could make-out were the mushrooms, onions and capers but it was pretty darn good. He likes to boast he does not use recipes.

    After dinner me and Daisy sat on the couch and watched Finding Nemo. I am pretty sure I fell asleep on the couch arond 9:00pm.

    That is what going back to the gym will do to you! Can’t wait to hit up a Group Power class tonight!

    What works best for you when it comes to exercising? When do you feel at your peak?

    Happy Thanksgiving from California!

    Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! Mine was especially special because Chris and I are in California visiting my Dad. We got in late on Wednesday evening and were exhausted from traveling. But this little touch of kindness cured all of that ūüôā

    The next morning I woke up rested and ready to run! As a sort of homage to Lafayette, I opted to run down Mt. Diablo instead of the reservoir behind my parents house. It was so nice to run by all the awesome shops that have sprung up since I spent my high school years here. I went about 1.5 out because I knew once I came back, the hills in the neighborhood were going to be BRUTAL!

    They were, but I survived. Then I enjoyed a guilt free Thanksgiving feast!

    My step-mom decorated the table beautifully. I really liked her rustic yet regal approach this year. ūüôā

    This year I spent a little too much on the appetizers beforehand. There was such a great assortment of cheeses. I was especially keen on the cranberry goat cheese log-Oh My God.

     We also had stuffed mushrooms, zucchini squares, fruit and a smattering of other delicious treats that I just could not avoid.

    Finally sitting down to eat the turkey¬†was a hard task-but I was up to the challenge. ūüôā

    Then of course came the dessert and wouldn’t you know there was a whole table dedicated to the after-meal course!

    …and this wouldn’t be America if we didn’t have some classic homemade Apple Pie! Mmmmmm

    Keeping in line with the holiday we had pumpkin and walnut waffles with fruit the next morning-I had been craving waffles so this was a special treat.

    Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There are so many things to be thankful for this year and hopefully to come!

    A little Monday Happiness

    While no one really “likes” Monday’s, I generally can accept them. It’s been two whole days since I¬†had to be¬†at work and most of the time I feel rested and re-charged. Also, it doesn’t hurt that on Monday’s, my sister comes over to our house for dinner and Monday night TV. It works out perfectly because Chris is usually watching Monday Night Football and checking his fantasy team stats-so a little family¬†company is definitely welcome.

    Last night Chris and I were joint chefs in the kitchen and talked about our work day as we made¬† Chicken Pitas¬†with brown rice medley. It was a perfectly¬†light dinner. I’m trying to watch what I’m eating this week as I’m sure next week’s Thanksgiving festivities will be a marathon of eating! ūüôā

    Chicken Pitas

    Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced seeded cucumber
  • 3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper , to taste
  • 4 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, warmed
  • 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 small or 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¬†

    Directions:

    Preheat grill to medium-high or position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler. If grilling, oil the grill rack (see Tip). If broiling, coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.

    Sprinkle chicken¬†with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place the chicken on the grill rack or prepared pan and cook until no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165¬įF, 4 to 8 minutes per side, depending on the size of the breast. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

    Meanwhile, combine cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Thinly slice the chicken. Split open the warm pitas and fill with the chicken, yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion.

    After dinner I tried to convince my sister Kate to run with me. With it being so dark I didn’t want to run by myself. She was too tired from having cheerleading practice (she’s a UNCC cheerleader and a physical therapist major)¬†¬†that she didn’t feel like running but that she would go through a “Insanity” work-out with me in the living room….

    The work-out included:

    -Jumping Jacks with arms (for 30 seconds)

    -Hysman jumps (30 seconds)

    -Oblique Lifts (20, 15, 10, 10)

    -Push ups adding elbows (20)

    -Butt Kicks

    -High Knees

    -Mummy Kicks

    -Kicks (100 in under a minute)

    Power Squat Jumps (10, 8, 6, 4, 6, 8, 10)

    (she is insane)

    This work-out kicked my butt! She left me the exercises to practice on my own but holy cow! 20 minutes of this was worse than any mile run. I thought I would be more sore today but thankfully I am not.

    Lately I have been feeling so tired and even though I get plenty of sleep, I don’t drink any caffeine. Rather than fall victim to a soda in the afternoon I have decided to try a multi-vitamin which I probably should be doing anyway…

    That and a little Cinnamon Apple Spice in the afternoon is my new stay healthy and alert remedy! ūüėČ

    Oh and an update on Wake Forest…I have a GMAT prep course tonight from 6-9 that they offer but the school and the structure of the curriculum sound awesome! Chris will graduate in the summer with his PHd so we still need to discuss the timeline of events…but I will keep you guys posted!

    One GIANT Sabbatical.

    Is there anyone left coming to this blog after my insanely large sabbatical?? I promise I have a valid excuse. I misplaced my camera cord so therefore, I¬†wasn’t able to upload any of my pictures. Over the weekend I spent time looking for it and thankfully it turned up! Without bombarding you with a day-to-day¬†detail of all food-I’m just going to run through the highlights of what’s been going on this past week and a half.¬†Ready everyone? Deep breaths…

    Last Monday¬†night we did have Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes, it was good but not as good as I hoped. It lacked in flavor so I’ll have to come up with some spices to add to this dish. For as fattening as it was, it needed to at least be great-and it wasn’t.

    Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes

    Recipe courtesy of the Martha Stewart

    Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)
  • ¬†

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.

    In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.

    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.

    Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.

    Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

    Prepare through step 4; let cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze, up to 3 months.

    Preheat oven to 400, and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.

    Moving on to Tuesday, the Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa and Garlic mashed potatoes was¬†much better and easier. This adds up to a “win” in my book. My avocado unfortunately wasn’t the freshest but where that lacked, the chicken made up in flavor.

    Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

    Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart (apparently I was on a kick)

    Ingredients:

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
  • ¬†

    Directions:

    In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.

    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.

    Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

    Wednesday we ended up skipping the mini-deep dish pizzas and had a frozen pizza instead. I stayed late at work and only had time to scarf something down before going to the NC Music Factory’s Haunted House. Chris and I had a blast! We met up with some friends beforehand at the Black Bear Saloon and after a few drinks attempted the haunted house. It wasn’t that scary but it had been years since I’ve really enjoyed Halloween traditions and this was a great night-totally worth the $8 tickets.

    Thursday¬†was the family dinner at Mama Ricottas¬†and I apologize¬†for the un-pictured special but it was just too good to document. I dove right in to the pasta with carmelized onions, apples and bacon. I didn’t even have leftovers, which was really sad, but that is how good it was. Another great night with family and food.

    Friday I was supposed to have steak and rice cuban-style, courtesy of my best friends father but she ended up having to cancel her trip to Charlotte ūüė¶ I miss seeing her and her husband and new baby boy, but I think they are coming up the first week in November. Friday and Saturday night were spent at home in resting in preparation for the huge Sunday plans I had.

    Chris has been out-of-town¬†doing research at John Hopkins in Baltimore so Sunday I was left to hang by myself. Luckily for my birthday my uncle Kenny gave me his Panther’s tickets and they were great seats! I grabbed my friend Jane and made a day of it-and it wasn’t half bad.

    Beforehand we were able to attend the Charlotte City Club for an 11:00 brunch and it was so nice! I love going there when I get the opportunity but it’s few and far between because they have an exclusive membership. Thankfully my uncle pulled some strings and we were able to go. The food was on point and the service was even better.

    Later that night I had a few ladies over to my house to have a pumpkin carving party! This is one of my favorite things to do during the fall. It gives us a good excuse to get together, drink some wine and enjoy the season’s festivities. There was such great food there too! Pumpkin break, cookie cake amongst other munchies.

    (Jess with her cute little pumpkin!)

    Somewhere in between all of this madness I also made this dinner-which I had to write about. The corn-torilla scrambled dish was so good and filling and the black bean cornbread went perfectly! Chris and I were stuffed for hours, and it was exactly what we wanted for comfort food.

    unfortunately I did not have the right pan to make this dish (thank goodness for our Macy’s registry!) but it still turned out so good. I love cornbread!

    Corn Tortilla Scrambled

    If you would like the recipe to this, just let me know! It was quick and easy and would be a good breakfast as well!

    As for last night, it was Monday night TV and sister time. My sister Kate always comes over so I can feed her and watch our Monday night shows. Unfortunately she does nothing for building my culinary skills because she is such a picky eater. I’ll have to keep that in mind when doing the meal plan. I give you…pasta with marina and meatballs…

    No meal plan for this week! I’m trying to get creative with the food left over in my fridge and pantry and Chris comes back tonight. Thursday we are going out to dinner for my birthday but it’s a “mysterious” location. I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted!