Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday {WIAW}

 It's that time again! Wednesday = What I Ate Wednesday hosted by the gorgeous Jennifer at Peas and Crayons!

If you haven't already, click on the above icon to check out all of the amazing eats on her page! Now onto the party!

Thanks for all the positive feedback from my last post! I full-heartedly agree that positive thinking and changes are for the best. I know that my life has a purpose and those changes that occur in my life are just a road leading me to the next best thing. I have faith!

Follow me on twitter <-- by clicking. I am going to try my best to remember to post a positive affirmation each morning and night, by just reading them you will see how much better you can feel!

Roasted Greek Eggplant Topped/Stuffed Chicken

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons seasoning (I used tomato, basil and garlic grill mates)
1/2 medium eggplant
2 tablespoons cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
dash cayenne pepper, or to taste
dash salt

1. Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler.
2. Line a baking pan with foil. Slice Eggplant in half. Place eggplant in the pan and poke a few holes all over it to vent steam. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Broil the eggplant, until the skin is charred and a knife inserted into the dense flesh near the stem goes in easily, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
3. Scrape the flesh into the bowl. Add oil and stir with a fork until the oil is absorbed. (It should be a little chunky.) Stir in feta, onion, bell pepper, chile pepper (if using), basil, parsley, cayenne and salt.
4. Coat chicken evenly with seasoning. Place in a baking dish. Top with eggplant mixture (or you can stuff! see how to here). Cook for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Top with additional feta crumbles/mozzarella (optional).
*You could also use this recipe solely as a dip as Eating Well did. Both ways are amazing!

This recipe is Chance approved! I wish I captured the whole thing on video but after 20 minutes of crying, he went and got his rope toy and placed it on the table. He wanted to trade! Of course I couldn't say no to that face!

And yes after my glass of wine I still had berries leftover so I filled it up with some OJ! Stay tuned to tomorrows post, I am going to post lots of drink recipes for the beach! I am preparing for this weekend! (here is a hint - mimosas, pineapple rum mojitos, raspberry/strawberry/cherry daiquiris, white wine sangria and more!).

I also had an amazing PB&J cupcake for lunch courtesy of MNI (an agency in Annapolis) who brought a cupcake truck to our office for free goodies! so delicious i need to recreate!! Don't worry, I grabbed a chocolate one for CL (so he wouldn't get jealous of my awesome job perks).

I would post the pics of the cupcakes but blogger is acting up right now! you can check my FB page to see the deliciousness!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lately, so many changes have been going on in my life, all new and positive. It can become hard to think clearly when everything around you is shifting. When I need to clear my head I always look to positive affirmations for motivation and it always helps!

Positive thinking creates positive outcomes. It is that simple. When you are confident and have a positive outlook on life, your possibilities are endless. Yes, it's okay to have grumpy moments, but let them be short lived! Go to the gym and burn off some stress, take a long walk, or make a list of all the things you are thankful in your life.

When CL and I have a frustration with each other we always talk through it and afterwards make each other list 5 things we love about the other. I know, it sounds cheesy - but it does put into perspective all the reasons why we are thankful to have each other. And thank goodness this only happens about twice a month or I'm sure I would run out of new reasons! haha

Me and my boo in 2008!
Here are some positive affirmations I am saying to myself tonight. Use them for inspiration!

I am becoming better every day.
I have faith and belief in myself.
I am strong and confident.
I accept the power to realize my abilities.
I am an amazing friend and partner.
I have faith in God and my future.
I am a hard worker and know what I deserve.
I recognize and honor my talents, abilities and skills.
All false images of myself are no longer present in my mind (a hard one!)
I fill my mind with loving and positive thinking.
I am strong enough to accept change with open arms.

You could always just look at this picture for some good mood vibes! haha I can't help but laugh at Princess Moo in this pic!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday {WIAW}

It's WIAW --> What I Ate Wednesday hosted by the gorgeous Jennifer over at Peas and Crayons. She gives us all something to talk about on Wednesdays and that makes me love her mucho mucho!! If you haven't joined the party yet go to her blog and link up!

Last night I made the best stuffed chicken for dinner. You are going to want to copy cat this recipe because it was delish and made my boyfriends mouth drool! Okay, maybe not the last part but I heard lots of "mmmm's" come out of his mouth!

I am a seasoning packet lover. I never use a full packet of seasoning when cooking tacos or fajitas so I always have plenty of leftovers to help flavor my dishes.

Tomato, Basil and Feta Stuffed Chicken
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup diced tomatoes (canned works better)
8 leaves of fresh basil, shredded
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons tomato basil grilling seasoning
1 tablespoon butter/earth balances butter

1. Take each chicken breast and act as if you are butterflying it - i.e. take a sharp knife to the center of breast's thickness and slice until there is about a cm left. Be sure not to slice all the way through, you want to make a pocket for your stuffing. 
 2. Within the center add half of your diced tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh basil. Rub 1 tablespoon of seasoning on top of your chicken {if you don't have tomato basil salt and pepper would work just fine!}
3. Place both chicken breasts in an oven safe dish and top with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Bake at 350 for 30-35  minutes, or until chicken is cooked fully. Baking your chicken in the oven helps to make it juicier and tender! You could also grill your chicken on top of foil, using toothpicks to keep the pocket closed!

I paired my chicken with some fresh asparagus cooked in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. And of course some Sangria after a long day of work! You could stuff your chicken with other ingredients too like spinach and bleu cheese, mozzarella and mushroom or goat cheese and chorizo. The possibilities are endless!

I am trying to detox from all of my weekend eats with huge bowls of fruit for a snack throughout the day. Watermelon, strawberries and blueberries. Fruit, especially watermelon always keeps me full!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Sometimes great meal ideas come to me in the middle of the day. Sometimes they come to me when I have leftovers that need to be revamped. Leftover tilapia almost always turns into fish tacos and leftover pot roast turns into pulled BBQ beef sammies.

Last night I came up with an idea of how to turn leftover taco meat into a new dinner! You may know that I love stuffed peppers. I have shared my meatloaf stuffed pepper recipe with you before. But this may be a new favorite stuffed pepper recipe!

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

1/2 pound ground turkey breast or lean beef
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup canned (drained) corn
half of a diced jalapeno

1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon jalapeno diced
2 tablespoons fajita mix
1/4 cup black beans

Take one red pepper (or green) and cut them in half long way. scrape out the insides. Put in the filling and top with a little reduced fat Mexican cheese. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and has browned slightly. Add all ingredients for the rice into a pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook until all water has been absorbed. Mix in black beans when cooked fully.

These are great! Half a pepper is one serving size so they are already portioned out for you! You can double the recipe if you have a pound of meat and want leftovers for lunch! Don't stop there... you could triple the recipe for a crowd ;-)

Not to brag, but yesterday when I found this picture on CL's uncle's website I instantly became obsessed. He is too adorable and I definitely think it captures how happy in love we are!

We have some pretty awesome ideas for our photo shoot in September that I need to start writing down! I love the vintage feel of all the photos on Green Wedding Shoes blog! It inspires me so much! We are lucky to have a 2 hour shoot, so we plan on doing two themes! For all of you out there who have had a photo session -  engagement or couples, what was your favorite photo like?

I grabbed the idea from LC and ran with it... here is my recipe for a sweet summertime romance to kickoff the first official day of summer!

1 Tablespoon: Grilling outdoors
3 Cups: Sunset walks around the park, hand in hand
A sprinkle of spontaneous kisses
2 Cups: Roadtrips to the beach
3 Teaspoons: Sunday brunch at a restaurant on the water
1 Pint: Laughter and Giggles
A splash of midnight swimming
1 heaping scoop of intimate romance
A pinch of wine festivals with all your favorite vendors
2 Ounces: outdoor concerts with plenty of wine, picnics and blankets to snuggle up in
1 stick of cocoa butter, lip gloss, sunglasses, over-sized hats and SPF

Directions: Mix all ingredients together over a 3 month span and fall in love!

Hope you guys are enjoying the longest day of the year! Spend it doing something you love!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recent Workouts and Coconut Milk French Toast

First and foremost Happy Father's Day!! I hope all of you have sent some love out to your Dads! It takes a strong man to raise two girls and I'm thankful for my dad and all the support he lends to me! xoxo

My dad was so proud of me at my college graduation! My sister graduated this year and is off to vet school! My parents definitely raised two strong and successful women!

Last night we went out to dinner in Little Italy to one of his fav restaurants! Chiapparellis!

Sunday Funday is in full effect. I know I have neglected my blog for almost two weeks, but I'm feeling relaxed today and ready to get back into gear! It's been busy at work and when I get home the last thing I want to do is stare at a computer after being on one for 8+ hours! So thank you for hanging in there with me!!

Lately I have been doing spin class on Thursday and Sundays! I love walking out of the gym looking like a hot mess. It means I worked out hard and strong!! Today it literally looked like I had taken a shower... long, thick hair = hot and sweaty!

Our spin instructor said something today that I really agreed with. She said you control your ride. You control your resistance. You control your results. Which is so true! Nobody but you knows how hard you are pushing yourself in spin class so make sure you aren't peddling for nothing! Make that hour count! (or 75 minutes today)

I have also been adding in arms and abs afterwards. Here are some of my favorite ab moves:

Britt and Cara's Ab Pyramid:
25 reps of sit ups with your legs flat
25 reps of sit ups with your knees bent and feet on the ground
25 reps of sit ups with your legs up, knees in
25 reps of sit ups with your legs straight in the air. Climb that rope!

Alternate Heel Touches:
Lay flat with feet on the ground, knees bent and feet on the floor. Crunch up and alternate touching your right and left heal.

Medicine Ball Twist:
Cross your ankles and lift feet off the floor, knees should also slightly be bent. With a medicine alternate sides, tapping the medicine ball on the floor.

Leg Pull in:
Lay on a workout mat with hands behind you, fingers facing your back. Lift legs out straight. Bring the knees in toward you as you move your torso closer to them at the same time.

3 sets of 1 minute planks.

Hopefully I can start adding in photos of me performing my favorite workout moves! It might have to be with my webcam!

Here is what I've been up to to catch you up!

Heading to the Annual Crawfish Party!

Chris and his gorgeous mom Kelli!
Me and my silly man with my Marc Jacob goggles on!
Many of these lil creatures were eaten!

My hottie in the pool grabbing a tan!

My bestie and I with lil Jayden! You can see how big she is getting from my About Me tab!

Me and my man relaxing in the pool!
My Breakfast this morning! Three egg whites, red pepper and mexican cheese omlette and french toast!

Coconut Milk French Toast:
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut milk, or So Delicious french vanilla coconut milk creamer (what i used)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
bread, there were leftover pieces of a french baguette i used!

Mix coconut milk, eggs and cinnamon in a bowl. Soak your bread in there making sure you get both side covered and heat in a pan on the stove until your desired doneness! Serve with Sugar free syrup!

I'm off to take the dogs for a walk and mow the lawn before catching up with CL and his family for dinner tonight! Hope you have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday {WIAW}

I'm linking up with Jen over at Peas and Crayons for this weeks WIAW!

For the past week I have been eating lots of cereal. I always switch up my breakfast (unlike all you oats lovers) but couldn't shake a big bowl of honey nut cheerios with strawberries every morning.

I know some of you say cereal can only be a snack. It never fills you up. Maybe you are eating it without ginormous strawberries on top. This holds me over until 11:30 and I just suck it up until noon.

This morning I switched it up and made me and CL blueberry pancakes (i had leftover batter from the weekend). I topped it with a heaping amount of sugar free syrup. mmmmm.

One huge, thick and dense pancake coming right up! I used frozen blueberries and trader joe's buttermilk pancake mix. To be honest, I think the best pancakes turn out when I add in some greek yogurt to the batter!

I love crock pots. Who doesn't? I even have an app on my iPhone for crock pot recipes but nothing beats the classic pot roast. Especially with local meat, because it really does beat the roasts I used to buy from the grocery store.

I cheat and use the seasoning packages but you could easily build your own.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I always sear my roast in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper before putting in the crock pot. I add in half of a white onion sliced, two medium red potatoes and celery. Other good add ins would be any root vegetable.

Add the suggested amount of water per seasoning package (3 cups), set your crock pot to low, put a dish towel over it (to secure the heat) and you have an amazing meal waiting for you when you get home.

So amazing that you won't even want to stop eating long enough to take a picture.

But no worries, it's summertime and there is no way you and your mister can eat an entire roast. So that can only mean you use the leftovers for shredded beef bbq sammys in the morning.

Yeah. you are drooling right now. Just admit it. Do you see how easily that roast was shredded. It literally fell apart when I took it out of the crock pot! CL had his on Ezekiel bread, I just couldn't do that to my bbq....I put on a potato roll.

I paired this with some no sugar added apple sauce, half and apple and some sliced berries for lunch.

I'm not going to lie. I can't wait for lunch.

What did you eat today? What's your favorite thing to cook in a crock pot?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow Tuesdays

how does your garden grow?! if you are new to my blog, every tuesday (i try!) i show you how the fruits/veggies/herbs that i have planted this season are coming along. i answer the questions i ask and give tips to how you can keep your garden healthy and thriving!

so what is growing in my garden?
roma tomatoes
yellow bell pepper

but that's not all! have a new or old post on your garden (flowers or veggie/herbs/fruits) that you want to share? link your post below! i love seeing what others are growing and seeing your tips! together, we can all grow our own food (which makes you feel pretty amazing and accomplished!)

my strawberry plants are still going strong! since i have moved them to my table i have had no problem with bugs and have new berries each week.

my basil is still kicking. make sure you water your basil daily! they love water (at least mine sure does) and if you see the leaves starting to wilt and dry up, give it some extra hydration!

if your basil plants are getting crazy big freeze the leaves immediately after you pick them. you could also grab a couple hand fulls and make homemade pesto. don't be araid to pick them! i have all season long (as you can tell) and they keep coming back!

wow is all i can say. my cantaloupe has grown extra vines, has grown extra long to where it can no longer stand up and has sprouted flowers!

yes, i totally need to weed my garden this week and buy some mulch so its prettier.

spinach is nice and big now! see how something or someone loves to nibble on the leaves? that's okay. there are plenty to go around! chance loves when i rinse a few off and give them to him.

my roma tomato plants are starting to get tall! instead of forming the cage around them, this year i am just going to twisty tie (or you could use string) them onto a stake. let's hope it works!

how tall does a roma tomato plant grow?
Under good growing conditions, you can expect your Roma tomato plant to reach about 4 feet in height. It might grow a little taller or stay a bit under this height, but determinate varieties such as the Roma typically grow to this approximate height.

how long before my roma tomatoes start to grow?
once you see flowers on your plants (my mom already has some and i gave her the same plants!) you should start to see tomatoes forming.

should i keep the cantaloupe vines off of the ground? how much should i water them?
Unlike most other plants, after the fruit begins to grow, you should actually cut back on the water. This helps to concentrate the sugars in the fruit, making for sweeter melons. Let your plants dry out just until you can detect a bit of wilt, or when the soil is dry to the touch. Fertilize regularly, with monthly applications of standard fertilizer mix.

Fruit that is growing down on the ground can be protected from early rot or other pests if you place something solid under them to keep them off the soil. Coffee can lids work well, and it keeps your fruit cleaner too.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday Funday and Kabobs

Sunday funday was in full effect yesterday!

I woke up at 1 pm (yes, even CL was shocked and said something because i never sleep that late). Usually I am up for hours by myself before that boy wakes up!

After shoving my face with honey nut cheerios and strawberries, straightening my hair and changing 3 times I left to hang out with my blogger bff Jess at Stylish Stealthy and Healthy. btw. her blog is amazing and she is hilarious so if you haven't checked it out, it is one of my all time favs.

Did you ever have a pen pal as a little kid and wonder what they were like in person?

I have always heard of people meeting up for "blogger dates" like Katie and Sara but never took the plunge myself. Idk... maybe it's because I have watched the movie Craigslist Killer on Lifetime a time or two, or maybe because I didn't want people to think I don't have any real friends... let's be honest. 90% of  the people I talk to on Twitter are my blogger friends and you guys are what keeps me sane halfway through my work day!

Thankfully she didn't turn out to be socially awkward or the next Blogger Killer. Meeting Jess was actually a way too short visit of 2 hours and like meeting up with one of those best friends you haven't seen in awhile, but pick up exactly where you left off.

The second I saw her in H&M we couldn't stop talking, joking and laughing and I can honestly say I have made a new best friend (in person) haha

After trying on one too many dresses in the hot dressing room of H&M we were off to grab some frozen yogurt. This poor girl had never experienced frozen yogurt walls where you can mix and match your flavors and add all the toppings your little heart desires. She obviously needs to pack her bags and move!

Cake Batter, PB and Raspberry Tart for me and Cake Batter and PB for Jess!

It felt so good to have someone who also carried around their cameras everywhere they go and who didn't give me the crazy eye as I took a picture of my food!

Of course it was also nice to experience someone who enjoyed parking lot photo shoots as much as me. Isn't she gorgeous! And we were the same height... don't believe her when she says she is freakishly tall (that means I would be too). All in all, her and I plan on making this a monthly meet up. She is only 2 hours away and I would gladly drive an hour to hang out with her in a second!

After she left I was off to the store to pick up grilling essentials. I was in the mood to grill. You can never go wrong with grilling. No clean up? No dishes? Count. Me. In.

Steak Kabobs with Caribbean Jerk marinade 

If you have never made kabobs before it is important to soak your bamboo sticks in water before assembling them! That way they don't burn!

I used steak, button mushrooms, green peppers, and precooked potatoes. I places them all (minus the green peppers) in the marinade - different bowls for steak and veggies for 45 minutes while I lit the grill.

Yes! I lit the grill all by myself. CL was at work until later so this girl lit the gas grill all by herself. And I only managed to burn a few arm hairs off lol I joke...

CL kept saying. "Honey, this marinade is so good. No seriously, I love these things!" I used store bought because I was exhausted from shoving mounds of frozen yogurt into my mouth earlier but here is a recipe you should try out!

1 ts Steak sauce
4 ts Fresh lime juice
3 ts Allspice
2 tb Green Onions; chopped
1/2 ts Cinnamon
1 tb Honey
3 Jalapeno chiles; stems and seeds
1/2 ts Nutmeg
2 tb Water
1/4 ts Salt

Blend all ingredients together in a blender and pour over your veggies/protein before grilling for at least a half hour!

What did you guys do this weekend? Have you ever met up with a Blogger bff?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Healthy Comfort Food

woohoo! it's friday and the work day is over! fridays in advertising usually mean half days - but we haven't seen any so far (hint hint).

this weekend is supposed to have gorgeous weather too - in the low 80s! perfect running weather which is good because i need to catch up on some miles!

i brought my running shoes with me to the beach intending to wake up and run every morning... staying with 8 guys i thought one of them would definitely love to get in a morning workout. nope. i went solo. only one day... of three mornings.

i could definitely get used to running next to the bay! those rum runners held me back from waking up early!

luckily a month ago i found a park one street down from my house (yes, i know i am blind) which has now become my home away from home. i love running in the summertime on trails where you can smell the honeysuckle! i definitely am not a long distance runner, but i try to do at least 3-4 miles a session!

i woke up this morning, took a walk outside and found this lil guy hanging out on my cilantro plant!

how crazy is that? luckily my car was only a couple feet away and i always have a camera in my purse!

a lot of you asked where i got the dresses for dinner and wine in the woods... Forever 21! i hope i can shop there for another 10 years without it looking too young because they have a bajillion different dresses in the summer and they are all under 20 bucks!

it's good to stock up on a few plain summer dresses because you can always layer accessories with them. i like to add color with a fun bib necklace or chandelier earrings (my fav)!

Thanks to Cait at Beyond Bananas I was craving the ultimate comfort food for dinner.... Sloppy Joes. I can't remember the last time I ate that!

How good does that look? Run an extra 1/2 mile and pick up some potato rolls because they are only 50 more calories than your sandwich thins and we all know they taste amazing with comfort food like this!

Make the sloppy joes with turkey and add lots of fresh veggies like jalapeno, onions, grated carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes.

Healthy Turkey Sloppy Joes

1 lb lean ground turkey (i always use ground turkey breast, it is the leanest)
2/3 cup onion
1/2 cup green pepper
2 jalapeno peppers
1 cup no-salt-added ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon mustard powder
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 Remove seeds from jalapeno peppers and dice.
2 Dice onion and green pepper.
3 Sauté onion, jalapenos and green pepper in EVO then set aside.
4 Cook ground turkey crumbling into little pieces.
5 Drain and return to pan.
6 Over med-high heat add all of the ingredients into the pan.
7 Stir mixture for 3-5 minute.
8 Lower heat to low and simmer for 5-10 min to fuse flavors.
9 Serve on either crusty rolls or hamburger buns.
10 Leave out the jalapeno if you don't like it hot. If you do throw in 2 more.
11 Additions: Try adding diced tomatoes or olives and top with cheese if you so desire.

i'm off to go mow the grass... I expect a call from CL in 15 because he reminded me 5 times on the phone to be careful and not cut any of my toes off! hopefully i can squeeze in a small run afterwards!