Wednesday, February 29, 2012

138.6…Using It Up

I get this strange high from using stuff up. Whether it be beauty products or food items, I get a great satisfaction from using the last of something and throwing the empty packaging away.

The funny thing is that one of my best pals, Lisa, wrote about the very same thing on her blog the other day! It got me thinking about the weird things that make people happy. I didn’t know that Lisa and I share a very strange quirk! :)

Before my surgery, I stockpiled a bunch of leftovers in the freezer for future meals. Instead of making new recipes and buying a whole bunch of food, I decided I need to try and use up what I have.  

Case in point: dinner last night. I pulled out my leftovers of Skillet Chili Mac with Corn and reheated it.

February 2012 188

Not as fabulous as the fresh version but delicious nonetheless. And the best part was all I had to do was throw it in the microwave. Voila! Dinner was done!

This morning I saw that I had about a bowl’s worth of Special K Fruit & Yogurt cereal so I knew that would be breakfast! Another empty box in the trash! Paired with almond milk and strawberries it was a great breakfast.

February 2012 189

I took the kids to school, went to the gym for a walk on the treadmill with some friends and came home. Lunch was a delicious tuna salad sandwich and a big salad on the side. I dressed it with one of my favorite bottled salad dressings: Girard’s Light Champagne Vinaigrette.

February 2012 190

Nothing too exciting on the rest of the day’s agenda. Just the normal school pick-ups and homework. But dinner…that’s another story….we are going to Souplantation and I’m excited! All this eating at home trying to “use stuff up” has me wanting a break! :)

Do you try to use up what you have in your pantry/freezer/fridge on a regular basis?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

138.4…Indian Cuisine with Ease

I picked up something quick for dinner when I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday: BBQ Chicken Pizza.

February 2012 185

This probably my husband’s favorite kind of pizza. Me…not so much. I guess I was in a giving mood while at the store.

When I took the pizza out of the box, I was a bit shocked to see how small it was. My husband could easily eat the entire thing by himself. Still in a giving mood, I decided to eat a third of it and give the rest to him. I made it work by making a huge salad full of good stuff: chopped romaine, black beans, corn, shredded carrots, tomatoes and red onion all tossed with ranch dressing.

February 2012 186

The pizza was actually pretty darn good. Crispy and just the right amount of barbeque sauce for me. My husband ended up dipping his in some more sauce but he enjoyed it as well.

This morning’s breakfast was Fage yogurt with Trader Joe’s High Fiber cereal and strawberries.

February 2012 187

I took the kids to school, attended a meeting at the school and then went over to Great News for a cooking class.

Today’s class was taught by my favorite instructor, Phillis Carey and was entitled “Indian Cuisine with Ease”. Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines. I just love it!

The first plate had several recipes:

February 2012 183

Chicken Tikka with Masala Sauce (grilled tandoori marinated chicken cubes with Garam Masala spiced tomato sauce); Saag Paneer (creamy spinach with homemade paneer cheese); Banana Raita (yogurt with bananas and spices) and some store-bought Naan bread.

The Chicken Tikka Masala was delicious and perfectly comforting. I enjoyed the Saag Paneer with it and enjoyed learning how to make it. I think the next time I make my famous Indian Butter Chicken, I’ll make this to go with it. Now… the Raita would have been good without the bananas. I HATE bananas. Ugh. I’d make it with cucumbers. :)

The second plate of food also had a few different recipes:

February 2012 184

Pork Vindaloo (pork shoulder simmered in a vinegar spice sauce); Make-It-Yourself Mango Chutney, Basmati Rice and more of the Banana Raita.

The Pork Vindaloo was out of this world. I wanted a huge bowl of it. I didn’t touch the Raita but I did try the Mango Chutney. Now you know I don’t like “fruit with my food” but it did taste pretty good. I wouldn’t ever request it or probably make it but that’s just how I am. :)

After class, I ran some errands and picked up the kids from school. Tonight is another chill night at home. Love it!

What is your favorite Indian dish?

Do you make Indian food at home?

Monday, February 27, 2012

138.8…Back in the Saddle

When trying to figure out what to have for dinner last night,  I made an exciting discovery in my freezer. I found one last ramekin of my Ultimate Mac & Cheese. I don’t want to even admit how long it’s been in there. I don’t care….it still tasted fabulous.

February 2012 179

I added some broccoli and a bunch of Cholula hot sauce and enjoyed every bite while watching the Oscars. Did you watch them? Uh…what was up with Angelina Jolie’s leg?? She was so awkward the way she stood with it stinking out.  I couldn’t stop laughing….and then when that writer made fun of her….I was dying.

She also could use a cheeseburger. Just sayin’.

Breakfast this morning was a toasted waffle with peanut butter and a side of strawberries:

February 2012 180

I took my kids to school and ran some errands including a much needed trip to Trader Joe’s.

After I put all my groceries away, I did something I haven’t done in a couple of weeks. I got back in the saddle….or in other words…I worked out! Well….sort of. I met some friends at the gym and walked on the “revolving apparatus of death” (AKA the treadmill) for 45 minutes. The doctor cleared me for “brisk walks” now but I didn’t want to push it so I walked at 3.2 mph. While it felt slow, I still broke a tiny sweat and it felt good to get my body moving again!

Since I’ve been in food boredom lately at my house, I decided to pick up something new while I was at Trader Joe’s for lunch:

February 2012 181

Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala with Cumin Flavored Basmati Rice. It was easy to heat up in the microwave and I decided to add some peas to it to get some veggies in.

February 2012 182

Good thing I did…that was one small serving of food. I really enjoyed the taste though! The flavors were great! I would buy it again but definitely would add veggies or eat a salad with it.  I don’t normally eat frozen meals like that but sometimes it’s nice to have on hand for a quick meal.

Favorite dress at the Oscars?

Favorite frozen meal?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

139.2…Banana Bread

When I was heating up my leftover Beef Stroganoff last night, I was not excited. My Beef Stroganoff is one of my favorite meals ever but I discovered the other night that it does not freeze well. Well, last night it tasted great! I think I stirred it more this time? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, it tasted delicious!

February 2012 167

Breakfast this morning was extra delicious. I made a scramble using egg beaters, chopped ham, broccoli, green onions and shredded cheddar cheese.

February 2012 168

I had some bananas that were turning black so I decided to do something I haven’t done in awhile….bake! I made one of my favorite banana bread recipes!

February 2012 171

Banana Bread

Slightly adapted from For The Love Of Cooking

  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 /2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup very ripe bananas, mashed (I used 2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs together in a bowl. Combine the dry ingredients and mix well then slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Add the bananas, sour cream, stir well to combine. Pour into a 9x5x3 loaf pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

    Printable Recipe

    February 2012 170

    Lunch was comforting and filling: grilled cheese sandwich and roasted red pepper & tomato soup:

    February 2012 178

    I’m excited to watch the Oscars tonight...even though I have not seen a single one of the movies up for best picture. :)

    Have you seen any of the movies up for Best Picture at the Academy Awards tonight?

    Who do you think will win?

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    139.0…Friday Night at the OG

    I broke out of my boring food rut last night…sort of. My friend Lisa and I took our kids to Olive Garden last night for dinner.

    I owned the all-you-can-eat salad.

    February 2012 162

    I ate 4 big bowls full. I love their salad for whatever reason. I always think I should just eat the salad for dinner but always end up ordering something else and usually regret it later.

    Case in point: my Linguine alla Marinara (with whole wheat pasta):

    February 2012 163

    It was just ok. I always expect it to taste better but it lets me down a bit each time. I guess I just don’t learn. Another thing that I find strange about Olive Garden’s pasta: they cut the noodles so short! You cannot twirl them which makes them hard to eat. I actually asked the server about it and she didn’t know and said she wondered about the same thing. Maybe I need to go directly to the company and inquire what’s up with their short ass noodles.

    This morning I wanted cereal. Dulce de Leche Cheerios with almond milk plus a side of strawberries:

    February 2012 164

    I took my son to tennis lessons and came home for lunch.

    February 2012 165

    Ham & cheese sandwich, jalapeno Pop Chips and grapes.

    I took my son to boy scouts and spent the rest of the afternoon doing nothing. Well, there may have been some online shopping. :) All that “nothingness” worked up an appetite for a snack.

    February 2012 166

    Wheat Thins and a Babybel light cheese. 

    I need to pick my son up soon and make dinner. And that’s that for a Saturday night.

    Do you frequent Olive Garden? What’s your favorite thing to order?

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    139.6…I’m Bored

    As I was posting pictures of the food I’ve eaten in the last twenty four hours in this blog post, I realized how bored I’m getting with the things I’ve been eating. I really need to go to the grocery store and to start cooking again. Trying to figure out which leftovers to eat is getting old.

    I actually was excited about my dinner last night. The last time I made Beef Stroganoff, I froze the leftovers. This is the first time I had frozen this particular recipe. I never have any leftovers but this time I wanted to have leftovers for after my surgery.

    February 2012 158

    It didn’t freeze as well as I’d hoped. The consistency wasn’t the same. Even though it didn’t taste as good as it does fresh, it still tasted pretty good. The peas went with it pretty well.

    Last night I had the best sleep I’ve had in days. It was wonderful. I staggered downstairs this morning for some coffee and the simplest thing I could make for breakfast.

    February 2012 159

    Toast with butter and honey. Yup, boring.  A bit later I was still hungry so I had a couple of Mandarin oranges.

    February 2012 160

    I didn’t do much exciting after breakfast. I got dressed, started the laundry and worked on cleaning out my email.

    My lunch was boring: tuna salad with green onions and chopped up pickles.

    February 2012 161

    One exciting thing did happen today: I drove. Finally I can drive after my surgery. Freedom! :) I picked my daughter up at school…it was a big deal. :)

    Fortunately things will get more exciting tonight. My friend and I are taking our kids to Olive Garden for dinner. Oh, the crazy things I do!

    Any fun weekend plans?

    How do you get yourself out of food boredom?

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    139.6…I Survived

    Yesterday I did something I try to avoid at all costs. I went to Chuck E. Cheese. I can see your cringing faces and I feel your sympathy.

    We took the kids and one of their friends there for dinner last night. Not only did I survive all the craziness that is Chuck E. Cheese but I also didn’t blow my healthy eating plan too badly.

    I started with some salad from the salad bar.

    February 2012 154

    Then I managed to eat only two pieces of pizza.

    February 2012 155

    Pizza is a definite weakness for me. I have a hard time stopping at just two slices but I did it! I actually don’t mind the pizza at Chuck E. Cheese….I know some people think it’s awful.

    Breakfast this morning was wheat toast with peanut butter and some strawberries.

    February 2012 156

    My friend Lisa took me to my follow up doctor appointment. All is well and I can resume driving tomorrow! Back to normal life!

    Lunch was a bowl of leftovers: leftover pasta, marinara and broccoli.

    February 2012 157

    I decided eating it in a big mug in front of the TV was the perfect thing to do.

    Nothing crazy going on here tonight….more relaxing and more leftovers. Don’t be jealous. :)

    When was the last time you were at Chuck E. Cheese or a similar place?

    When you are by yourself at home, where do you eat your meals? I love sitting in front of the TV in the family room but I don’t allow my kids to do it so I cannot do it in front of them. When no one’s around, that’s right where I head.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    140.0…Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

    Otherwise known as the official Mardi Gras slogan: “Let the good times roll!”

    That’s exactly what I did last night. Fat Tuesday is the perfect day for some hot wings!

    February 2012 150

    Sorry for the blurry iphone photo. We went over to my friend Alicia’s house for our standing, every two weeks, hot wing date. 

    No hot wing eating records were set but I managed to eat 6 of them, some pizza and some salad.

    February 2012 151

    De-lish! Nothing can hold me back from my beloved hot wings.  It’s also hard to hold me back from brownies. Alicia had found a new Ghirardelli mix at the store for fudge brownies with a layer of gooey chocolate that you pour over the top.

    February 2012 152

    We obviously didn’t like them. :) It was a pretty good mix! I prefer their regular brownies better but I loved the gooey chocolate layer on top!

    Breakfast was as simple as it gets: Toast with butter and honey.

    February 2012

    Sometimes the most simple things are quite delicious.

    I spent the rest of the morning laying in bed switching off between sleeping and watching TV. I think the more you lay in bed, the more sleepy/lazy/lethargic you feel. So when I got a text from my friend Lisa asking if I wanted to go to the pool with her, I knew I had to….it was time to leave the little cave that is my bedroom.

    So glad I did! The weather is PERFECT in San Diego today! Not only did I get to enjoy some sunshine but a delicious lunch too!

    February 2012 153

    Roasted red pepper hummus wrap and some fruit. The wrap was loaded with veggies with is just what I need….I’ve been seriously lacking in the fruit/veggie department.

    Tonight we are taking the kids to Chuck E Cheese (shoot me now). We were going to take them over the weekend but never made it so we are taking them tonight. Chuck E Cheese is my nightmare. I hope it’s not crowded tonight. Ugh.

    Did you celebrate Fat Tuesday?

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    140.8…A Prisoner of My Own Home

    After a lazy day with the family yesterday, we decided to go out for dinner. Our restaurant of choice: PF Changs.

    I started with a cup of egg drop soup. I like to add a bit of soy sauce to mine.

    February 2012 145

    We all split chicken lettuce wraps next.

    February 2012 146

    We shared Chang’s Spicy Chicken as well as Sesame Chicken.

    February 2012 147

    I found the Sesame Chicken to be too salty but I always enjoy Chang’s Spicy Chicken.

    This morning’s breakfast was toast with butter and honey and a side of strawberries.

    February 2012 148

    So….I can’t drive until my doctor gives me the thumbs up (probably at my follow up appointment on Thursday) so I’m stuck at home all day. It’s not so bad actually. Today I paid bills and caught up on emails. I’m also all caught up on the shows in my DVR. Now what should I watch??? Daytime TV is BAD!!!! How do people watch this stuff!?!

    For lunch, I turned some leftover rotisserie chicken into a chicken salad sandwich and added an apple to go with it.

    February 2012 149

    Tonight we are going over to our friend’s house for HOT WING night! Just because football season is over, doesn’t mean the hot wing fun has to end! :) Since my appetite has not fully returned, there will be no record breaking hot wing eating tonight. Sorry folks!

    If you were stuck home all day, what would you do?

    Technorati Tags: ,

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    141.4…A Big Discovery

    Hey guys! I’m back! Surgery a success and now I’m relaxing and recovering at home.

    Let’s rewind to Monday night. I went over to my friend Dina’s house for Bunco. She had tons of delicious appetizers out and I enjoyed each and every one of them.

    Crackers with goat cheese and red pepper jelly:

    February 2012 129

    Stuffed grape leaves:

    February 2012 130

    Cucumber & Tomato Salad:

    February 2012 131

    Dina, Alicia and I:

    February 2012 134

    For dinner we enjoyed all sorts of fabulous Persian dishes. Most I cannot name but all were amazing!

    February 2012 135

    February 2012 136

    February 2012 137

    February 2012 138

    My plate:

    February 2012 139

    Since Bunco was the day before Valentine’s Day, Dina made some Valentine’s Day chocolate covered strawberries:

    February 2012 132

    I was impressed with how professional they looked!

    Dina also had two different kinds of chocolate cake for dessert. I tried both of course!

    February 2012 141

    The next morning (Tuesday) was Valentine’s Day and the day of my surgery. All went well fortunately and now I’m at home catching up on all my shows in my DVR and the stacks of magazines and catalogues that have been accumulating lately.

    I have made a discovery in the last week. I have the best friends in the world. I mean, I knew they were awesome but they really came through for me this week. My husband was kind enough to take the kids skiing this past weekend so I could recover in peace and my friends took over and brought me meals and anything else I needed/wanted.

    I was brought In N Out burger, Subway sandwiches, a baked potato bar, pasta, pizza, soup, chocolate….the list goes on! It’s not just what they brought me, it was the concern and love they showed me. I really feel like the luckiest woman in the world!

    Here’s an example: I was having a conversation with a few of my friends who were over about our favorite kid cereals.  I mentioned that I love Lucky Charms and then later that day this arrived:

    February 2012 142

    Lisa brought me some Lucky Charms which I enjoyed this morning for breakfast. 

    I had some leftovers from my “baked potato bar” for lunch:

    February 2012 143

    Baked potato, chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, broccoli and green onions. Hearty and filling!

    Today my family and I are just enjoying a vacation day together.

    What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

    Do you have today off?