Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Healthified Italian Style Turkey Meatloaf

Tonight I decided to take a recipe my sister gave me and give it an even healthier make over. I made a total comfort meal that included Italian Turkey Meatloaf, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Swiss Chard. I made the recipe over a little by using 99% lean ground turkey, lowfat cheese, and whole wheat bread crumbs. I could have taken it one step further and used 1/3 cup liquid egg whites for the eggs but forgot about that until after it was made up.

There is one other thing I forgot to consider. My sis is always cooking for her huge family and I probably could have halved this recipe. I will definitely be putting some in the freezer and maybe making a meatloaf sandwich with it ~ yum!


Italian Style Turkey Meatloaf

2 pounds lean ground turkey (I used 99% lean)
1 cup fine Italian-style bread crumbs
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup grated low fat mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley or basil
1/2 Tbsp dried Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups pasta sauce (I used this one)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil or spray a large jelly roll pan or a roasting pan and set it aside.

2. Combine all the ingredients except the pasta sauce in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, toss the ingredients
lightly to evenly distribute them, then knead the mixture well.

3. Transfer the mixture to your baking pan shaping it into a loaf about 12 inches long and 5 inches wide. Bake it for 40 minutes, then remove it form the oven and spread a cup of pasta sauce over the top. keep baking the meat loaf until it is cooked through, about 35 minutes more. Allow the loaf to sit in the pan for 15 minutes before slicing it. Serve it with more pasta sauce, if desired.

Makes 8 or more servings.

** I used a cookie sheet and shaped it into a loaf by hand it actually makes about a 15 inch by 5 inch loaf. Here it is going into the oven:

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And coming out of the oven all toasted and coated with a fabulous Balsamic Eggplant Pasta Sauce that I got at a Christmas sale this year.

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I ended up having 1 1/2 slices, although, I think I probably only needed one. I was still a bit hungry after eating, I waited then decided I want more. However, I think my brain is slow at communicating to my stomach, because, now I am stuffed :D

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I took a short cut tonight and used Trader Joe's Garlic Mashed Potatoes. These honestly taste like the real deal and you cannot even taste that they are instant. The Husband always polishes them off and requests them so that says something for how tasty they are.

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I filled half my plate with some steamed organic swiss chard that was topped with a little whipped butter, garlic salt and pepper ~ so good!

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All together with my Tangerine Juice Sprizter and this was honestly a total comfort food meal made over to be healthy.

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I am off to finish watching The Biggest Loser! Catch you all in the morning when the week is officially 1/2 over - yahoo!

Ants on a log

This afternoon I had one of my favorite snacks ~ Ants on a Log! I sometimes use almond butter and I sometimes use peanut butter. I have some freshly ground dark chocolate peanut butter from Whole Foods that would be good too (note to self to use that next time).

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3 stalks of organic celery
1/2 mini pack organic raisins
1 heaping Tbsp freshly ground organic almond butter from Whole Foods

This absolutely satisfied my need to crunch and for something sweet. But, when I opened the fridge I heard the Ice Cream Cupcakes call my name ~ Yep, I swear they did - I heard them from the freezer.......so Part 2 of my snack was another one of the most fantastic creations ever. An ICE CREAM CUPCAKE!
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Yes, It is seriously worth every calorie....I think I've decided the pink frosting one is my favorite.

The All Clad Review ~ Broccoli & Red Pepper Cashew Chicken

Last night I put together a new recipe using my fancy new All Clad Stir Fry Pan that I won from Food Buzz. I was so excited to try out my new pan that it was worth cooking up two meals last night just to test it out. This recipe turned out to be so amazing and had so much flavor. I really liked the spicy kick and will definitely make it again. You can mix/match your ingredients, but, I tend to just throw in whatever sounds good as I go along. I served this over 1 cup Trader Joe's Organic Frozen Brown Rice (cooks in 3 minutes & it tastes just like the real deal) and paired it with a nice big orange for the perfect lunch.



Broccoli & Red Pepper Cashew Chicken

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Ingredients:


** Note: You can make this recipe vegan by using Tofu or Vegetarian using a Chicken Substitute. I think this recipe would be fabulous with all types of meat/non-meat variations.

Marinade and chicken:
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
Freshly Ground Pepper if desired

Aromatics:
¼ cup minced green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1-2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (depending on how much heat you want)

Sauce:
3 tablespoons water or chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
½ cup dry roasted cashews
1 cup diced red bell pepper
4 cups chopped broccoli

Instructions:

1. To prepare marinade, whisk all ingredients (except chicken) together in a medium bowl. Add chicken, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Combine green onions, garlic, ginger and chile sauce in a small dish.

3. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

4. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I used my new All Clad Stir Fry pan from Food Buzz)until searing hot. Add 1 teaspoon oil, then half the chicken using a slotted spoon since you do not want the sauce. Cook, without stirring, 2 minutes. Turn and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from pan before it’s thoroughly cooked through. Repeat with another teaspoon of oil and remaining chicken.

5. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add green onion mixture; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and the broccoli. Sauté until just crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Return chicken to pan; toss. Shake sauce and add to pan. Cook until sauce thickens slightly. Add cashews; toss gently. Serves 4.

I starteed to get a little worried when the chicken was cooking. I know in my other stainless steel pans the meat sticks a little until it is cooked but then, it is released. It may have stuck a little here due to the higher heat (normally I'd use low to medium heat).

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As everything cooked though, nothing else seemed to stick and the chicken even came out without a problem when I took it out.

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Look at how beautiful it is again after cleanup. Everythiing just washed right off and it was like brand new again.

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I have to say I LOVE my new pan and I am so thoroughly impressed with my All Clad Stir Fry Pan. It cooked up my Broccoli & Pepper Cashew Chicken without a hitch and it cleaned up so easily. I will definitely be using this again and looking to add more All Clad to my pan collection.

I just got back from a nice lunchtime walk and am ready to dig into more work ~ fun times. See you all for dinner and another new recipe....I can't wait.

Vegan/GF Banana Nut Waffles take 2

Happy Tuesday! It's Biggest Loser night so that always makes me look forward to getting my day over with and sitting down to enjoy the show Today is going to be a super busy day so I am sure time will fly by. This morning I decided it was time to pull out one of the Vegan/Gluten Free Banana Nut Waffles that I froze a little while back. These taste just as good reheated in the toaster as they did the day I made them.

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I topped my waffle with:

~ 1 Tbsp Whipped Butter
1 small banana
1/2 oz toasted Walnuts (toasted for 1:30 in the microwave)
Drizzle of Pure Maple Syrup

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Yum! I think I have determined I LOVE anything banana nut. I enjoyed this with some watered down Pete's coffee and of course some water from my SIGG.

Make sure you let me know your opinion on The 30 Day Transformation and if you want to give it a go beginning tomorrow, April 1st by leaving a comment on that post.

I will be sharing my All Clad Stir Fry Pan review with today's lunch post. It was awesome to use it to make up my lunch last night.

Have a great day all!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The "Works" Burger

Ever since I went to Gillwood's and had the best ever Veggie Burger I have been thinking about how I could recreate it. Well, tonight, I decided was the night for that. I took a recipe that I often make to make healthy burgers for The Husband and Veggified (yes, that's a word!) it. I had two perect buns in my fridge that we bought at Gillwood's the other day so I thought I might get pretty close to the real deal. Here was the result before I "mushed" it together to fit it into my mouth:

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I must admit, this was a pretty tasty burger, but, it just wasn't the same. I honestly think there is something about having someone else make something for you that makes it taste that much better. But, I know you all are wondering, what is in there, so here is how you can recreate this Works Burger.

* This recipe works great with any meat of choice: vegan burger, veggie burger, chicken or turkey burger, beef or bison....take your pick.

I used almost all organic ingredients because I think they taste better and are better for you, but, the choice is yours.

Burgers:

4 burgers or 1 lb of your favorite meat shaped into burgers (I used Amy's California Burgers and beef burgers for The Husband)

Season by sprinkling with the following if using meat:

Garlic Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Onion Powder
Nonstick spray

Cook on the grill as you normally would ~ about 3-5 minutes per side.

Top burgers with Lite Cheddar Cheese (I used TJ's)/(use soy cheese to make it vegan) and grill for another minute. While the cheese is melting, you can add the buns to the grill to toast them.

Burger toppings:

Saute:

1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1/2 Tbsp butter
Sprinkle with sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1 large tomato, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
bread n butter pickles or cucumber chips
1/2 avocado, sliced

Special sauce:

2 Tbsp lowfat or fat free mayo (used veganaise to make it vegan)
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 tsp mustard
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Mix together and spread evenly on your toasted buns

Tadah! That's it....it looks like alot more typing, but, I put this all together in about 30 minutes before The Husband had to run to a meeting.

Here is what mine looked like before I put it all together with a side of cucumber slices in 2 forms:

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The Gillwood's Bun was seriously the perfect addition aside from being way too big for my veggie burger. It has a sweeter taste like Hawaiian bread. I sooooo wanted to eat all of this, but, after cutting it in half and eating my cucumber slices, I was full. The Husband gladly took my other half.

I tested out my new All Clad Stainless Steel Stiry Fry Pan from Food Buzz tonight to make my lunch for tomorrow. Be sure to check back then for the full report.

Have a great night all ~ I am off to read my new finds at Barnes and Nobles today - yeah!

I just may never be able to eat a "regular" cupcake again!

I say that is almost the saddest way b/c I absolutely LOVE Cupcakes! Cupcakes are seriously like one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world, but, then again, so is ice cream. I might just be able to sustain on these :D ok...well, probably not because then I'd get tired of them and there would be no fun in that.

I set out with the best of intentions this morning to NOT have a cupckae. But, I had a feeling that I'd cave. My entire car still holds the sweet smell of these cupcakes. Seriously CUPCAKES+ICE CREAM=THE BEST CUPCAKE I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!! Cupcake heaven in every way!

I picked up these beauties at Cold Stone Creamery today at lunchtime (such a deal (a pack of 6 includes 3 different types of ice cream for only $9.99).

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Let me give you the low-down on what these cupcakes have in them. You can get the full details at the link above....prepare to drool on your key board.

Pink Fluffy Frosting with pink sprinkles + cake batter ice cream + red velvet cake all put in a dark belgian chocolate cupcake shell.

Oreo Cookie with white fluffy frosting with fudge and chocolate swirled ice cream, devils food cake all in a dark belgian chocolate cupcake shell.

Milk & White Chocolate curls with white fluffy frosting and cake batter ice cream, yellow cake all in a dark belgian chocolate cupcake shell.

WOW! Seriously, how do you decide which one to have?! Well, if you are anything like me, decisions are definitely not my strong point - just ask The Husband lol. So, why pick 1 when you can pick 3. A few of my co-workers and I paired up to have a 1/2 of each one - woohoo!

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I highly recommend these cupcakes to anyone who loves cupcakes or ice cream. I am already trying to think of the next occassion I can order them for to have some more :D Easter maybe.....just kidding. Alright all ~ enjoy the rest of your afternoon and I'll see you all tonight!

Checking my daily veggies off the list....

I hope your Monday is moving right along, I know mine is. I had to run out at lunchtime to pick up the fabulous Ice Cream Cupcakes for our party today, but, more on that later. Even though I ATE dessert before lunch, I have to at least post in order, right? :D I felt like I was really lacking in veggies last week so I definitely made up for it in this super huge salad I made.

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Included in the mix:

Romaine
Spinach
Broccoli
Cucumber
Snap peas
Cherry tomatoes
Green Onion
2 Tbsp Free sample pack of Accent Honey roasted almond slivers – Yum!
2 Tbsp TJ’s Berry blend
3 oz Grilled chicken
¾ oz Cabot lowfat cheddar (only 50 cal, 2 g fat/serving)
Splash of Bennisimo Blueberry balsamic
Dash of Extra Virgin Olive oil

Just look at all that crunchy goodness! This salad was so huge but so tasty. I love big salads because they make me feel so healthy lol.

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My dessert was supposed to be the watermelon you see here, but, I am now saving it for later since I indulged in the cupcakes. Oops!

For my morning snack, I had 1/2 c Trader Joe's Fat Free Cottage Cheese w/1/2 cup pineapple and a few strawberries. It definitely filled me up because I did not sit down to eat my dessert, um, I mean, lunch, until almost 2 pm.

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Be back soon to tell you All about the cupcakes…you won’t want to miss it.

Strawberry Banana Oats make my day

Happy Monday all! Last week I was out of oats and I did not realize how much I missed them until I made up a fabulous batch today. This breakfast really hit the spot

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In the mix:

1/2 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats (healthy carb + fiber+protein)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (healthy fat + fiber)
4 strawberries (healthy carb)
1/2 banana (healthy carb)
2 Tbsp slivered raw almonds (healthy fat + a little protein)
Sprinkle of unsweetened coconut (healthy fat)
Drizzle of sweet cactus light agave syrup

I had also planned to have some eggwhites but my I dropped my container in the breakroom this morning - boooo!

I really love the Sweet Cactus Agave Syrups because they add a nice sweetness without having to use that much. I use maybe 1 tsp on my entire bowl of oats. Plus this is the only brand that is 15 calories per tsp versus the other brands that are 20. Why spend more on your calorie budget if you don't have to right?

This paired up perfectly with some hot decaf coffee and my SIGG water bottle. This week I am really focusing in on meeting my water requirements and rounding out my nutrtion. With each meal I always shoot for protein plus fiber & a little healthy fat(as this allows it to stay with me), and I pair this combination with some healthy carbs (fruits, veggies, whole grains).

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Ok - now that you all are feeling nutritionally informed :) I am off to start my day. See you at lunch.

Today we are celebrating the March birthdays at work and we ordered Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Cupcakes....ahhhhhh, how do I resist that??

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shrimp Tacos w/Avocado & Tomato Salsa Verde

Tonight's dinner was so fast, easy and pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself. The best part is there were barely any dishes to do since everything was pretty much done on the grill.

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Ingredients

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Avocado Salsa:

1 small onion, quartered
1 jalapeno, quartered, seeds optional (or 1/2 green bell pepper quartered & dashes of Tabasco)
1 garlic clove, smashed
8 oz canned Tomatillos, drained
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of one lime
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Shrimp:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle or blended chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic cloved, minced
juice of one lime
1 pound medium shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
8 corn tortillas
8 sprigs cilantro for garnish
2 limes, cut into wedges

Directions

Put the onion, jalapeno (or bell pepper/hot sauce), and garlic in a food processor and finely chop. Add the tomatillos, /1/2 the avocado, and salt and pulse until chopped but still chunky. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the other 1/2 avocado, tomatoes and cilantro.

Heat a stovetop or outdoor grill to medium-high. Mix the olive oil, chipotle or chili powder, garlic, lime juice, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Use a grill basket or bamboo skewers to thread the shrimp and grill the shrimp until translucent, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.

Grill tortillas, until slightly charred and pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in a microwave.) Spoon sauce on the tortilla, then top with about 2 or 3 shrimp and a sprig of cilantro. Serve 2 tacos per person, with a lime wedge on the side.

I had 3 amazing shrimp tacos with avocado & tomato salsa verde. I also had 3 extra shrimp on the side (this was about 1 bamboo skewer's worth).

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Complete with a side of butternut squash that I wraped in foil with a little olive oil, sea salt, pepper and roasted it on the grill. I served it up with Fizzy Lime Water for the perfect dinner.

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This all went together in about 30 minutes. I really think it helps to use good quality corn tortillas. I sometimes use chile lime, however, this time I just old fashioned corn.

Off to watch The House Bunny with the Husband. Have a great night all!

Some days you just don't feel it...

My attempt to sleep in didn't quite happen this morning. The Husband's friend called us bright and early forgetting it was Sunday (he works nights and was a little mixed up). LOL. Oh well, it gave me the chance to get my day started early. Today has been really productive ~ I have planned out an exciting menu for the week, went shopping, did laundry, picked up around the house and I am now about to relax for a bit with The Husband before dinner.

I wasn't really feeling breakfast or lunch today. Do you ever have days like that where you just really don't feel like eating? I rarely do because food always sounds good and my body usually tells me to eat. So far, my meals for today are not too exciting but dinner will definitely be more fun.

For breakfast, I had almond butter honey wheat toast and TJ's Organic French Roast. I had two servings that look like this as I went back for more after I was done.

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While out shopping, I picked up some 100% California squeezed Tangerine Juice from TJ's. I had half this container and think the other half will make an awesome smoothie this week.

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I bought a bunch of great fruit today and that is pretty much all that sounded good at lunchtime. Of course I had to share this plate with The Husband because he thought my lunch looked better than his leftovers from last night :)

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See you all for an awesome dinner!

What do you think of doing the 30 day Transformation w/me?

I value ALL my readers and their opinions. With that being said, I need your help.

As you all know I am a HUGE Biggest Loser (BL) fan and I LOVE pretty much all things related to The Biggest Loser. I think Jillian rocks and Bob, well, it just depends ~ some days I like him other days I am not so sure. I have pretty much every BL book, dvd, etc.

Last month I came across the latest their newest book, "The 30-Day Jump Start".

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I really LOVE the concept of this book. It gives you something to work on each day ~ mentally, physically (cardio & weight workouts), plus a recommended meal plan. The food and workouts look great and I will definitely be reading this book from cover to cover.

I am thinking it may not be realistic to follow 100% of the meal plans as some of the things I do not eat. This is where I would think you could mix/match using some other ideas or recipes in the book but overall staying within the daily calorie intake. Maybe stick with everything from breakfast through the afternoon snack and mix it up for dinner. I would be willing to take before/after pictures, measurements and my weight to share my results for the full effect. I will post my daily calorie intake, calories burned and WW points as well. I would love to have you all play along in the fun or just encourage me along the way.

Another option is I can just review the book and share ideas as I go along with picking and choosing what I do. In this example, I would basically use the workouts mainly with some of the ideas in the meal plan.

Here is where you all come in. Are you up for a 30 day transformation to get ready for the cute, smaller spring/summer clothes? I want to know if you would be interested in having me follow this book for 30 days (let's say beginning April 1st) and/or if you would be willing to participate with me? I want to keep the content of the blog fun and interesting, so please feel free to be real with me and give me your honest thoughts.

P.S. I bought my book at Sam's Club, but, feel free to click on the amazon link on the right to buy it there. I get credit for the sale which is always fun too :)

Ok...comment away :D

Change of plans, but, still fun....

The Husband's plans for our fun day got changed today when our cute little nephews 10 & 12 called up to say it was opening day for Baseball. That meant that they both played today and we always try to make it on days when they are both playing (to keep things equal and all). The Husband told me he had planned for me to pick 1 of 3 things or to come up with a new idea (Winchester Mystery House, The Beach, or The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz). I told him I'd definitely take a rain check, but, we couldn't miss out when they personally called all excited to invite us.

I packed up some snacks to take to the park to share (Annie's Organic Snack Mix, Pumpkin Seeds, Cuties) and he packed up some candy to share (Airheads & Tamales). I had about 2 napkins full that looked like this (only 2 cuties though).

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There was a 1 hour break between games so we stopped for a quick sandwich at a local place. I wasn't feeling the veggie sandwich today as I was a bit hungrier so I went with the turkey/ham on whole wheat. It was eh, ok, but, as The Husband put it, at least it was something in our bellies.

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After our baseball game marathon (which they both did awesome and were so cute!), we came home, got changed, and met my parents for dinner. In January we participated in a charity Texas Hold'em poker tournament and won a free dinner for 2 at The Back 40 Texas BBQ. Tonight was the perfect night to get a free dinner so we went all out. The Husband had one request ~ order the mega plate so he could have the leftovers lol. I was happy to because it allowed me to sample like everything on the menu :)

For starters, we had their Homemade Spicy Beer Battered Onion Rings. I really wanted the baked not fried sweet potato crinkles, but, I got vetoed by everyone but my mom at the table. I had 4 of these rings - I really liked the spicy kick but felt they should be crunchier.

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Next came our salads. I usually order a vinaigrette or olive oil/vinegar, but, I feel that BBQ sometimes just requires ranch. I dipped my fork in my dressing for a little flavor with each bite. This allowed my to use only about 1/3 of the dressing cup.

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They brought out this amazing plate of homemade breads. Included was banana nut bread, cornbread with honey butter and a mini pumpernickle roll. The Husband claimed the banana bread and my mom claimed the roll so it left my dad and I with the cornbread. I had 1/2 a slice with a smear of the honey butter. It was tasty, but, not so good that I couldn't resist the other half.

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Now, prepare yourself for the Plate~o~Meat that The Husband wanted me to order. I am sure the waiter was wondering where I was going to put all this. Don't worry though, I only had 2 ribs, 1 bite of the beef and the chicken leg. Believe it or not, The Husband polished off a platter just like this and then had a little bit more of mine. He will be snacking on this for the next couple of days.

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With each dinner you have your choice of ordering "Texas Style" or "Calfornia Style". I went for California because of the sides. My side included the salad above, pickles and roasted garlic mashed potatoes! I had about 1/2 the potatoes so I could save room for dessert. I also stole 1 of my dad's fries and had a bite of The Husband's beans.

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My mom and I had planned out our meals to sample everything but to save room for dessert. We decided to split the small apple crumble that came topped with vanilla bean ice cream. I think for me this was probably the highlight of the entire meal. Next time, maybe I should just start here :D

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Now here is the part that is funny to me and really made me laugh. I know you all think it's cute how The Husband likes to have pictures of his plate shown too. Well, guess what I found out tonight....my Dad does too! He wanted me to take a picture of his gigantic piece of pecan pie to share with you all. It was served in a bowl but he put it on a plate saying pie isn't meant to be served in a bowl. He has a point though lol. Anyway, here it is.....

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Whew! Did that make you all as full as it did me just by looking at it? I actually had the perfect amount of the food. I left the meal feeling very content and not overly stuffed. It was a great day of watching our nephews and catching up with my family. We really enjoyed chatting at dinner and hanging out with them after.

I am off to catch some "zzzz's" now....hopefully my body let's me sleep in tomorrow. See you in the morning or, um, afternoon :D

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Honey Wheat French Toast

Ahhhh...the perfect start to a Saturday morning includes sleeping in, waking up to sunshine, a run and an awesome breakfast. Today is going to be another 80 degree sunny day and we are getting ready to head out for our fun day soon.

For breakfast I decided to use our Gillwood's Honey Wheat Bread to make up some delicious French Toast.

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1 egg
1/4 c liquid egg whties (about 2 egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (adds sweeteness)
dash of salt (optional)
2 slices of your favorite bread

Dunk your bread in the above mixture and brown in a nonstick pan or a pan sprayed with nonstick cookie spray over medium heat. Top with your favorite toppings - whipped butter, maple syrup, fruit, nuts, etc.

I made two slices for each of us with our gigantic bread. Served up with some Decaf Cinnamon Vanilla Nut decaf coffee ~ Yum!

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I normally would top my french toast with some fruit, but, the only thing we have left right now is cuties. Somehow that didn't seem to fit in the mix. So I used about 2 teaspoons of Whipped Butter and a drizzle of Pure Maple Syrup (about 1-2 tsps) on each slice.

Have a great Saturday all! Enjoy the sunshine if you have it but more importantly make sure you have some fun today! See you all when we return back from our journey.

Friday, March 27, 2009

BJ's Brewhouse & a girls night out

I had the best night out tonight ~ It was just what I needed. Ok, well, maybe I could have thrown a margarita or two in there, but, since The Husband made me promise to call for him to pick me up, I refrained. I really do think I earned it though after my week! Maybe this weekend just might have to include some good adult beverages :)

My friend and I started off with amazing pedicures....complete with paraffin wax. I got a cool lilac color for spring and this cool design on my big toes. I took pictures to show you all, but The Husband said I shouldn't put my feet in my food blog LOL. If you want see, let me know and I'll post - they look so neat (Yes, just like the Beav says).

After we headed over to BJ's Brewery for some great girl talk and of course amazing food. I LOVE BJ's ~ it is one of the few chains that I think has an awesome selection and great tasting food. They even offered us up a mini slice of cheese pizza while we waited for our seats. I didn't pass that up of course, but, didn't remember to take a picture until after I looked down at my empty plate :)

The pizza was so good that we decided to split a mini Spinach and Artichoke Pizza for starters.

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I debated a vegetarain entree (hello loaded garden veggie baked potato or pasta), but, when I read the description of the Balsamic Glazed Chicken over Mixed Greens I knew I had to get it. This was probably one of the most amazing dishes I've ever had. I ate 1 chicken breast, all the greens and onions (two types - marinated in balsamic & crispy ones) plus about 1/2 my white cheddar mashed potatoes.

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Look how perfect the chicken was cooked. I am definitely going to use my other chicken breast on a salad to recreate this. I could have easily polished off this dish, but, decided it was better to not stuff myself and to have leftovers another day (that is unless The Husband steals it).

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This afternoon before our pedicure I snacked on some WW BBQ Pretzel Thins. They are so yummy, crunchy and salty for only 100 calories.

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I feel so amazing now ~ My feet are pretty and pampered, my belly is full and now I am back at home getting ready to spoil The Husband with a massage. I figured I owe him since today is our 4 month anniversary and I went out without him.

This was just what I needed to end my week and kickoff my weekend on the right foot (no pun intended). The Husband has funs plans for us tomorrow, but, it's a surprise...can't wait to find out what it is.

Night all!

Freezer Find Lunch

I came back from an amazing lunchtime walk in our 80 degree weather ready for the awesome lunch I had planned.

My brain was "fuzzy" this morning in my mad rush to get out of the house. I went rummaging in the fridge and the freezer to find the perfect lunch. I don't know if I ever told you all, but, in addition to my recipe addiction, I have a freezer addiction too....as in I FREEZE everything. I like leftovers but not leftovers for days so I often will put 1 or 2 or more servings in the freezer to have another time. It's great for days like today when there are not really any leftovers in the fridge and you need something to grab and go. It is sort of like I make my own homemade version of freezer dinners that taste so much better and contain no chemical additives.

I pulled out a Vegan/Gluten Free Falafel Patty that I made awhile back and one of the Ciabatta rolls I had in the freezer to make an amazing falafel sandwich with spinach, tomato and some of the Fresh Tomato/Basil soup you will read about below.

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Falafel is soooo good in every way I have had it and it even reheated well after being frozen. This sandwich was awesome dipped in my home version of tomato basil soup. Since I know you all will ask, I am posting my review and the recipe for the soup below.

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Tomato Basil Soup Recipe & Review

When were in Michigan 2 years ago for Christmas we had this amazing, healthy tomato basil soup at the 42nd parallel cafĂ©. Ever since I have wanted to recreate it because it was THAT good and it is a non-creamy soup. I am not a big fan of cream based soups. I came across this recipe by one of the farmer’s at the farmer’s markets in the summer but never made it. Who makes soup in the summer, right? I probably should’ve then since the produce is better, but, I just made it with modifications.

It is pretty good, but, I still feel like something is missing – maybe it needs the true essence of canned tomatoes? Not sure, either way, it’s a fabulous soup and a great addition to any meal to help you get in more veggies.

1 large red onion, diced
1 tablespoon ginger (I used garlic – ginger is weird)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 cups whole roma tomatoes, diced (+ I threw in a handful of cherry tomatoes)
5 cups chicken stock (you could use veggie, I only used 4 cups)
1 c picked basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste

To this I added:

½ c chopped celery
½ c chopped carrot (next time I’d use less)
1 frozen triangle of homemade sun dried tomato & basil pesto
A sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

In a large saucepan and a little olive oil, caramelize the onions, garlic or ginger, and sugar. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with salt & pepper. Add the stock, simmer on low heat until very soft, at least 20 minutes. Add the basil and puree. Check for seasoning.

This lunch completely hit the spot. Oh and I almost forgot - this morning I snacked on another WW Cookies and Cream bar along with a few cashews.

Off to finish off some reports so I can get out of here for my girls night out. We are first heading to get pedicures after work then off to a great restaraunt to eat. See you all later tonight or in the morning (depending on when I get in).

Happy Friday ~ Do you have any fun plans you have for tonight? I'd love to hear about them.

Bake Sale Selection

Thanks everyone for partipcating in the Bake Sale Poll and for being my taste testers. It was so hard to choose what I am going to submit, but, I think last night I figured it out. Since the feedback I received was to include so many things, I decided to do a variety pack.

My Bake Sale Package will include ~ 3 things!!!!

1. 24 Samoa Bars (based on popular vote!)

Home Made Samoas Up Close

2. 24 Moc Tag-A-Longs

Up Close Mock Tag alongs

3. BONUS: Whoever the highest bidder is will be able to select any baked good off my site that I made in the sale or not to have included in their package.

You can see all the baked sale items here:

http://danicasdaily.blogspot.com/search/label/Bake%20Sale

Or another option could be these:

http://danicasdaily.blogspot.com/2009/03/dark-chocolate-clusters.html

I could also do a customizable item if they had something in mind. I am also giving the winner the option of their choice of chocolate (Dark, Milk, Vegan, White) and would be glad to meet any requests they have.

What do you all think? Did I make up a good package for everyone to bid on?