Welcome to my blog!

I have always loved to bake - mostly because I can follow instructions and recipes, and I have had good luck with my turnout. But, more recently, I have learned the joy of cooking. I love trying out new recipes, and I like to play with recipes to accommodate my finicky tastes.

I find inspiration in the healthy blogging community. I wanted to start a blog to share the recipes I have tried with you, but I also want to share with you my healthy living goals, plans, and actions in hopes to inspire some of you as well.

I love feedback, so please leave me comments, suggestions, and questions.

I hope you enjoy my blog!

Monday, June 27, 2011


I woke up before the alarm this morning (I love when that happens).  I had put overnight oats in the fridge last night, so breakfast was ready for me.  I topped with fresh strawberries and chia seeds.  I did 30 minutes on the elliptical this morning and hammered out a few pushups.  My arms are still a little sore from doing Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones on Sunday morning.  After I showered up, I popped a piece of Ezekiel bread in the toaster to eat on the way to work.  Once I got to work, I ate a pear.  A couple of hours later I ate some almonds and more strawberries.  For lunch today, I had a grilled turkey burger on an Ezekiel english muffin with sprouts.  My afternoon snack today will be my usual celery and cheese.  I also have some baby carrots to munch on.  Tonight I am having fish with brown rice and mixed veggies.  For dessert - probably either banana soft serve or some dark chocolate.  Have a good Monday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back to Normal

Thank goodness my appetite has made its way back to normal.  I did end up spreading some soft organic goat cheese on my burger last night and had cantaloupe for dessert instead of the grilled banana.  I snacked on some Garden of Eatin' Chili Lime tortilla chips with Trader Joe's Spicy Bean Dip while the turkey burger was on the grill. 

This morning I woke up a little late, but still had time for a workout.  Pre-workout I had a bowl of quinoa with a mashed banana and cinnamon.  This was the first time I tried quinoa for breakfast, and I was pleased because it kept my hunger at bay for longer than my usual bowl of cereal or oat bran.  For today's workout, I did three Denise Austin Daily Dozen videos for a total of 36 minutes.  The breakfast quinoa held me over until about an hour into my workday.  I had an apple and a cup of greek yogurt around 9 a.m.

The rest of my meals today will pretty much mirror yesterdays because I am volunteering at the food shelf tonight after work so I packed a leftover turkey burger, english muffin, cooked spinach, and sweet corn.  Lunch is leftover steamed brussels sprouts, lentils, baby carrots, and toasted Ezekiel sesame bread.  My afternoon snack will be my usual celery and cheese and a mango. 

After working at the food shelf tonight, I am going to swing over to a friend's house to help her decorate her son's birthday cake, and then I will head home and concoct some sort of dessert.  It has been a while since I have had chocolate, so dessert will probably involve chocolate, and probably some almonds or walnuts, too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Out of Control Appetite

My appetite was out of control Monday.  I just did not feel satisfied after anything I ate.  I hate that feeling, because I knew I wasn't really hungry, but I ate anyway.  And, I didn't exactly make the healthiest choices.  Oh well, back to clean eating yesterday and today.  Today I woke up and had a bowl of Barbara's Bakery Shredded Wheat with skim milk.  I did Stephanie Vitarino's Six-Round Slimdown.  It wasn't really as challenging as I had hoped.  I definitely needed to up the weights.  She was using 5-pound dumbells, and that just wasn't enough weight for me. 

After my shower, I ate a slice of Ezekiel Sesame bread with almond butter.  When I got to work I sliced up a pair and had a two very thick slices of provolone.  For lunch today, I had a bowl of quinoa with french green lentils, steamed brussels sprouts, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.  Random, I know.  I have some strange concoctions, but they are always delicious!  After lunch I had a mango, some blueberries, and strawberries, and another honkin' slice of provolone cheese.  My tummy is rumbling a little bit from all that dairy - oh well, I LOVE IT! 

Dinner tonight will be a turkey burger on the grill with a chipotle chile in adobo minced into the meat.  I will enjoy that on a toasted Ezekiel english muffin with a few pieces of romaine lettuce, some sweet corn, and a few kale chips.  For dessert tonight, I am thinking of having a grilled banana with dark chocolate.  I was going to have cheese on my turkey burger, but I think I have met my dairy quota for the day!  Plus, I have some greek yogurt in the fridge that I know I won't be able to stay out of after dinner tonight.

Thanks for reading, and I am going to try to stay up to date on my posts.  It keeps me accountable.  I ate terribly over the weekend.  I find that if I write down what I eat, even if no one is reading this blog, it helps me with my clean eating initiative.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Monday was hot, hot, hot!  I love it!  It reached 90 something degrees.  Yay summer!  I woke up at about 5:20 yesterday morning and did the Jillian Michaels 30-day shred level 1 video.  I was hungry right away when I woke up so I had a bowl of shredded wheat with skim milk.  I ate some walnuts while getting ready for work.  When I got to work I had a pear and some steel cut oats I had put in the slow cooker the night before.  Lunch was an Ezekiel tortilla with ground turkey and brie.  I then had my usual celery and cheese snack, some baby carrots, and an orange.  It was way too hot to cook, so I had a bowl of greek yogurt, and a bowl of oat bran with a half of banana mixed it.  I then stirred in a cup of organic wild blueberries and let it cool.  That wasn't super filling so I munched on some pretzels and almond butter.  I had to finish my night off with something sweet, so I had some pineapple wedges that I had cut up on Sunday.

Weekend Recap

Wow, it is Tuesday already!  I meant to post my weekend recap yesterday, but the day got away from me!  Saturday morning I had toast with homemade walnut butter and a bowl of Mom's Best Natural Toasted Wheat-fuls with skim milk.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  I ran to the farmer's market (2 miles).  My husband met me there with the car (and a bottle of water!) so we could shop around.  The growing season has been short with the crazy weather so there wasn't much there.  We bought some lettuce, and then I ran home while he drove the lettuce home so I didn't have to run with it!  We restained the deck and benches in the back yard.  I grazed the whole day on snacks and ended up eating way too much (tummy ache).  But it was all delicious stuff.

I didn't work out on Sunday, but we did go to the flower mart and bought some annuals to plant in our pots for our patio and front porch.  We also bought two candy corn vines to creep up the trellis my hubby built a couple of years ago.  Then my husband washed and waxed the car while I did some laundry and other domestic stuff.  Dinner on Sunday night was lemon pepper grilled chicken, steamed asparagus, and roasted red potatoes. 

I hope you had a good weekend.  How was the weather where you live? 

Friday, June 3, 2011


It finally feels like summer out there (I live in the Twin Cities Metro)!  It is a steamy 90 degrees out today.  It stormed earlier but the sun is shining through haze now.  I love it!  Last night when I got home I made a delicious parfait with Chobani greek yogurt, crushed shredded wheat, raw sunflower seeds, and some TJs frozen very cherry blend - dethawed. 

This morning I woke up at my usual 5:30 a.m.  I was hungry right away so I poured myself a quick bowl of shredded wheat with skim milk.  I did two Denise Austin Daily Dozen videos then ate some greek yogurt with a cup of fresh cherries.  When I got to work I had an orange and for a morning snack I had string cheese and celery and a handful of raw sunflower seeds. 

Lunch was a grilled chicken breast on an Ezekiel english muffin with a mini babybel and broccoli sprouts.  For an afternoon snack, I had some baby carrots and a sliver of harvarti cheese.

I have no idea what I will be having for dinner tonight.  I am usually much more organized than this, but I went out of town for Memorial Weekend and haven't done much grocery shopping since I have been back and didn't do a meal plan for the week.  I love making meal plans and feel lost when I don't have one in place.  I usually end up making a mish-mash of a meal and then am not as satisfied so I munch after dinner.

I am looking forward to starting the weekend!  Tomorrow is the first day of the farmer's market in the City I live in.  I plan to run down there and have my husband meet me with the car so I don't have to walk or run with veggies!  It is about two miles from my house to the farmer's market.  It isn't supposed to be as humid tomorrow.  After the farmer's market trip, my husband and I are going to powerwash the deck to prepare it for re-staining.  Yippy! 

Happy Friday all!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My day so far...

Happy Thursday.  I can't belive it is Thursday already.  I love short weeks...

This morning I got up at 5:20 a.m. - 10 minutes before the alarm!  The sun was shining in the window.  I love spring!  First thing this morning I did the Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout.  Then I ate breakfast.  I wasn't sure what I wanted for breakfast today, so I took the easy route and poured myself a bowl of Mom's Best Natural Toasted Wheat-fulls with skim milk and ate a banana.  After breakfast I did a Cindy Whitmarsh Incredible Abs video, hit the shower, and got ready for work.  While I was getting ready, I noshed on some raw organic sunflower seeds - mmmmm. 

I left for work at 7:30 (oops, I was a little late for work).  For a mid-morning snack, I had some Harvarti cheese and a bowl of cooked yellow and orange carrots from TJs. 

Lunch today was a concoction (I love my little concoctions) of steamed broccoli and broccoli sprouts, ground turkey, cooked bulgur, and crushed red pepper flakes.  I always have to finish off with something sweet, so I had a bowl of TJs frozen very cherry blend mixed berries - dethawed.

I am headed off for a little break from work, but when I get back I will have some celery and string cheese - my usual afternoon carb/protein snack, and some grapefruit. 

I am volunteering at the food shelf tonight so I packed my lunch.  In the lunch bag is a grilled boneless skinless chicken breast leftover from last night, cooked green split peas, and mashed cauliflower.  I will mix that all together, heat it up, add some lime juice, and some Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning.  Not sure what is on the menu for dessert tonight.  I am thinking maybe some dark chocolate covered almonds?  Oh yum!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lazy Way Chicken Tacos

I am feeling extremely lazy this chilly Friday, and I didn't really have any plans for dinner, so I just threw an 8 ounce chicken breast in the slow cooker this morning, covered it with 2 ounces chopped green chiles, a quarter cup of water, and a tablespoon of my homemade taco seasoning:

1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
and a few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes

Stir it up, and store it in an airtight container.  Three tablespoons equals one packet of store-bought taco seasoning.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

You are what you eat...

I have been absolutely OBSESSED with nuts lately: almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts...  I have always been madly in love with almond butter.  I love almond butter from Whole Foods, the local co-op, or Trader Joe's, but it gets to be expensive (especially when you go through a jar in two days like I do!).  So I have been making my own using my food processor.  It is so simple, just dump raw almonds in the processor, put the top on, and turn the machine on.  It does take about 15 minutes.  At first you will get almond dust.  Just scrape down the sides occassionally, and keep at it.  It will eventually turn to a paste, and then a delicious bowl of yummy, creamy almond butter.  Store it in the refrigerator or freezer.  If you prefer your almonds roasted, you can roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.  I have heard controversy on whether roasting nuts removes vital nutrients so I tend to stay away from roasting, or I will roast them at a low temperature (150 degrees for about 20 minutes). 

I haven't yet tried to make my own pecan butter or walnut butter, but that is my next feat.

Question: what is your favorite nut?  Mine is definitely almonds, but runners up are pecans and walnuts.

Slow Cooker Oatmeal

I went to my local coop the other day (obsessed with that store) and bought some organic steel-cut oats from the bulk bins for a recipe I have been dying to try with my slow cooker.  So, into my 1.5 quart slow cooker went 1/2 cup steel-cut oats and two cups of water.  I switched the cooker onto low and let it work its magic overnight.  I woke up Wednesday morning to lovely warm oatmeal in my slow cooker!  I dumped my oats into a bowl and stirred into chopped apple and cinnamon dusted walnut pieces.  OH YUM!  Tasted like a delicious warm bowl of apple pie!  I loved the crunch that the walnuts added.  I am totally running down to the co-op tonight and loading up on steel-cut oats.  This was the first time I tried steel-cut oats.  I am usually an oat bran girl.  I was always afraid of the cooking time needed for the oats, but with the slow cooker, it was so easy!  I didn't have to hover over the stove for 45 minutes waiting for my breakfast in the morning.  Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE my oat bran though.  I will have to switch it up a few times a week so I can get my fix of both.

My New Obsession: the slow cooker

My slow cookers have gotten a lot of use over the past week.  On Monday, I made a rotisserie chicken and baked potatoes in my 6-quart slow cooker.  I simply scrubbed and forked two baking potatoes, wrapped them in tinfoil and put them in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Then, after rinsing and drying a 3-pound bird (I also removed the skin to make it healthier), I seasoned it up with some olive oil, garlic powder, and paprika, and placed it in the cooker breast side down on top of the potatoes.  I switched the cooker on low, put the lid on, and headed off to work.  When I got home, the house smelled amazing and there was a perfectly cooked dinner waiting for me. 

After pulling the chicken from the bones, I put the bones back into the juices that had accumulated, put the lid back on the cooker, and let it work its magic making a homemade chicken broth.  The next morning, I dumped the crock pot out over a bowl covered with a splatter screen to separate the bones from the broth, discarded the bones, and refrigerated the broth. 

Last night I used the homemade broth to make chicken soup for two:

3 cups broth
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, cut into pieces
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup leftover rotisserie chicken
4 ounces dried egg noodles
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Bring the broth and bay leaf to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the carrot and celery and simmer until veggies are tender (about 5 - 8 minutes).  Add noodles and cook until al dente.  Stir in chicken until heated through.  Add parsley, pour into bowls, and salt and pepper to taste.  Easy, comforting, and delicious!  I served with toasted baguettes from Trader Joe's.

For dessert, I made homemade Thin Mint Cookies (it's Girl Scout Cookie Time, and I don't eat anything with hydrogenated oils, so I prefer to make my own):

For cookies:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon mint extract

For coating:
8 (1 ounce) semi-sweet baking squares, chopped
1 teaspoon mint extract

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Set aside. 
Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl until fluffy.  Beat in sugar until mixed well. 
Beat in egg and mint extract.
Add flour mixture by halves into the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. 
Divide dough in half.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into two 1 1/2 inch diameter cylinders.  Wrap each cylinder in waxed paper and freeze for an hour and a half to two hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove one cylinder at a time from the freezer, and slize 1/4 inch thick pieces with a sharp knive (or cheese slicer).  Place on cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Stir in mint extract.  Dip cooled cookies into the chocolate and place on wire racks.  Let cool and harden completely.  These should be stored in the refrigerator. 

I accidentally had six of them when I planned on only one (I had to eat all the ones that weren't perfect circles!)