Monthly Archives: October 2009

Gourmet lunch?

Hey friends!  How is everyone’s Saturday going?  It’s been a productive one over in this neck of the woods 🙂

I got all the grocery shopping done this morning which felt great – the menu is looking pretty good this week even though I’m going to be short on time due to week 3 of that training I’ve been going to.

I even ended up $splurging$ on a beautiful pork shoulder with dry rub from Whole Foods.  I was going to purchase this cut of meat from the regular grocery store, but after seeing them at 2 stores they just looked like they were soaking in chemicals and so not appetizing. 

Therefore I decided to treat us to some high quality pork, no antibiotics and the high quality standards/practices used by Whole Foods ensure the animal has a healthy, comfortable life.  Worth the extra money? YES.

Guess where this is going….

crock

Oh yea, this crockpot is amazing!  It has digital temperature read and even includes a probe so it knows when the food is done cooking… holding it at a safe temperature after that.  Awesome 🙂

Ya’ll will be seeing this tomorrow!

We also cleaned the house this a.m. and got things ready for our friends to arrive – I can’t wait – it’s gonna be one of “those nights” I can just feel it 😛

I heated up a quick lunch consisting of leftovers from last night

PA310548

Gourmet lunch?  Felt like it, in 1 minute 30 seconds flat! 🙂

We have some errands to run including hitting up World Market since The Man has decided we need to be the peeps on the block with the “cool candy” that kids can’t get anywhere else… & they def have plenty of neat stuff at WM like that!  I am so proud 🙂 

More adventures to come tonight… including Laura’s famous red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, dinner out with friends, then some potential bar action 😉   Now if only this rain would go away…..

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FRIENDS!!!

We got a winner!

Hey hey friends 🙂  Happy Friday to you all!!

So here’s how the weekend began, a post-work Slider Eating contest featuring 2 long-time eating rivals!

  • female, approx 5’2″, 105lbs
  • male, approx 6’2″, 190lbs

So who can eat the most slider burgers in 1 hour?

burger1  burger2

How’d it play out?

  • homegirl ate 11 sliders
  • homeboy ate 13 sliders

Ummm yea, impressive right?!

I wish I could post the pics of their faces as they hit the end of this eating race…. they were priceless haha.  It was pretty fantabulous to say the least.

After work shannigans I stopped at World Market & TL’s (Tom Leonards peeps 😉 ) for some goods

winebeer

Hey, it’s the weekend!

veg

Biggest. bbq. sauce. ever.  And some dark chocolate with sea salt, which I found my way into and it’s to die for!   

Plus eggplant & brussel sprouts for roastin’ tonight thanks to some inspiration from my fave Iowa lady 🙂 

Once I got home and got settled in I had plans to marinade some thin pork chops in a homemade marinade.  However, plans were thwarted midway through once I opened the meat and it did not smell good at all wtf? 😦  So I went with my gut instinct to trash it, and back to the store I went.  Chicken it is!

So back to the marinade, which I made out of these guys plus a few additions that came to mind as I was a’mixin!

marinade

  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tblsp chopped ginger
  • 2 tblsp lite soy sauce
  • 2 tblsp SF apricot spread
  • 3 tblsp chicken stock
  • 1 tblsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp agave
  • black pepper

marinadebowl

Put the chicken in marinade for about an hour (all I had left after that fiasco!)  Then cooked it up in a large skillet (medium heat to start, then medium low covered with foil to ensure tenderness!)….. removing once done and allowing the sauce to thicken up before serving.

sauce

Served up

chick

I also had some plans to roast some veggies 🙂

  • eggplant
  • brussel sprouts
  • tomato

I sliced up the eggplant and layed out on a pan covered with cooking spray.  I then added some sea salt, pepper, oregano & fresh chopped garlic on top.  Roasted at 350F for about 40 minutes

 

eggplant

and voila!  This was absolutely scrump-dilly-ump-tious 🙂 !!

eggplant2

Then I got the brussel sprouts ready for roastin’ (which I haven’t had since I was oh, 10 years old prob?) by slicing off the core and cutting in half, then tossing in some EVOO, minced garlic, salt & pepper.  

I also cut up a tomato, topped with some sea salt and added to the pan for roastin’ 🙂

brussels

 Roasted these at 400F for 30 minutes, flipping midway through

brussels2

And then plated them up all together 🙂  H-O-L-Y   Y-U-M!!!

vegplate

And also made up some basmati rice to go alongside using the rest of that chicken stock, so much flava!

 

rice 

Then all plated up!!! 🙂

stephplate

Ummm can I just way that this was probably one of my favorite dinners EVER?!?!  Why you ask?

1) The chicken was amazing — check out the fantastic way the marinade coated the outside, almost making a soft crust!  This marinade WILL be made again, no doubt.

chickenbite

2) Roasted eggplant with garlic and spices ROCKS.  Period.

3) Roasted tomatoes take on a completely different flavor, so sweet and almost like candy.  Look for more of these to come very very soon!

4) Roasted brussels are really very deelish, lovely texture and flavor — mmmm hmmmm!

So that was a happy wonderful dinner, and look what The Man accomplished while I did all this cookin’ 😉

pump

He did a superfab job eh friends?! 😛  love it!

Alright, time for some dessert and tv watching….. can’t wait for my friends to get here tomorrow and don’t you know that I’ll be back for some fun blogpost recaps!

Have a great night peeps 🙂

Umm salad guy, do YOU think it needs another scoop?!

Today is the day friends…. the day of the long awaited Inaugural Ultimate Slider Eating Contest!!  (but more on that later…) 

Alas it is also Friday – which I am sure each of us already is well aware of whoop whoop!

So guess what, not only is one of my besties coming tomorrow for weekend festivities… another one may be on the way too as long as he can get back from Memphis w/out any issues!   Oh I hope you guys get to meet him (him=Robbie) … he is our long time college bud and let me just tell you he is a-w-e-s-o-m-e! 

Robbie & Yours Truly @ Kristine’s wedding 2007

Robbie and Steph Rehearsal Dinner

Things I associate with Robbie – this will just give you an idea of how outta control hilarious my bud is:

  • bunny rabbit stew
  • midday school bus adventures
  • sleeping in the snow overnight
  • metal in the microwave gahhhh!

Okay, I think you get the picture 😉  I love this guy, and I hope both him and Laura get to come on Saturday!  Plus we are meeting up with ol’ preggers (love you Stine 🙂 ) for some dinner plans…. “I gotta feeling wooo hoooo that tonight’s tomorrow night’s gonna be a good good night!” — go Fergie?

For lunch I stopped at a place called Southern Railway to grab this

PA300508

One question:  Does this look like 1/2 scoop of salad dressing to you friends?!  The guy may as well have made soup with it, AND he asked me if I wanted another scoop after slathering this all over my veggie goodness – ummm salad guy, do YOU think it needs another scoop?!

So anywho, the mix was really good and I may or may not have taken some napkins to the salad to soak up some extra dressing (I hate too much dressing, I’m a “light on the dressing kinda gal”) grrrr

  • romaine
  • grilled chicken
  • cucumbers
  • mushrooms
  • tomatoes
  • green peas
  • roasted red peppers
  • feta
  • FF honey dijon

I like to treat myself to a lunch out at the end of each week, and this was a pretty good one (sans 890lbs salad dressing issue) 😉

So you are probably wondering about this slider contest I mentioned before?  Yes, my work peeps have organized an official slider eating contest between probably the smallest girl (big appetite apparently) in our group vs. the tallest guy.  See, they have had an ongoing battle over who can eat more burritos/sliders/anything for a while now – so it’s time to settle this once and for all!

So let’s just say that this afternoon will be filled with them eating as many of these guys

as they can stomach in 1 hour.  Haha should make for a good time 😛

Alright friends, The Man and I are pumpkin carving tonight and making some dinner — it’s a rainy/cloudy day so I can’t wait for a relaxing Friday night with my love 🙂

Before I leave you friends, check out this recipe I found earlier today:  Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Croutons.  Does that sound amazing or what?!

Hope ya’ll have a wonderful Friday and see ya tonight!

Bosu Class love!!

Hey hey friday friends! 🙂  Okay, it’s only Thursday…. but.we.are.so.close !

So let’s just start this off by saying that Bosu Class was INTENSE (intensly awesome)!!!   haha like that?

We used a combo of 2 bosu + 6lb medicine ball = booo yah!  I loved it and I hope they offer that one again soon (after I recover ohhhh a week from now 😉 )  JK peeps, but for realz the exercises she did were fabulou and really got the heart rate pumping (just typed pumpkin?) along with some awesome strength training & major core work.

I also gave the Vega Vibrancy Bar another whirl this afternoon at work, which I have now stored in the fridge…

bar

Verdict?  This rocked!!! I loved this bar cold, it firmed up and the flavors/textures were purrrrfect!!! 

In other news, thank you IowaHomeGirl 😉 for sharing the best crockpot recipe blogsite ev-ah with me today, you are my new hero!!   Coincidence that the blog owner’s name is Stephanie, fate  perhaps…?

There is even a recipe for African Peanut Soup which I saw on Caroline’s site the other day and was so intrigued by, *sigh* I see me & my new love crockpot becoming fast friends.

Dinner tonight was uber-fast-tazmanian-devil-style and involved me (1) being on the phone (2) The Man helping out/aka talking about how much he hates Tony (P90X guy) and (3) cooking dinner.  Yea, talk about total confusion haha 😛

Anywho, I knew that we had some Alfresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages w/ Pure Vermont Maple Syrup that needed to be eaten — ummm yes please.  This flavor is my #1 chicken sausage flavor EVER.  You heard it.  Ever.  Yes, they are that good 🙂

So the ingredients looked alot like this

diningred

But just swap out Annie for TJ (their mac is superfab fyi)

macbox

Saute up the sliced chicken sausages in some cooking spray

sausage

Also saute up the frozen veggies in a similar manner (add some water to steam them a bit too) and combine with sausages

vegsaus

Find a random handsome hunk to make the shells n’ white cheddar 😉

P8300616

Combine the goods together

all

BUT WAIT!!  Don’t forget the secret ingredients 🙂

nutmeg

Nutmeg + black pepper in shells with cheese = heaven

bowl

So good, every time!

Alright friends, I’m outta here to go do the dishes and cuddle up to some Grey’s Anatomy.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday night and see you tomorrow — WHOOP WHOOP FOR FRIDAY! 🙂

Carrot PB dippin’

Hey hey friends… it’s Thursday…. hooray! 😛  *Sighhh* I can’t wait for the weekend, one of my besties that you have met before is coming to visit – and I told her she couldn’t visit unless she brought  she’s bringing her famous red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting too!  JK guys, I am not that demanding 😉  These cupcakes are too die for, for realz.

Here’s a breakdown of the rest of last night.

The bad news: I never got around to opening up the crockpot o’ lurve

The good news: Reason being, I was having too good a time with catching up on all you fabulous peeps via google reader instead!

…. Oh yea, and watching the Yankees go down 😉 

I really want to use ol’ crockie this weekend however, so time to hop to it, sounds like I have a “hot” date tonight, get it? (nerd alert)

So I know The Man would probably love to know I am sharing this with the blogworld, but today was P90X “yoga day” and let’s just say that this morning I learned this:

The Man + P90X Yoga = 1 unhappy camper

After about 30 minutes he comes storming out of the room looking all disgruntled and proceeds on a 10 minute rant on how Tony (P90X guy) has lost his mind if he thinks that The Man would be able to fold into a pretzel shape and contort his body in ways not physically possible….  to his defense, the moves he was describing sound even more difficult than any yoga I have ever done 😦 

So The Man stated firmly that there will be no more P90X yoga.  Ever.   He will stretch instead — I, of course, was not going to accept this bad attitude and suggested that perhaps he replace Tony’s yoga craze with one of my favorite sessions on ExerciseTV that are more reasonable for a 6’4″ guy to do.  He rightfully obliged!!!  So him and Maura and Elise are going to meet soon, go honey! 🙂

I got his back yo.

Onto the eats, which today included some leftover pasta from last night

pasta

and salad – which I so artfully combined with goods from the work caf once again (I see a trend forming?)

2salad  salad

and my first try at this combo (trivia – which blog-ista does this?!)  Thanks Christie 😉

carrot

not too shabby.

After work tonight I hope to make it over to a new class my gym is offering – Bosu!!!  I’ve done a few kickboxing & other moves on this guy

a90fdf1a434431d0

but never a whole hour of exercise using it before, it is gonna be a toughie I think, but I’m ready for the challenge 😉

Tonight’s dinner is going to feature some of my most fave chicken sausages evah! 

9783

Oh and btw, I had a friend already tell me they just tried these after seeing them on the bloggie & adored them – you know who you are 🙂 !!

Can’t wait to see everyone back for an evening nightcap recap!  Hey, it’s Thursday 😉

Christmas in October!

Question:  what has 1 pot, 1 lid and can maybe make almost anything taste good with little effort?

Answer:

slowcooker

So friends, after work today I couldn’t hold out ANY LONGER and stopped at Best Buy on the way home and bought myself a present 🙂 I also did my consumer reports research like a good girl and found this to be the best choice within my price range.  Can we just talk about how excited I am about this purchase gahhh!!!  

I know I have the slow cooker already, which we all learned here is not the same as the crockpot… so it was time for an upgrade!  The Man’s mom gave me an old school crockpot cookbook that I plan on reading through tonight, I can’t freaking wait to use this thing ohemgee happy lady.

Speaking of (?), earlier today my sister and I were discussing recipes to make when she returns home in 3 weeks & she suggested this Curried Vegetable Soup that I came across the other day.  This of course got me to thinking about my true love spicy pumpkin soup and how insanely deelish the addition of coconut milk in place of half and half could be in this dish!!

So needlesss to say, while I was out I decided to hop over to World Market and pick up yet some more spicy pumpkin soup mix (shocking? I have problems, I know)… imagine the horror (drama queen?) when I approached the shelf to this sight!

shelf

Nooooooooooo it can’t be true?!?!  The VERY LAST pack of spicy pumpkin soup mix 😦 and yes friends, it’s a seasonal item so I don’t know if they will get more…  can we just say that good thing I got the crockpot to compensate for this sad moment haha! 

So obvi I bought the last sad pack of mix there was *sigh* and also decided to venture out and try the harvest vegetable as well.

mixes

All in all – a pretty good post work adventure 🙂

Oh and I almost forgot to fill you friends in on my afternoon snack!

bar  baropen

So what’s the verdict?  I thought it was pretty good, I think I will put them in the fridge to firm up a bit next time around to improve my liking of the texture.  Taste wise they were great, and nutrition wise just phenomenal 🙂

Dinner time!  Tonight’s meal was based on a modification of a meal we had a few weeks back, pumpkin gnocchi with balsamic cream sauce

Tonight’s plan was for chicken & mushrooms w/ balsamic cream sauce served over pasta 🙂  since last time around this sauce was amazing!

Here were the key players, I made some modifications per usual (if you want to see the basis for this recipe idea check it out here 🙂 )

sauceingred  meat

  • 1 huge chicken breast (could easily be omitted veggie friends 🙂 )
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch nutmeg
  • black pepper/salt
  • pasta
  • grated parm to serve

I love doing recipes that use up ingredients from earlier in the week – I try to plan this way.  The chicken stock was from Saturday’s dinner and the half and half from last night – nothing to waste (do I gots to do the Frugal Gourmet joke again 😉 )!

First up I did a quick saute in EVOO of the chicken (season with salt/pepper) until cooked on the outside.

step1

Then I removed from the pan and added the garlic, onion, mushrooms & a splash of wine and let cook down til mushrooms were tender (don’t forget to season with salt/pepper too!)

step2

Then I removed these from the pan and started on the sauce, combining the half and half, chicken stock, balsamic, nutmeg & pepper – stirred together and let cook over medium until the sauce thickened up (5-10 minutes).

Then it was time to throw it all back together and let the chicken finish cooking!  The best part of “staging” the dish in layers is that each step picks up the flavor of the last… so it all melds together so beautifully!

step3

Boiled some linguine & combined with the pasta and sauce.

step4

Plated (bowled?) up 🙂

done

Prepped up a quick salad to go with

  • romaine
  • tomato
  • cucumber
  • onion
  • feta
  • oregano/black pepper

And dinner was served!! 🙂

dinner

Don’t forget the grated Parm 😉 

plate

This dinner?  SO GOOD!  I loved this sauce mixture over the pasta – creamy & indulgent in disguise! (no butter or cream, just some half and half + 1tblsp EVOO was really all the fat this dish had friends :))

So now the rest of the night is going to be devoted to my new fascination, the crockpot haha!  I can’t wait to check this thing out, feels like Christmas in October 😉

See you friends tomorrow, have a great night!

So what’s in the box?

Hello blog world, happy humpday!!! 🙂

Why am I so excited you ask?  Bc my day started off this morning with The Man requesting his first batch of oats “blogger style” ever!!!  (“blogger style” = my term for adding all sorts of fun & healthy toppings to a batch of real oats — not having those sugary microwave packets plain which I am sure he has eaten before).

So I made my usual morning mix, times 2!:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 2 tblsp syrup
  • 1 tblsp peanut butter
  • chia seed for moi (thought this may be pushin’ it for The Man 😉 )

Verdict just in (he brought them to work) — “Mucho delisho!” which I am assuming means really good? 😛  Yay!!!

Oh, what’s that you say, you still want to see what was delivered last night by the UPS guy?!

box

Check out the goods peeps!

goods

I was fortunate enough to win the Vega giveaway from my Canadian homegirl over at Eat Clean Live Green and couldn’t be more excited to try these Vega Whole Food products!

I plan on trying one of the vibrancy bars for a snackie this afternoon – reviews to come!

bars

Onto lunch eats, which included spicy pumpkin soup from last night (what is it with this stuff being so amazing, taste & texture = perfect!)

soup

Along with a slice of heaven farmer’s market pumpkin bread

bread

And a salad from the ol’ work Caf  which was pretty impressive btw! (needed some veggie power today)

salad

I remembered to pack my own dressing this time, crisis averted 😉

dessert

Hey, how’d that Apple Kuchen get in there 😉  Served on the finest dishware none-the-less haha.

On the agenda for tonight is an exercise rest day and some kitchen “play time” for this lady… *sigh* happy.  I like to make Wednesdays my day off from exercise where I know I will have time to concoct something fun for dinner and not have to rush through it… is it sad that cooking is so theraputic for moi?  Ah well… it could be worse!

Plans for dinner include something we’ve tried before but with a Steph twist!

  • Balsamic Cream Sauce Pasta w/ chicken & mushrooms
  • Salad

I made this balsamic cream sauce a few meals back but served it over pumpkin gnochhi from World Market which unfortunately were not that wonderful… however I was so impressed with the sauce that I knew it had to be made again, just served a different way! 

So that day is here – and we have half a pack of pasta from last week’s meal that I want to use up (Frugal Gourmet anyone  😉 blast from the past if you know what I’m referencing!)

Plus the fact that The Man loves him some mushrooms, I”m hoping this one will be a winner winner (you know it’s coming..) chicken dinner 🙂

Before I go, have any of you friends decided to attend FitBloggin 2010?!

Fit Bloggin’ is a conference for those that blog about fitness, wellness, good food, and a healthy lifestyle. It’s an opportunity to connect, learn, grow, and network and will take place on March 20, 2010 in Baltimore.

image

I registered last night and couldn’t be more excited!!! 🙂  I’ve heard back from many of you and hope that those still deciding will be able to make it!

Back to the grind, see you friends tonight!