Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Yeah for date night! Hubby and I went to my favorite restaurant last night: Firenze. Yeah for half price bottle of wine night!

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Yeah for my favorite salad: Chopped Caesar Salad:

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And Yeah for a delicious big bowl of pasta:

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This one was fettuccini, mushrooms and peas in a tomato sauce with a touch of cream. Delish!

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Breakfast this morning was a low fat waffle with almond butter and some cantaloupe:

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After taking the kids to school, I dropped my car off to get a DVD player put in. I had one in my old car and the kids ask me every day when they get to watch movies again.

Then it was off to spin class….what a great workout! I came to class kind of tired but decided about 10 minutes into class to really give it my all. I’m glad I did!!

I came home to change and throw together a quick lunch. I reheated the last of the Trader Joes shells and added more peas and some black bean and corn salsa. It was a great combo!

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I ran some errands: Home Depot and Costco. I came home with only one unexpected item:

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LOTS of cheese. I’ve been in the mood for cheese lately and don’t have actual slices of cheese. I immediately made a cheese sandwich for a snack:

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Fabulous! I ate it on the way to pick up the kids. Ok, it’s just about time to get dinner started…..I’m using the rest of the Thanksgiving turkey tonight. Stay tuned….

What has been the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

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Monday, November 29, 2010


Happy Cyber Monday! Did anyone take advantage of the shopping deals? I took a look around and really didn’t see anything that I wanted….well, except for one Athleta order. :)

Dinner last night was more of the wonderful Turkey Chili:

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And equally fabulous cornbread:

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This morning I had a light wheat English muffin with Barney Butter and a side of strawberries:

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Hubby took the kids to school this morning on his way to work so I got some work done. I went to Cardio Muscle class and came home for lunch. I had my first leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich:

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I also had a little leftover pea soup and some of the creamed corn from Thanksgiving.

I picked up my daughter from school, came home for a bit and decided to have another turkey sandwich:

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I can’t believe how good that turkey is! Maybe another sandwich tomorrow?

I picked up my son from school and came home to bake cookies:

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My favorite chocolate chip cookies. I’m also whipping up a batch of chocolate ice cream. My son loves chocolate ice cream and has been asking for it since I made the vanilla ice cream for Thanksgiving. I had just enough whipping cream and whole milk left. We’ll see how it turns out. :)

Hubby and I are having a little date night tonight for dinner. :)

Did you participate in Cyber Monday? Any good scores?

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

138.8…yesterday; Crazy Tailgate Time!

What a game last night! USC vs Notre Dame. Too bad USC lost and I got drenched watching them loose. Oh well….there’s always next year!

Friday night I made chili using the leftover Thanksgiving turkey:

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The chili was awesome!! I topped it with sour cream and red onions. Here’s the recipe:

Turkey Chili

2 cups chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 cup chopped bell peppers (I used red and orange because that’s what I had)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 can Rotel

2 (15 oz ) cans beans of your choice (I had black beans and pinto beans on hand)

2 Tbsp tomato paste

3/4 chicken stock

2-4 Tbsp chili powder depending how hot you like it

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp dried red pepper flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp salt, plus more if desired to taste

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 to 4 cups of shredded, cooked turkey meat



1. In a large, 8 quart, thick-bottom pot, add the olive oil and cook the onion and bell pepper  over medium high heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for a minute or two more.

2. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, stock, beans, oregano, salt, pepper and cooked turkey meat. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for an hour.

YUM! I made an awesome cornbread to go with it:

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I used this recipe that I loved before  but this time I added some chopped pickled jalapenos, cheddar cheese and some of the leftover creamed corn from Thanksgiving. Best cornbread ever!!

After dinner we took the kids over to our friends house for dessert. I brought the rest of my apple pecan bars and homemade vanilla ice cream. They were a big hit!

Saturday morning I made another breakfast burrito. This time I added pickled jalapenos and some bean and corn salsa to the eggs. Genius!

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Then it was time for hubby and I to hit the road for Los Angeles and my brother’s tailgate. You see, I went to USC and he went to Notre Dame. Big family rivalry!!

My brother’s wife and I:

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The hubby and I:

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We noticed that there was a huge empty picture frame. Once we found out what it was for we took full advantage of it.

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You can frame yourselves!  Who thinks of this stuff!?!

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I guess I was feeling creative!

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Some guy smashed a watermelon on his head:

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Who does that stuff!?! :)

After deciding that the music they were playing stunk, I offered my DJ services with my iphone.

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I think I missed my calling. I had the crowd going for awhile until the music player device died. Oh well. There’s always next time!

I didn’t snap any food pics. I had two cheeseburgers over the course of the tailgate. By the time it was half time during the game, I needed food. I bought the most delicious turkey dog loaded with sauteed onions and peppers! Twas so delicious!!

What a night!

We woke up this morning, checked out of our hotel, grabbed some Starbucks and went home. What a crazy 24 hours!

Before we got home, we picked up some lunch to go from Milton's. I ordered their chopped salad:

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Yes I ate the entire thing! :)

I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday!

Do you have a favorite chili recipe? Care to share?

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Friday, November 26, 2010

139.0 yesterday, 138.8 today

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! I know I did.

Wednesday night before going to bed I put the turkey in brining bag with the brine:

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Then it was off to bed!

Thursday morning I woke up, got dressed and the cooking began! Somewhere in all of it, I managed to toast some bread and put some peanut butter on it for breakfast:

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I took the turkey out of the brine, washed it and filled it with aromatics:

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Make the apple pecan bars:

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The pumpkin pie:

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Everyone started to arrive at that point.  I set out a bunch of appetizers: hummus, pita chips and carrots; mini pigs in a blanket, chips and onion dip as well as one of the best dips I’ve ever made. I call it taco dip and I served it with tortilla chips. You put a block of cream cheese, a block of Velveeta, 2 cups of black bean and corn salsa and a packet of taco seasoning in the slow cooker and turn it on low for 3 hours. Magical. :)

After a whole look of cooking, the dinner came together. My rolls:

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These were from the Thanksgiving issue of Food Network magazine. I found them to be way to doughy and biscuit like. But some of my guests like them. :)

Everything was ready! The mashed potatoes, peas, stuffing, gravy and the creamed corn:

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The turkey was carved by me (I really need practice with this, it was kind of a mess):

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My plate:

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Everything was awesome! I loved the brined turkey!!! Yeah! I will do it next year for sure!

I had a little bit of everything for dessert: apple pecan bar with my homemade vanilla bean ice cream and pumpkin pie with freshly whipped cream:

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I had such a nice Thanksgiving! I loved how organized I was….I was able to spend time with family and get the meal on the table. I got most everything cleaned up and went to bed.

This morning I finished the cleaning up and made breakfast:

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You’ve seen it before: an egg beater burrito with salsa and shredded cheddar cheese.

I started the laundry and then went to Cardio Muscle class for a sweaty workout. When I came home I was hungry for lunch. I reheated some of the white shells and tuna pasta that I made Wednesday night:

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Then I started a major project: removing all the baby locks from all my kitchen/laundry room cabinets and removing all the electrical outlet plug covers. I’ve been at it for awhile and my knuckles are all bloody. Yuck. But this needs to be done…my kids are 5 and almost 4. Geez.

I need to get back it. I’ll be glad when this is done!!!

I plan on using up a ton of leftovers in tonight’s dinner. I’m excited! Oh….I’ve been munching on the “doughy” rolls today. They actually taste better today!

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Did you brave the crowds to shop today?

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

139.8…Thanksgiving Prep

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!!!

Breakfast was egg whites, swiss cheese,  and salsa all wrapped up in a wheat tortilla:

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I took my son to school (my daughter didn’t have school) and went to Zumba.  I came home to change and start getting things organized for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

After a bit, I broke for lunch. I heated up the rest of the spaghetti and meatballs from last night’s dinner:

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My husband picked up my son from school and came home to pick up my daughter to take them to Palm Springs for the night. They went to visit some friends and to give mommy some “time off” so she could cook. :)

I immediately broke out the ice cream maker for some homemade vanilla ice cream:

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All ingredients went in and whirled around for about 30 minutes before I put it in the freezer. That reminds me…I need to go taste that ice cream!

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I got some more stuff ready including the turkey. I washed it and put it in a brining bag that I bought from Williams Sonoma:

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Before I go to bed tonight, I’ll put the brine in.

As the sun was going down, I broke out some wine. I mean….I’m all alone tonight…I should celebrate right? Check out my already set Thanksgiving table:

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Then this happened:

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Gift wrapping!! I got all my to-do’s done early, so I wrapped the gifts I had already bought. Nice!

Next up: dinner. I made some Trader Joe’s White Cheddar Shells and added Italian diced tomatoes, cooked peas and a can of tuna:

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I got the idea from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and it’s pretty good! Of course I added hot sauce because that’s how I roll. :)

Ok folks, I gotta get the kitchen cleaned up and the brine on the turkey and go to bed!

What dish do you most look forward to on Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Champagne and Desserts Oh My!!! Oh well….I guess that’s what the holidays are all about right? :)

Yesterday morning at the hotel, I went to the club room for breakfast and to catch up on blogging. Hubby had a meeting so I got to relax for a little while. I had a small bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomatoes and onions as well as some pineapple, salami and cheese. They made me a delicious nonfat vanilla latte as well!

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I went back  for some yogurt with granola and berries:

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When they asked me if I wanted some champagne, how could I say no?

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I packed up and we left the hotel. On the way back to San Diego, we stopped at The Cheesecake Factory in Irvine for lunch. Hubby and I split the Spinach Artichoke Dip:

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I order the Santa Fe salad:

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I also had some of their fabulous brown bread! Love that bread!

We got home just in time to change and then pick up our friends and then we were off to the Charger Monday Night Football game!

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I ate some nachos and a slice of cheese pizza along with a glass (plastic cup) of wine. The Chargers won….what a great game!!

This morning’s breakfast was Fage yogurt with Fiber One cereal and strawberries:

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I took the kids to school and then it was off to Great News for a cooking class. Today’s class was entitled: Holiday Appetizers.

There were three appetizers on the first plate:

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The two at the top were Chipotle Shrimp, Corn and Red Pepper Cheese in Tortilla Cups. These were awesome! The filling would be great as a dip!

The two on the right were Water Chestnuts Wrapped in Bacon Baked in Sweet Sour BBQ Sauce. Anything wrapped in bacon is good….even water chestnuts which I’m not a fan of.

The two on the left were Blue Cheese Shortbreads Topped with Chutney Cream Cheese and Candied Walnuts. These were off the hook! LOVE!

The next recipe was Monte Cristo Feuillette (ham, turkey, gruyere layered in puff pastry):

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Love this! I make a very similar Barefoot Contessa recipe that everyone loves. I think the only difference is that this recipe had turkey where the other does not. I liked the addition of turkey!

The next plate has two recipes:

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The one on the top/left was Brie Topped Toasts with Red Grape Balsamic Salsa. I didn’t think I’d like this one because of the grapes but I was wrong….it was delicious! The other recipe was my favorite: Cheese Wreath with Bacon and Smoked Almonds. The instructor shaped the cheese part in a wreath on a plate and topped it heavily with parsley and roasted red peppers in the shape of a bow so the whole thing looked like a Christmas wreath. Not only was the presentation beautiful but it tasted just as good as it looked if not better!

After class, I picked up the kids from school, did the last of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping and came home.

I just finished making my brine for the Thanksgiving turkey. I’m doing Alton Brown’s Roasted Turkey this year and I’m excited about it! Have you ever tried it?

Have you ever brined a turkey before? This is my first time brining a turkey although I have brined a chicken before.