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Archive for September, 2008

There’s A Pumpkin In My Chili

Actually, it’s a sweet potato, but I will get to that later!

First off, I did some busy work this afternoon and was ready for a snack around 4:30.  To be boring, I went for another Builder’s Bar – this time Vanilla Almond.  I really need to change up my snacks from time to time for a bit of variety, but the bars are just…so…good!

I took my break with my newest read plus a hot cup of tea –

Ok, break’s over … on to dinner –

When I put the menu for the week together, I asked Devin if he was interested in having chili one night.  Of course he jumped at the chance for this “normal” dinner, but when it came down to planning it, I knew I didn’t want just a “normal” bowl of chili.  So I jazzed it up a bit …

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. 99% lean turkey breast
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (if using canned, drain and rinse)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (I used Hunt’s Tomato Sauce for Chili)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
  • Spices – chili powder, cumin, dash of cinnamon, ground red pepper (I didn’t measure the spices – just threw a bit of each in the pot)
  • Few shakes of white wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  • Place the diced onion and turkey in a skillet.  Cook until turkey is browned and onions tender.
  • Microwave cubed sweet potato in a dish with a small amount of water for approximately 2 1/2 minutes (check for tenderness at 2 minutes – just want the cubes to soften up a bit and let the slow cooker do the rest)
  • Put all ingredients together in the slow cooker and go about your day!

The orangey sweet potato prompted Devin to call out “Pumpkin??”  Luckily, he was STARVING and started eating before he could form an opinion beforehand.  He soon announced that this was a “REALLY GOOD” bowl of chili!  He was surprised when I told him it was sweet potato … but the pumpkin is a great idea for the next batch!

I love using the slow cooker because it makes having a wholesome meal such a cinch – plus your whole house smells great!

To round out the spicy chili, we had grilled cheese panini’s on the side.  No butter on the bread, just a spritz of olive oil and to the press they go.  For mine, I used a schmear of cream cheese and one slice of reduced fat cheddar –

It might be an ice cream night … I’ll let you know in the morning!  Night!

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Raccoon Eyes & Raisin Fingers

That’s what you get when you swim for an extended period of time.  It took me a total of 75 minutes to get good and soggy.  Yep, I met my goal swim time today.  Yeah me! 🙂

I noticed on my drive home that my fingers were still wrinkly from being in the pool and once out of the shower, I took a good look at the goggle indentations around my eyes that make me look like I haven’t slept in a week!  How in the world do swimmers do it?!

Anyhow, I had a GREAT swim today!  Instead of losing steam around 45 minutes, I actually felt like I was going stronger.  I had a good talk with one of the pool staff members and she gave me some tips on improving my stroke.  Boy, was she right – I’ve been paddling my heart out with shorter strokes instead of long, smooth strokes.  I had no idea that I was doing this, so I’m super glad she was there to help me out!

As soon as I arrived home, I went right for the blender and protein powder for much needed fuel –

Today’s flavor was Muscle Milk Dark Chocolate … with a scoop of Green Vibrance, of course.

I had a huge craving for a salad for lunch and was happy to find a lot of great veggies hiding out in the fridge.  Today’s creation included the following:

  • Spinach base
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Yellow Squash
  • Cubed Mango
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles

I added two Rye Wasa Crackers on the side, plus a great bowl of steamed green beans with crumbled tempeh –

This combination was a spur of the moment decision and it actually turned out really well!

I’m off to get dinner into the crockpot.  I love using the slow cooker for meals – it makes life so easy!

Later …

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A Berry Delicious Bowl

One great book down … about a gazillion left to read!  I was SO tempted to watch my recorded episode of Brothers & Sisters last night, but I decided to finish SuperFoods Healthstyle instead. 

My next read will be In Defense Of Food by Michael Pollan.  I’m excited to get started on this book because of the number of high reviews it was given on Amazon.com.

Breakfast today was a wonderful bowl of Triple Berry Granola, which included fresh strawberries, blackberries and blueberries (both from frozen bags) plus 1/2 tbsp. ground flax and 1/8 cup spelt berries.

All doused with a generous amount of vanilla soy.  Yum!  I really enjoyed this combination, but wish I took more time to savor each bite.  I mindlessly shoved each spoonful in my mouth and could have kept eating after the bowl was empty. 😦

 

Today is a swim day … a long swim day.  I normally spend about 45 minutes in the pool, but my goal for today and Thursday is 75 minutes.  That will add an additional 30 minutes to my water workout and I’m hoping that I will be able to stay focused.  I start to feel a little water-logged by the time 45 minutes comes around and my mind starts wandering …

Have a good one! 

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Pizza Pizzazz

After work today, I ran home to quickly change and then hopped on my bike to run some errands.  I ended up biking around 8 miles, which distance-wise wasn’t too far, but I sure did work up quite a sweat!  We are still having a gas shortage here, so I thought this was a great way for me to get in my bike workout, plus take care of some business.

While I was out, the hunger pains struck, so I ran into Target and grabbed a PB Builder’s Bar –

Always so good!  It feels sinful! 🙂

 

I was back home with plenty of time to do my prep work for dinner – cook the chicken and black beans.  I made an extra large batch of black beans since they are needed for our dinner tomorrow. 

Dinner tonight is one of our favorite meals, so I decided to celebrate with my newest find at the grocery store …

Saranac Pumpkin Ale –

Notes from the brewer’s website:

Saranac Pumpkin Ale is brewed with Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Allspice, Cloves, Ginger and Vanilla. Look for a full-body and amber color. We’re sure you’ll enjoy this special brew!

Beer Style: Spiced Fruit Ale
Malt Selections: Maris Otter, Wheat
Hop Selections: Cascade Hops
Color: Medium Brown
Mouthfeel / Body: Medium
Food Companions: Fowl and Game Birds

I think the taste is a tad too bitter, but it will do for now.  I’ve been craving a good pumpkin beer since I’ve been seeing them all over other blogs!  We picked up a great pumpkin beer last year and cannot remember the name of it … does anyone have any suggestions??

I am a HUGE lover of any type of pizza, but our absolute favorite is my homemade BBQ Chicken & Black Bean Pizza.  This pizza is super yummy and super easy to put together with just a little prep work ahead of time.

Ingredients:

(For two individual servings)

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (cook ahead of time and shred when cool)
  • 1/2 cup black beans – if using them from a can, be sure to drain and rinse beans
  • BBQ sauce – enough to lightly coat chicken plus a base layer over the crust
  • 1/4 cup sliced onions
  • Mozzerella cheese
  • 2 individual-sized pizza crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and pre-bake pizza crusts for 10-15 minutes.  While crusts are baking, toss the shredded chicken with a small amount of BBQ sauce until evenly coated.  Remove crusts from oven and add the toppings – BBQ sauce, chicken, black beans, onions and cheese.  Stick the pizzas back into the oven for approximately 10 minutes and then broil until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

These “extras” are favorites of ours we like to add sometimes for a little variety:

  • Pineapple chunks
  • Sliced scallions
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Canadian bacon

Tonight I added some fresh pineapple to my pizza and it gave it just the right combination of sweet and savory –

Plus a great spinach & veggie salad –

There really isn’t anything that I feel like watching tonight on TV.  I love the show Brothers & Sisters, which came on last night, but I would like to save that episode for an elliptical/treadmill workout.  I might catch up on some reading since I still have that pile of books to read!! 

Have a wonderful evening!

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Working Lunch

As you may already know, I am a real estate agent with the Allen Tate company.  I work mainly from my house, but my license is hung at a branch office very close to where we live.  All agents in our office are assigned a number of shifts every month where we take “call time”, which allows us the opportunity for walk-in or call-in leads.

That is what I am doing at the office today from 11:30 – 3:00.  This is my least favorite shift since it falls during the time I would normally eat lunch.  We aren’t really allowed to eat right at the front desk, but rather in our kitchen area, away from any clients entering/leaving.  I always disregard this and eat at the desk anyways – shame on me!!  I just can’t deal with anything coming between me and my food!  When I stand in the kitchen area, I can’t see the front door very well, so I always worry about getting caught with my mouth full.  Sitting at the desk allows me to see people outside and I can quickly hide my food if I need to.  I know, I’m bad!! 😳

 

My good lunch today (in a bad spot) consisted of the following:

  • Shredded turkey (leftover from Saturday night’s dinner) in a whole wheat wrap with lite honey mustard dressing, avocado slices and romaine lettuce
  • Carrot sticks
  • Heaping 1/2 cup plain Chobani with 1/4 cup pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and 3/4 cup Kashi cereal

All together –

It was the perfect combination to fill me up and, I suspect, will keep me satisfied throughout the rest of my time at the office.

Which is another gripe that I have … for some reason, being in this office always makes me STARVING!  Whenever I’m here I always think that I am hungry, even when I’m not.  Must be some psychological thing – maybe it’s because I’m not used to sitting for such a long period of time and I get bored?!? 

See ya for dinner!  We are having one of our favorite meals tonight …

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Blast Off

Good morning!  I decided last night to do an early morning run today since I have to make a trip to my office mid-morning and will be there through the afternoon.  I had a quick cup of java while I packed my lunch and then got myself ready to RUN.  I rarely do any type of workout without eating first (remember the swimming incident), but I felt satisfied with my coffee and knew that a bowl of oats would taste better after pounding it out on the pavement.

I blasted out 4 1/2 miles and I feel great!  I would like to get a bike ride in today as well, so I feel really good knowing that I’ve already got one workout checked off my list.  I’ve put together a workout schedule for this week since I want to make sure I’m ready for my triathlon on Sunday. 

Here’s what I’ve got down:

Monday – run and bike

Tuesday – long swim

Wednesday – bike and weight training

Thursday – long swim

Friday – weight training

Saturday – REST

Sunday – Triathlon 😎

 

On to breakfast … today’s bowl of oats was leftover Pumpkin Oats from Saturday.  All I had to do was pop the container in the microwave to reheat.  They were just as delicious and creamy as they were on Saturday.  I added chopped mixed nuts, 1/2 tbsp. wheat germ and coconut to my bowl.

A close-up:

It’s time for me to be getting ready for work … see ya later!

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Fun In The Sun-Day

We had a great time at the fair!  It would have been even better if the weather stayed true to fall, but it felt more like SUMMER!  It was pretty toasty out in the sun and I wasn’t dressed appropriately for the heat.

We ventured through all the barns to see all the animals.  My favorite was the Lion Head Bunnies

That little guy was SOOO cute!  They have a mane of fur that encircles their head, which is why they were named after the lion.  I wanted Devin to stick him in his pocket so we could take him home … Devin didn’t agree.  Bummer. 😛

 

We also made fun of ourselves a little –

For a little action, Devin and I decided to give the bumper cars a whirl.  I think bumper cars are much more fun as an adult when you actually have some concept of driving!  As a kid, I can remember getting my bumper car stuck in a corner and not being able to get it out.  They let us go for a long time, so we really got to have some fun with the cars!

When it came time for lunch, we all walked around in circles, not seeing anything that appealed to any of us.  We were also super hot so the thought of air conditioning led us to leave the fair and head to a local restaurant. 

We went to a place called Ham’s, which reminded me of an Applebee’s or Ruby Tuesday’s.  I ordered a 1/2 sandwich/soup combo … and I must warn you – the pictures are not very appealing at all!!  Just look fast and move on to the better pics of dinner!  Ha!

My 1/2 turkey sandwich on wheat bread with lettuce and tomato

Carrots and celery on the side –

Plus a great bowl of vegetable soup

We headed back after lunch and I ended up heading right back out the door to do the weekly grocery shopping (I was able to plan our menu and make my list during the car ride!)

Tonight we had breakfast for dinner.  I can eat breakfast at any time of the day – no matter if it’s cereal, oats, eggs, whatever – I love it!

I decided to make an egg frittata with a bunch of goodies I found in the fridge/freezer:

  • Morningstar Breakfast Veggie “Sausage” Patties – these are really good if you haven’t tried them!
  • Broccoli
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Reduced Fat Shredded Cheese

I sauteed the veggies in my cast-iron skillet until slightly tender, added the microwaved & crumbled sausage patties and then topped with the egg mixture (2 whole eggs + the equivalent of 3 eggs with egg whites.)  The skillet then went in the 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.  I removed the skillet, topped the eggs with shredded cheese and popped under the broiler until browned.

We enjoyed our frittata with a TJ’s English muffin topped with almond butter and apple butter –

Plus, I made yogurt parfaits with blueberries and strawberries

Everything was delicious!  I wish every night could be a breakfast night!  🙂

Ok, time for me to hit the hay … I am getting up early for a quick run then it’s off to the office for a few hours.

Kitty says “GOOD NIGHT!” –

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