Monday, April 30, 2012

Sour Cherry Chiller

Oy, I just realized I used the same background as Friday's breakfast muffin post.  Oh, well.  Forgive me.  I have stress.

I know Monday morning is probably not the best time to post a cocktail recipe, but I have my reasons.

You know how April 15th is like the busiest day for accountants doing personal tax returns?

Well, today is our April 15th.  It's nothing related to taxes, it's just a deadline for a program that we do in our office and it's like trying to do a week's worth (or more) of work in one day.

So things are about to get heavy over here.

I know this cocktail will be in my immediate future to decompress from this day.

But you don't really need an excuse like mine to enjoy this super easy drink.  A warm and sunny spring day by the pool would do just fine ;)

Sour Cherry Chiller
serves 1

2 shots of rum (4 oz)
handful of frozen cherries
juice from 1 lime
diet lemon lime soda

I used a pint mason jar and attached it to my blender (here's a how to).  Put in your mason jar lime juice, rum, frozen cherries and a couple cubes of ice, top with lemon lime soda & blend until smooth.
I garnished mine with a cocktail cherry from the fridge.

Seriously awesome.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Healthy Butterscotch Breakfast Muffins

I've just recently discovered that I love love love butterscotch!  Not like old lady hard candy butterscotch, but butterscotch chips and butterscotch pudding.  Seriously awesome.  I even squeezed some butterscotch chips in my quesadilla (which sounds weird, but weirdly worked).
Remember the butterscotch breakfast bread that I teased you with a few weeks ago?
Well, I finally got around to making another batch so I could share the recipe.
This time, though, I made them into muffins and I think they turned out even better!

Butterscotch Breakfast Muffins
makes 7 muffins or 1 loaf 

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 of a ripe banana
1-2 egg whites (I just used 1)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 small box of sugar free, fat free butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp almond milk
butterscotch chips for the top, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line muffin pan with liners.
Throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with hand mixer (or spoon, whatever) until incorporated.
Using an ice cream scooper, fill the muffin liners about 2/3 or more full.  Top with butterscotch chips, if desired.
Bake for 35 minutes (an hour if using a loaf pan).

I don't want to get into the business of calorie counting and being held accountable for that sort of thing, but I plugged these into the Spark People recipe calculator, and without the butterscotch chips, they were approximately 150 calories per muffin.

If you don't like butterscotch flavor (which is not too powerful here), try a different pudding flavor & let me know how it goes!

I cut the sugar from last time, so they are not so super sweet, but if you want to add more sugar, maybe another 2-4 tbsp would do the trick.
They are really moist and super filling.
Also, I'd recommend smearing them with almond butter.

Happy Friday, all!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIAW: Beans Before 5 A.M.

Wow, it's Wednesday already!  You know what that means ;)

What I Ate Wednesday!!!  I know you are excited.

Peas and Crayons
This challenge comes from Peas and Crayons blog.

Breakfast Part #1: PBJ Wasa & Espresso Beans

I didn't feel like eating much before 5 a.m. bootcamp this morning, so I smeared some reduced fat peanut butter & fruit with fiber grape jelly on a Wasa cracker.  I also ate 3 chocolate covered espresso beans, because I figured it couldn't hurt to have some caffeine in me.

Breakfast Part #2: Green Smoothie, Coffee
This morning totally flew by and before I knew it, it was time to rush out the door.  So I made a quick smoothie and coffee to go (check my new french press, ya'll).  Smoothie contained: 3 handfuls of fresh spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, some random strawberries, pineapples and grapes that I had thrown in the freezer a while back, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder and some almond milk.  It tasted like health.  Well, not really.  It tasted like a vanilla milkshake.

Mid Morning Snack: Cereal & Fruit 
Man, I was ready for this snack today.  I had 1/2 cup of Fiber Plus caramel crunch cereal and some fruit leftover from my Edible Arrangement:
So fresh and lovely :)

 Lunch: Panera
Gosh, could you tell I was hungry?  I started to dig in and then realized I forgot to snap a picture!  I had their Mediterranean Veggie sandwich on the whole grain loaf and a pickle.  I put the apple in my purse for later.
FYI-that Splenda was for my giant, unsweetened tea.
Here's what the inside of the sandwich looks like~yum!
Then back to the office for lots of kisses.  Ok, just 2 Hershey's coconut creme kisses:

Afternoon Snack: Carrots & Hummus

Hummus returns!  Well, this is actually the hummus I was eating 2 weeks ago.  Does hummus go bad?  Hm, it still tastes good, so whatever.  I just dipped a few baby carrots in there to get me through 'til dinner.

Dinner: Giant Sweet Potato, Black Bean Salad
 On my menu, I had planned to make black bean, sweet potato burritos, but wanted to amp up the veggies so I made it a giant salad & added some goat cheese & roasted veggies.

Veggie challenge: dominated.

Dessert: Ben & Jerry's Greek Yogurt

Despite how expensive this stuff is, I had to try it.  I got the blueberry graham flavor and thought it tasted pretty good.  If they wanted to make it better, they should lower the fat/calories and add more graham cracker swirl, because it is incredible.  I probably won't buy it again, but it was good to give it a try.

If you missed my previous WIAW posts, here they are:

If you have a blog (or even if you don't), I'd suggest taking pictures of your food.  It definitely keeps you in check (more so than just writing it down).

Oh, guess what?
I posted another Hungry Monster original recipe at Endless Simmer this week.  

Need a teaser?
There you go check it out!  Smackaroons: Coconut Crème Kiss Filled Macaroons

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Big 3-0

It was my original plan to let my 30th go unmentioned.  I decided I was just going to pretend it wasn’t happening.  Well, people kept reminding me, so I guess I’ll just embrace it.

I’m thirty now, folks (and I don’t want anyone to call it “dirty 30,” because that is really weird and sometimes creepy).

As I’m sure you know, I love to read blogs.  A lot of blogs have lists of 30 things they want to do before they are 30.  That’s pretty ambitious if you ask me.  I suppose I could come up with 30, but I don’t want to make a list I can’t finish.

So, of course, I started panicking, thinking I needed to accomplish at least one life goal in the last days of my 20’s. That’s just silly.  Even though I’m not where I thought I’d be at age 12, doesn’t mean that I haven’t accomplished a lot already: I got married, bought a house, started a blog, graduated college and perfected the art of iced coffee. 

There are some things I have learned in my 30 years on planet Earth that I wish I knew when I was younger, and I thought I’d share them with you:

Be yourself
It is totally okay if people don’t like you.  It has taken me all of my 30 years to get to that realization.  Do what you love to do, even if other people think it is weird or whatever.  Do not try and adapt your tastes to other people, adopting their interests as your own.  It’s cool to learn and try new things that friends like, but do not change yourself for them.  And seriously, do not dumb yourself down.  Be smart, speak eloquently and love who you are.

Empower yourself
Don’t wait around for someone to do it for you.  Yes, it is important to have a support system, but you have to believe in yourself.  This one is tough, but what I basically mean is set a goal and try to meet it.  If you want to be a trapeze artist, start making a plan.  Research trapeze artists, find out the necessary steps, start training, etc.  Don’t get discouraged when things go wrong.  Keep going.  You are stronger than you think you are, and you create your own destiny.

Take care of yourself (health wise)
Put good foods in your body and be as active as you can be.  Yes, cake is awesome and lounging on the couch rocks, but that stuff is fleeting.  This is the only body you get, so you better take care of it.  I wish I had realized this earlier in life, as I was kind of a lazy kid and teenager.  I was the kid who sat on the sidelines while other kids were active (Did anyone else bring notes to be excused from gym class or was that just me?).  So, even though working out sucks some days and salad is so not what you are in the mood for, remember it is all for the greater good.  And, of course, some days are made for cake, so don’t completely deprive yourself of indulgences (in moderation):

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Lightened Up Reuben

I love me some grilled sandwiches.  I will make a grilled cheese out of anything (even a Sloppy Joe!).

But, the idea of sauerkraut always kind of freaked me out.  I know it is cabbage, but it makes me think it is going to be sour and ruin my sandwich.

Then something happened.  I got brave.  And bought the tiniest can of sauerkraut I could find (ok, not that brave).

And I totally tested it before putting it on this sandwich.

Sometimes fears and hesitations are just silly and irrational.

Because sauerkraut is kind of an awesome condiment (words I never thought I'd utter). 

I hear that Reuben sandwiches have a reputation for being big, fatty sandwiches that are terrible for you.

But this one is not.  And it is really good!  You should try it.

Light Reuben Grilled Sandwich
serves 1

2 slices rye bread (I used seedless Jewish rye)
2 tsp. fat-free Thousand Island dressing
2 tbsp. sauerkraut, drained 
1 slice reduced fat Swiss cheese
2-3 slices thinly sliced turkey breast
1-2 slices lean corned beef 
2 tsp. light butter spread 

Lay bread slices flat and spread with dressing. Top one slice with sauerkraut, cheese, turkey, and corned beef. Top with the other bread slice, dressing side down. Spread the top of the sandwich with 1 tsp. butter.

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Place sandwich in the skillet, buttered side down. Spread the top with remaining 1 tsp. butter.

Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side, pressing down with a spatula to seal. Enjoy! 

recipe from Hungry Girl

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday & Some News

It's time for another installment of What I Ate Wednesday~Veggie Edition ;)
If you missed last week's post, here it is: WIAW #1

Peas and Crayons
This challenge comes from Peas and Crayons blog.

Breakfast Part #1: Butterscotch Breakfast Bread
I had a piece of whole wheat butterscotch breakfast bread with a smear of almond butter before 5 a.m. bootcamp (which totally kicked my butt today, by the way). This is a little recipe I came up with last week.  It's almost perfect.  I think I'll have to share it with you soon!  Baby the Cat photo bombed my breakfast pic again this week ;)

 Breakfast Part #2: Veggie Omelet, Bacon, Iced Coffee
Gotta get my protein on after all that strength training & cardio.  I know this omelet looks messy, but it was quite yummy.  I sauteed about a cup (or more) of fresh spinach until in cooked down, threw some diced tomatoes on top, then added a sprinkle shredded Parmesan and 1 egg and 1 egg white.  I also had 2 pieces of microwave bacon.  Oh, and iced coffee of course.  I brewed up some of Dunkin Donuts strawberry shortcake coffee (sounds gross, but makes a great iced coffee) and let it cool, then added ice, Equal and almond milk.  Drinking from mason jars is classy, in case you didn't know.

Mid-Morning Snack: Banana
After talking on the banana phone, I peeled and ate this fruit for a snack.  Yes, I am crazy for posting this pic on the internet.  Take me as I am, ya'll.
Oh, and please note that this is the first time in a while I haven't worn work out clothes to the office.  Just sayin'.

 Lunch: Salad with Veggies & Protein
After running some errands at lunch, I was back at the office to eat my salad.  This bowl contains romaine lettuce, matchstick carrots, diced tomato, sliced cucumber and a leftover piece of stuffed chicken (stuffed with cheese wedge, ham and spinach) from last night.  No hummus dressing today.  I finished the last of the Caesar dressing.

You know how some days you just crave a salad?  Today was not that day for me.  The salad was good, but I felt sort of eh about it.  I did manage to shove all those veggies in my face, despite my ambivalence. 

Oh, after lunch I needed some black tea and dark chocolate eggs.  It was a need, people.
Yes, I had two.  Don't judge.  I had to keep up my strength for all the paper shuffling ahead of me (note: everyday I'm shuffling).

Dinner: Quinoa, Smoked Salmon, Brussels
Things were kind of crazy busy this afternoon, and I did not have time for a snack.  Needless to say, by the time dinner rolled around I was star-ving.  A true hungry monster ;)  Luckily, dinner came together in about 20 minutes.  I cooked some quinoa in the rice cooker, roasted some brussels sprouts, then tossed in some smoked salmon and goat cheese.  Super healthy and yummy in my tummy!

Dessert: Giant Frozen Oreo
Ok, not really.  It's a chocolate graham cracker with fat free cool whip that I tossed in the freezer about 2 hours before consuming.  It seriously tasted like a giant frozen Oreo, though.

Now that I've bombarded you with my day of eating, I thought I'd let you know that I am now a contributing  writer at a totally awesome food blog called Endless Simmer.

They will be featuring some of my original recipes each week.  Check out my first post here:

Sweet Potato, Butterscotch, Bacon and Goat Cheese Quesadilla (not a typo!).

Also, I fixed the comments on the blog by randomly clicking stuff (that's also how I play video games), so I can now respond to comments!  Hooray :)

Have a nice rest of the week!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Homemade Naan Bread

Are you familiar with naan bread?  I hadn't actually tried it until recently.  It's like a soft, pita or flatbread that is great for making personal pizzas.  My mom calls it nana bread, which is super wrong and makes me think of bananas.  So, just so we are clear, bananas are not involved here.

I've been buying naan in the bakery section at the grocery, but I thought I'd try my hand at making it.

And you know what?  It was super easy!

Homemade Naan Bread
makes 6 pieces

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c.wheat flour
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. greek yogurt
1/2 c. milk, warmed (I used almond milk)
melted butter (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Pour in oil and yogurt. Lightly mix. Add in warmed milk and mix until dough comes together.
Knead for 7 minutes, adding a bit of flour if necessary. Set aside and allow dough to rest for 2 hours.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. On a well floured surface roll out dough to desired thickness.  Mine was pretty thin.

Heat a large stainless steel pan on medium-high heat. Lightly brush water on one side of the naan. Spray pan lightly with non-stick spray. Place water side down in the pan and cover with lid immediately. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Naan will begin to bubble. Flip and cook the other side, about 1 minutes.

Remove from the pan.

Brush with butter if you wish. Serve warm.

adapted from The Faux Martha

Isn't it awesome looking?  I love it :)

I used mine to make a pizza with some thinly sliced brussels sprouts, bacon, fresh corn and cheese.
Or it is really great torn into pieces and dipped in hummus or as a fancy sandwich~so many possibilities!
Happy Monday, people!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Healthy, Cheesy Veggie Baked Penne

It's true that this dish may not photograph well, but definitely don't judge a book by it's-hastily photographed, in a hurry to eat-cover.

I jam packed this pasta with 2 sheet pans of veggies.  I kid you not.

It's deliciousness is threefold.  1-pasta, no words needed.  Pasta is where it's at.  2-cheese.  Come on, you know cheese makes everything better.  And 3-a gazillion servings of veggies.  Necessary for a healthy lifestyle, but can be made to be more delicious by roasting and combining with pasta and cheese.

I actually like veggies on their own, but if you know someone who doesn't this dish may convert them.

Healthy, Cheesy Veggie Baked Penne
serves 8 

1 bunch of asparagus
container of mushrooms
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
2 handfuls fresh spinach
15 oz box of whole wheat penne
1 8 oz container of part skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella
spray oil
garlic salt
olive oil

Wash and cut asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini and squash.  Toss in olive oil, season with salt and garlic salt and roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Boil your pasta until al dente and drain.
Toss your cooked veggies in a bowl, add in the ricotta and parmesan.  Put the spinach on the top of the heap and pour in the hot pasta.  Mix it all together and season with salt.
Pour into a greased 9x13 dish and top with mozzarella.
Bake for 20 minutes covered loosely with aluminum foil and for 6-7 minutes uncovered.

Forgive my dirty looking fork.  It's dirty with this pasta, only, I assure you.

Oh, on a completely unrelated note, I wanted to talk for a second about comments.  I love comments on the blog!  Whenever I see a comment, I'm like, "I love that person; they are the greatest."  But for some reason I'm unable to respond.  I don't know why, but in certain blogger formats, my comments don't post.  It's kind of frustrating, but I will figure it out.  Please don't let that discourage you from commenting or you can always email me at myrtle918_at_yahoo_dot_com or give me a comment on Facebook.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Peas and Crayons
Are you nosy?  I am about some things.  There are some blogs where the feature "what's in your bag" posts.  I'm not usually interested in those, though.  I don't care about make up or electronic devices.

What I am nosy about is what's in your lunch bag.  I love reading blogs that participate in the What I Ate Wednesday Challenge.  This challenge comes from Peas and Crayons, which is a great blog!

I've never photographed my daily food intake, but I've written down my foods.  So, let's see how this goes.

These are actually the things I ate Tuesday (yesterday), in case you are wondering.

Breakfast, Part 1: Luna Bar before 5 a.m. boot camp
This is one of my favorite Luna flavors.  It tastes like a Mounds candy bar!  It used to make me ill to eat so early, but I know my brain and body needs the fuel to do my best at boot camp!  There's Baby the Cat in the background ;)

Breakfast, Part 2: Iced Coffee & Green Monster Protein Shake
I made my coffee super duper strong the night before and added some sugar free caramel syrup, almond milk and ice.  My disgusting looking (but not tasting) shake contains: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup almond milk and 3 handfuls of spinach (yay, veggies!).

 Mid Morning Snack: Wasa crackers & cheese
These are the light rye Wasa crisp bread crackers that I smeared with a light Swiss cheese wedge.

Lunch: Salad with veggies, protein and hummus 
I love a giant salad with tons of toppings!  This salad contains: 2 handfuls spring mix lettuce, 1 handful arugula, shredded carrots, goat cheese, 1/2 cup of leftover chicken sausage veggie hash and 1/4 cup of black beans.  For dressing, I used this spicy hummus.  It rocked my world.
I also had a diet citrus green tea (seen in the background) & a lovely square of dark chocolate: 

Afternoon Snack: Cucumber spears and hummus
Yes, hummus makes another appearance, today ;)  I noshed on these cuke sticks and some red pepper hummus before heading out to walk the dogs.

Dinner: Burger, sweet potato wedges & veggies
This is actually a meat less burger on a 100 calorie wheat bagel thin with tomato, lettuce & goat cheese.  It's a new brand (below).  I had a coupon.  It was alright.  Nothing to write home about.  I also made some awesome sweet potato wedges and some roasted veggies.

 Dessert: Fudgesicle
This is one of the new TCBY 80 calorie fudgesicles & it was pretty darn good.

Alright, so there you have it.  Hope you enjoyed this peek into my daily food consumption :)