Posts tagged ‘recipe’

September 22, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Spicy

The Good:

Food pushers planned an ice cream social at the office yesterday, and I did not eat any ice cream.  Not even a cone, y’all – this is serious.  Given my overall lack of willpower and my infatuation with sweets, this is good.  Really good.

I’m not the only one who fought the urge to partake.  I’m not sure why companies don’t just offer fruit socials or tea time instead.  Many health insurance providers give discounts for employees’ healthy actions, so why is our insurer cool with this?  It just sounds hypocritical to me.

The Bad:

I am skipping today’s workout.  I hit the gym kind of hard yesterday morning, and my body was dragging the rest of the day.  I’ve been in a slump all week, so I think rest is more important.  I only hope I’m not getting sick.  I have started to hear coughs and sniffles in the office.  Yipes!

The Spicy:

Here’s a makeshift version of the recipe I promised yesterday.  I was inspired by the Whole Foods recipe I saw on Brittany’s blog.  It’s not hot n’ spicy; it just contains a lot of spice.  You could easily spice it up if you wanted though.

pot o' soup

I’d love to provide the nutritional information for this, but my numbers are very different from Whole Foods.  This is partially because I used different lentils and changed things a wee bit, but I’m still surprised at the size of the variance.

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup


My pepper thinks it's a star, and my lentils look like fish food.


  •  8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS garam masala
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups orange lentils (Next Time I’d Use Green Lentils)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (More If You Like it Hot)
  • 3 handfulls of kale leaves, torn into bite-size chunks
  • 2 tsp cumin (I Didn’t Add This But Might Next Time)
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped (I Didn’t Add This But Might Next Time)


  1. Prep all your ingredients (washing, chopping, rinsing the lentils)
  2. Put everything in your slow cooker except for the kale.  Give it a stir.
  3. Here’s the hard part… turn the slow cooker to “low.”
  4. Let the slow cooker do the work for about 8 hours.
  5. Add the kale in the last hour of cooking.  It’s firm, but that’s better than mushy.

***I was running low on time and cooked mine for 3 hours on high.  I added kale for one additional half-hour.  This was okay, but I wish it had cooked a bit longer.

Why is this adapted recipe awesome?

If you don’t mind eating the same thing all week, this is a great lunch.  Although I ate it without sides, I think naan would pair well with the meal.

In addition, according to the American Cancer Society, turmeric might be able to slow the growth of some cancers, help lower “bad” cholesterol, serve as an anti-inflammatory, and more.  Gotta love spices!

Have colds started circulating in your area yet?  Do you love your slow cooker as much as I do?

August 9, 2011

WIAW: Normal Edition

Guess what!!! I flailed around in the water swam for 15 continuous minutes yesterday morning! Woohoo! That’s a first for me. Here was the overall workout: I completed 10 minutes of lower body pilates before heading into the pool. I then swam 15 minutes, walked 1 minute, and swam 14 more minutes. It was an excellent start to the day!

Okay… moving on to the yum stuff….

I wish I had a cool theme for you guys this week, such as WIAW Dessert Edition, Vacation Edition, or even Pretty Picture Edition, but I don’t. Luckily, WIAWs are always fun as-is. Check out Peas & Crayons for other WIAW posts.

Breakfast has been broken into only 2 parts this week. Yeah… crazy. I’m having 1 of the 2 Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Crunchy bars or a banana pre-workout. I thought the bars would be like Nature Valley bars, but they’re actually sooooo much better.

From Official Kashi Site

Once I get to the office, I’m having 1 scoop (80 calories) of all-natural vanilla whey protein cooked in 1/3 cup of oats. I top that with a shake of pumpkin pie spice and 3 diced almonds. The protein to oats ratio is a little off, so it comes out sort of like a rubber muffin top. It’s not particularly tasty, but it’s fun to eat and super filling.

alien protein oats

Lunch is the awesomeness I described in yesterday’s recipe. It reheats very well.

tuscan food is good, even if it's not tuscan

So far, snack has been either a pink lady apple or a plum with 1 serving of 2% cottage cheese. Although it’s pretty good, I think I may change it out one or two days with a Larabar, yogurt, or something a little more sinful. Muah-ha-ha-ha! I hope I see a cookie in my future!


Ya think that was a gigantic blueberry at first?

Dinner Monday and Tuesday was vegerific. I made a bag of these veggies with a little extra broccoli slaw added to the mix while I cooked 1 serving of quinoa (divided between both nights).

veg love

I served baked general tsao’s tofu. Yum! Yes… I’m one of those oddballs who actually likes tofu, especially baked.

general tsao's tofu bowl

Tonight will be an Italian-style bake of eggplant, zucchini, chickpeas, red sauce, and Parmesan or feta. I’m pretty pumped!

Of course every night has at least 1 treat. Monday was half a green apple with a spoon of peeb, but Tuesday included loads of popcorn. Who knows was I’ll be craving later tonight!

What was the best thing you’ve eaten lately? Are you a fan of tofu?

July 14, 2011

Jalapeno Corn Muffins

I got up this morning and completed another 3 miles with my running buddy.  I’m glad I did it, but we were both huffing and puffing.  It was hot, windy, and humid.  How does this happen before the sun even rises???  Anyway, at least I did it, and I’m done!  Moving on…

Last week, I know I said that there was a jalapeno corn muffin recipe coming soon.  It didn’t come very soon, but it came.  It came just the same.  (Sorry, I totally ripped off Dr. Seuss right there.  Thanks Mr. Grinch!)

I made these for a 4th of July cookout we attended, but since I didn’t create the recipe, I wasn’t in a huge hurry to post it .  (Nothing is more American than corn these days.)  The muffins aren’t even healthy, and for once, I did not try to “healthify” them.  At least they were a hit at the cookout!

The recipe comes from Food Network’s website, so I’m not going to re-post it here.  I will just go through it with you to let you in on my baking secrets.  Okay, there’s no lie.  I have no baking secrets.  I just want to share the yum-ness.

 The Essence of Emeril’s Jalapeno Corn Muffins  (recipe yields 14, but I got 12 out of them)

First, you’ve gotta gather your goods.  Martha Stewart says it’s best to gather and pre-measure your ingredients before cooking.  I agree, but I don’t always do it.  Shame shame.


Gathering the Goods

Then, I defrosted my frozen corn.  Sorry Emeril, I like it frozen.  So easy, and so yellow.  I also fried up my onions in 1 TBS butter.  Again, sorry Emeril, 2 TBS just sounded excessive.  I also throw in a diced, fresh jalapeno after the onion cooked a bit.


Onions + Butter = Hot Love in a Pan

Now mix your dry stuff.  I added a little extra cheese, which was barely noticeable.  I also couldn’t taste the cayenne pepper, but maybe I have a cheap brand or something.  Then mix your wet stuff separately.  I used this sustainable honey came from my uncle’s property.  I guess it’s organic too, but who really puts chemicals on bees?  Steroid bees?  Antibiotic super-bees?  Odd.


Honey Bear Always Sees the Glass Half Full

You put your dry stuff in; don’t take your dry stuff out.  You put your wet stuff in, and then you mix it all about…


Honey Bear Approves of this Mixture

As you can see from the pic, I used both pickled and fresh jalapenos.  The recipe calls for red jalapenos, but I’ve never heard of such things… and I might have been too lazy to look for them.

 I spooned the goo into muffin tins and baked.  Mine took a while to bake, but my oven’s older than dirt.  I like to sarcastically call it, Old Reliable.

Here’s the finished product.  Yum!  Be sure to let them cool, and yes, it’s okay to use a roasting pan if you don’t own a cooling rack.  I’ve never been the kind of girl to sport a big rack.


Take a Chill Pill, Muffins

Notice that half are darker than the others.  I used whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour for the first batch, but I just used all-purpose flour for the second batch.  Kev and I actually preferred the muffins with whole wheat, which is very surprising since he’s a white pasta/bread/muffin kind of guy.


So Friggin Cute! (And Festive)

These were not terribly spicy, but they were good.  They had just enough kick to appeal to a crowd but not send anyone reaching for a beer glass of water.  I have to admit that I did not figure the nutrition stats on these.  I bet we don’t really want to know…

What do you think of spicy foods?  Jalapenos – yay or nay?

June 28, 2011

Savory Summer Muffins

Top o’ the muffin to ya!  When I went out for lunch Saturday, the restaurant had a pretty awesome appetizer called a tomato pie.  The entire table loved them, and although I only tried a bite, I knew I had to remake them… or at least something similar.

The restaurant’s tomato pie looked as if it was made in a popover tin.  It had tomato in the middle of a flaky yet semi-doughy pie crust.  As we all know, a flaky crust comes from one thing- lard, so I knew I’d need to make a healthier edition.

I instead made savory summer muffins, which use whole wheat flour and yellow cornmeal.  I have a bunch of leftover cornmeal from that amazing tamale pie, so I’m happy I found another use for it!

Savory Muffins

Savory Summer Muffins ~ Makes 4 Muffins


  • 2 tsp butter or butter substitute
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion 1/2 medium tomato (thinly diced)


  • 1/3 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (approx 1 TBS reserved)
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (or a little more if you like this stuff)


  • 1 egg and one egg white (reserve the extra yolk) ~ I don’t think a flax egg would work well, but I have no idea.
  • 1/4 cup  milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 tsp honey (probably unnecessary)


  • 1 egg yolk (leftover)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used about 1/8 of shaved parmesan)

tomato muffin


  1. See toppings.  Melt butter in a pan, and when melted, cook onion until soft.  Turn off burner, and add tomato pieces.  Let cool in the warm pan.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk wet ingredients separately in another bowl. Stir to combine wet and dry ingredients, but do not over-stir.
  3. Place a dallop of dough mixture into the bottom of four greased places in a muffin tin. Try to make the dough come up the sides a bit to make a dip in the middle.  The dough doesn’t want to do this, so don’t force it.  Sprinkle most of your reserved flour in the middle of your muffin.
  4. Plop equal amounts of tomato and onion mix in each muffin, without extra juices from pan.  Sprinkle your remaining wee bit of flour on filling.  Top muffins with remaining dough mixture.  Whisk topping, and drizzle over each muffin. Bake at 350 degrees  F for approximately 19-22 minutes.

In other news, I enjoyed roast Brussels sprouts and eggplant Sunday night with a glass of cheap simple red wine and little chunk of Parmesan cheese.  Roast Brussels are nature’s candy!  Kevin’s plate also included a large grilled chicken breast.

Last night, I changed it up a bit.  I’m not going to share that dinner just yet since I’ll be eating the same thing tomorrow.  Yup, tomorrow you are in store for another WIAW.  Sooner or later I need to do a What I Drank Weekend Edition, but I’ll hold onto that thought.

If you try my muffin recipe, let me know what you think of it in the comments.  I’m eager to know!  Oh, and if you make your rendition of it, let me know that too.  This was my first attempt at savory muffins (or any baking recipe I made up myself), so I’m sure some tweaking is in order.

Have you made a savory treat that’s usually sweet?  Or how about the other way around?

June 2, 2011

Asparagus Veggie Bowl with Basil

I have good news, bad news, and a recipe for you today.  The good news is that I gained zero pounds on vacation last week.  Of course, if you read posts like this one you might have guessed that I lost weight.  However, if you checked out other posts, such as this one, you might have assumed I put on a couple.  Muahaha… calorie credits and debits at work!

The bad news is that I already failed on my Real Food June challenge.  Ummm… I think I made it one day because I started May 31.  I found this to be more comical than discouraging.  The guys left one lonely portion of meatloaf last night, so I ate it.  Since it was my mommy’s recipe (ultimate comfort food), was made with lean beef, included fresh basil and real Wisconsin white cheddar, I’m pleased with my decision.  The only downfall was the overly processed and totally unnatural breadcrumbs.  Ooops!

As promised, here’s the recipe for this week’s lunch bowl.  I must admit, it isn’t quite as yummy as my last lunch bowl, but it’s very filling and vegalicious.  I might like it more if I actually enjoyed eating asparagus.  It’s not that I don’t like the stuff, but it’s one of my least favorite veggies.

At least it's pretty!

At least it's pretty!

Kevin’s an asparagus fan, so I made lunch for him too.  Hurray for 8 pre-made lunches!  He can consume loads more calories than I can (by loads, I mean approximately 1,100 per day), so I told him to bring an extra snack and top his veggie bowls with cheese.  I recommended parmesan or asiago, but he requested mozzarella.  Whatever.  For my readers, I still recommend parmesan if you feel like adding more to your lunch.


  • 6 servings of quinoa
  • 1 TBS olive oil and 3 more TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, diced (white or red)
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 oz fresh basil (not so sure dried would work this time)
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 12-oz packages of frozen asparagus (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 16-oz package of frozen spinach

*Note: 2 10-oz packages of asparagus and 2 10-oz packages of spinach would also be great, but it all depends on your grocery store’s offerings.


  • Heat 1 TBS olive oil in frying pan.  Fry/sauté onion and bell pepper in pan until soft.  Add garlic powder, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Continue cooking until super soft.  (Is “super soft” a Martha Stewart approved cooking description?)  Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions.


    So Colorful!

  • Allow onion and pepper mix to cool while you tear basil in smaller pieces.  While cooling, you can also defrost spinach and asparagus in your microwave according to package directions.
  • Place basil in food processor.  Place onion and pepper over basil.  Add the three extra TBS of oil as you process this into a sauce-like paste.  This is similar to a pesto, but it lacks the hard Italian cheese and pine nuts.  (Pine nuts don’t fit into my calorie or money budget.)


    A Work in Process

  • When quinoa is finished cooking, add the “sauce” from the food processor.  It won’t cover much, but the onion and basil contribute strong flavor.  Gently stir in the beans, asparagus, and spinach.
  • Stir, divide, and re-heat before serving.  Kevin added cheese daily before microwaving it.

    The Great Divide

    The Great Divide

I’d like to add a note about the red bell pepper.  Quinoa and spinach are great sources of iron, but the body absorbs iron better when it is served with a little vitamin C.  I doubt half a red bell pepper (a vitamin-C powerhouse) really added enough to matter over the course of 8 lunches, but I do what I can.  Next time, I might be inclined to omit the red bell pepper and have a little Clementine orange as a side or dessert.  The orange gives you the C, but it would also freshen your breath.  Garlic + Onion = Watch Out!

One last thing to watch out for… asparagus is a natural diuretic.  This is helping me feel less like a whale after vacation.  You may want to drink an extra glass of water every day that you have this for lunch.  Necessary?  Probably not.  Good for you anyway?  Sure.

The recipe is easily halved, but as-posted: serves 8, approx 325 calories per serving

May 22, 2011

Mediterranean Veggie Bowl

I mentioned the ingredients to my Mediterranean Veggie Bowl in a previous post, but I’d like to take a moment and post a real recipe for it.  I plan to add more veggie bowl recipes in the future.  This is partially due to requests, but it is also to help break the mold from frozen meals and deli meats.  I eat my fair share of frozen meals and deli meats, but I try to avoid both when possible.

Frozen meals, such as those made by Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, etc., are expensive.  While they don’t successfully keep me full, they do pump me full of artificial flavorings/preservatives and tons of sodium.  I have decided I’d prefer making custom meals with ingredients I trust on Sunday, then packaging them up for lunch every day.  Luckily, I’m one of those people who can eat something for 4-5 days in a row before getting sick of it!

As for deli meats, I’m not going to go on a huge rant here about those.  I eat them.  My family eats them.  It’s not the end of the world.  However, they are worth avoiding or at least limiting when possible.  There’s a myriad of reasons, and Google will be happy to help you find the ones that tug your heartstrings.  Arguments discuss the treatment of the animals, the quality of the meat, the way packaged meats harm the enviroment, and more.  You can check out a quick recap here if you have time.  No matter your opinion, you can see why I’ve recently fallen in love with my own veggie bowls!

Veggie Bowl


Mediterranean Veggie Bowl

  • 3 servings quinoa
  • 2 packages chopped frozen spinach (10 oz each) (kale works well too in this)
  • 1 white onion (or whatever’s in your pantry)
  • 1 package of fresh “Baby Bella” mushrooms (or sliced button mushrooms if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp basil (I used dried)
  • 1 TBS oregano (again… I used dried)
  • 1 can no-salt-added diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (or cannellini beans) (drained and rinsed)
  1. Begin cooking quinoa according to package directions.  Meanwhile, chop onion and defrost spinach in the microwave.
  2. Pour olive oil in pan to warm.  Add onion and mushrooms, and cook until softened.
  3. Add garlic to pan.  Stir and be careful not to burn.  Add spices and stir until fragrant (about 1 minute)
  4. If quinoa is finished cooking, add tomatoes, beans, and drained spinach.  Stir until heated.  Add contents of pan to pot of quinoa and other goodies.  Stir.  Let cool just enough to package into 5 equal servings.
The total per serving (assuming 5 servings) is 244 calories.  That’s not a lot, so some of you may want to add an additional can of beans, which would bring the total to approximately 321 calories per serving.  If you don’t care about calories, then I would recommend adding feta.  Feta makes everything betta’!  Lastly, I’d like to note that the vitamin C in the tomatoes helps your body absorb the iron from the other ingredients, such as spinach and quinoa.
After a race, you may be too tired to clean your house, but you may still have the energy to build your kitties a two-blanket and two-box fort.  (I think I liked it more than they did.)

Fort Entrace

Forts = Fun


Cleo Attacking the Fort

May 16, 2011

Easy Lower-Calorie Jambalaya

Good Morning Bloggies!  Did you all do your homework from yesterday?  I hope so.  It’s a great way to start the week.  I have three topics today.  Three???  Yes, but don’t worry, I’ll be brief.  First I’d like to share a new recipe with you.  I made it up last night, and I think it turned out pretty well.  Next, I’d like to share a tidbit of brew news.  Lastly, well… you’ll see.

Lower Calorie Jambalaya

  • 4 servings brown rice and more water than necessary
  • Hot sauce (if you like it hot)
  • With 4-5 tsp olive or canola oil, divided
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 jalapenos (diced and not totally necessary-these were pretty mild)
  • Half of one bell pepper (diced)
  • 1.5 cups diced celery (or about 5 stalks/stems)
  • 1 tsp Cajun spices (I think it’s mainly cayenne pepper, onion powder, and chili powder.)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 can kidney beans (rinsed, drained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  •  0.75 lb shrimp (peeled)

The Yum Stuff

  1. Cook rice while prepping the other ingredients.  This generally takes 45 minutes.  I added my hot sauce to the rice during this time.  Be sure to use a large pot for this.
  2. Add two tsp oil to large frying pan, and cook onion, jalapenos, bell pepper, and celery.  After a few minutes, add spices and continue cooking until soft (approximately 10 minutes)
  3. Add half the tomatoes to the pan and the other half with juice to the rice.  Add the can of beans to the rice as well.  You may need to add more water to rice, but this depends upon how soup-like you want your jambalaya.  (Mine was a little less soupy than I would have wished.)  The burner under the big pot should be on very low heat.
  4. When rice is finished cooking, add vegetables from the pan to the pot of rice.  Keep burner on medium-high.
  5. Add one or two tsp oil to pan, and sauté half the shrimp.  These only cook a few minutes and should be cooked only until they turn pink.  Scrape bottom of pan for extra spices that may have stuck.  Transfer shrimp to pot.  Repeat with remaining shrimp and oil.
  6. I had a teeny bit of white wine in the fridge while I was cooking, so I added a splash of white wine while cooking the shrimp.  It was delicious and fragrant but totally unnecessary.  You could also boil the shrimp if you prefer.
  7. Mix all ingredients in the big pot.  Add salt, pepper, and/or hot sauce to taste.


    Who you callin shrimp?

I added extra beans to Kev’s bowl because he eats more than I do (hints the extra can in the first picture).  I wouldn’t recommend this though because he complained about it.  If you have a hungry eater, it’s worth considering.  This will feed us two nights, so it’s 4 servings.  Hurray for leftovers!

My Bowl of Amazun Cajun

In other news, today kicks off craft beer week.  Try looking around for events and celebrations in your area; it’s a nation-wide event.  In the words of Miley, “Party in the U.S.A.!”

Lastly, I’m still not over this darling haircut.  I hate that it makes me feel old, but I love the way it holds curl.  I guess I don’t feel too “old” today while rocking the headband.


Gotta Love Spring

By the way, I totally skipped my workout today.  Crazy, right?  I just wasn’t feeling it.  I’ll go to the gym tonight though to make up for the difference.  I’m just doing my Women’s Health workout, so it shouldn’t be too dreadful.  I’ve gotta save up my leg energy this week.  Perhaps I’ll tell you why tomorrow!

May 7, 2011

Naked Chicken Fajitas

After going out for the beer dinner on Wednesday and the Cinco de Mayo festivities on Thursday, Kev and I decided to lay low Friday.  I was pretty drained anyway, so that was fine by me.  Plus, the Black Swan DVD I requested from Netflix was at home waiting on me when I returned from work.  I was really impressed by Natalie Portman, but the movie was a bit too disturbing for me.  Luckily, last night I slept nightmare free!

Before starting the movie, I made a yummy, healthy dinner that I like to call, Naked Chicken Fajitas.  First, you assemble ingredients (listed below) atop heavy duty aluminum foil, with chicken on the bottom.  Get everything ready while the oven is pre-heating to 375 degrees F and your desired amount of rice is cooking on the stove.


Fold up the sides around the chicken, and crimp edges to seal.  Be sure to leave one hole for steam to escape and enough room around the chicken and fixins’ to allow steam to circulate.

Bake chicken and veggies for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.  Be sure to cut into it before serving to make sure it is fully cooked.  Also, I drain the juices before plopping the packet down on my rice.  I was going to be good and avoid the cheese, but when I saw Kevin smothered his in cheese, I knew I had to top mine too!  I used about 1/3 cup of 2% shredded cheddar.  Mmmmm…. cheeeeeese!

Get in mah' bellay


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 bell pepper, cut in strips
  • 1/3 yellow onion, cut in strips
  • 1/2 cups salsa (I used pico this time instead)
  •  2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 TBS cumin
  • 1/3 water or chicken broth (I used broth, though it’s not pictured)
  • 2 dried chili peppers on top (optional)

Divide all ingredients evenly between packets, and bake. Oh… and feel free to add cheese when it’s all done!

Does kitty want to come tooooo???

Now that it’s morning, it’s time for my 4-mile run. I have all my favorite running things ready (Garmin GPS Watch, Mizuno shoes, North Face Socks, Larabar, Tervis Tumbler), so it’s time to hit the road! Thanks for reading!

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