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Whew, what a weekend!

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This weekend went SO quickly!  Here’s the lowdown on all the happenings over in TresLaLa Land:

Thursday

I did an hour of shopping at the Ann Taylor Factory Store (everything was 40% off!).  I ended up with a seersucker blazer, 2 short faux-wrap dresses (1 navy & cream stripe and 1 navy & pink design), 1 long black & white stripe maxi dress, plus 3 dresses that I got for a friend’s wedding in Seattle this weekend and a pair of shoes to go with one of those dresses.  But, I’ve since decided to wear my standby wedding attending dress…  It fits well, matches a wrap that I have (Seattle’s going to be COLD!), and best of all, it’s free!  So, returning 2 of the 3 dresses that I got for the wedding, and keeping one for my friend’s baby shower in May.

Then I headed off to Safire Bistro in Camarillo, CA for dinner.  I had a Living Social deal for $60 off dinner.  Woot!  The table of 6 ladies (yay for Girls’ Night Out!) shared an appetizer of sautéed mushrooms with Parmesan and fried olives (holy yum!).  I then had a field greens salad with goat cheese added and a sausage wood-fired pizza.  The salad was good (of course), but the pizza was a bit runny.  The piece de resistance, however, was the shared bananas foster for dessert.  2 bites and I was feeling really good.

Friday:

I bailed on my personal trainer, and went to the grocery store, then home to clean, before we were having 3 friends over to carbo-load for our 10K the next morning.  Yes.  I know.  No need to carbo-load for a race that short.  But OH, was it good!  I got some fresh herb & cheese tortellini as well as some linguine, and mixed up 2 different kinds of sauces – a red sauce and a pesto-alfredo sauce.  Served with salad and my Mom’s famous garlic bread, of course.   None of this (besides the salad, I suppose) is healthy.  But oooh, so good.

Mom’s Famous Garlic Bread

1 loaf French bread, cut in 1″ wide slices — this works best with thick loaves, not the really thin ones
1/2 c Butter (1 stick)
2 tsp Parsley flakes (1 tsp if dried)
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Dill weed

Melt the butter & mix in the spices.  Place the loaf on a “bed” of aluminum foil.  Brush the mixture on each slice using a pastry brush; brush some on the top.  Wrap the bread in the foil & bake for 15 minutes at 400*.  Voila!

After dinner, we watched The Adventures of TinTin.  Eh, not my favorite.  I fell asleep a few times…

 Saturday

Up bright and early for the Great Race of Agoura Old Agoura 10K.  I’ve done this race 5 times.  Well, I’ve done the 10K 3 times, and one of the 2 (two!) half-marathons twice.  I’ve since decided that 10K is really the furthest that my body will allow me to go.  So that’s what I stick with now.

We parked at a local school, and walked to the starting line, which is in the middle of a subdivision.  There were 2 heats for the 10K – we stayed in the 2nd heat because I wasn’t going to average sub-9 minute miles!  The run was fantastic.  Great volunteers with about 3 water stops.  Cheering sections.  Cops everywhere.  Really well run.  I really wanted one of the volunteer’s T-shirts:  They were bright neon yellow and said “Run Great Race Great”.  How fantastic is that?!?

Overall, I think I did fairly well for not really training.  I’ve been doing a lot of Pilates and working out with my trainer, but not so much cardio.  My chip time was 1:16:18.7 (works out to a 12.25 minute mile — considering the hills, that’s actually pretty good for me).  I beat the hubby by 7 seconds.

The best cheer that I’d heard from a Volunteer?

Charlie Sheen would be SO proud of you… because you’re Winning!

Love!  I definitely cheered after that one!

The after-party was fantastic.  SO.Much.Food!  The race is sponsored by Dole, so they had juices, orange cups, and bananas, but there were  a bunch of other places out there too!  Whole Foods did either pancakes or crepes made to order, Pizza Salad was serving up organic cheese pizza, Bruegger’s Bagels had… bagels, and Great Harvest was slicing up some great bread.  Not to mention the probiotic yogurt drink and the Energy drink that I’ve forgotten the name of (but definitely stocked up on).  Got my picture taken with the Lorax, and if I’d been a kid I would have LOVED the bouncy houses.  There were like 5 of them — super fancy ones too!

All-in-all, this was a fantastic race.  Didn’t help my cause that I’ve been sore all weekend (mostly in my core, which is super weird).  Pictures will be posted on Thursday, so I’ll show you how awesome I look when running.  (And my Lorax picture!)

Saturday evening Matt & I went out for Indian food, then went home and watched Water for Elephants.  Really liked the movie, but the scene with the elephant and August was really hard.  I started crying!

Sunday

Up fairly early, super sore, and made breakfast – scrambled eggs (3 eggs, 3 egg whites) with spinach, tomatoes, and black olives.  Read the paper, then headed off to pick up some friends to go to Ikea.  They were buying some cabinets to make a bar, and I needed a few things.  Unfortunately, the 2 things I really “needed” were both out.  Booo.

Then at 5:30 they came over again, we had some appetizers, then headed off to see The Hunger Games.  It was SO good.  Really good.  They did a really good job with it.  But now I’m peeved that I need to wait >500 days for the 2nd one to come out.  Don’t they realize that I’m obsessed?

Phew.  Jam-packed weekend.  And now I’m ready to tackle the week!  And it’s a short one — we’re headed to Seattle for a wedding on Friday morning!

What I Ate Wednesday – Take 5

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Boy, was I exhausted this morning.  I just could not get out of bed!  So, I ended up missing my first 2 meetings.  Which was fine – I was not a required attendee. I hate missing meetings though.  And then, I thought my next meeting didn’t start until 9:30 – whoops.  Started at 9 – so I was 17 (!) minutes late.  Darn computer.  Takes FOR.EVER to start up!

So, I’m going to admit it… Because I know that you’ve missed me.  I haven’t been blogging.  And I forgot (FORGOT!) it was What I Ate Wednesday.

I promise that I’ll make it up to you.  But I cannot guarantee that I’ll be blogging daily.

So, my pictures are a bit regurgitated from previous weeks — up until the most important meal, anyway… Dinner!

But, we have to start at the beginning:

Breakfast = Decaf coffee (I’m weaning myself off caffeine) with skim milk & cinnamon plus a cup of oatmeal, peanut butter, strawberry jelly, topped with granola

I’m afraid, I can’t find any pics of that.  Boo.

Lunch was a sandwich at Whole Foods – avocado, arugula, goat cheese, tomato on an olive ciabatta roll.  Mmmm.

Roll with avocado, goat cheese, arugula, tomato, olive oil, salt & pepper.

For dinner, I was in the mood for some comfort food.  So I made… wait for it… Sloppy Joe’s.  AND, sweet potato fries!

I made the same recipe last week – and it was a total hit – so I just looked it up again, with my own twists, of course:

Sloppy Joes

Adapted from All Recipes

  • 1 pound Ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 Red onion, chopped
  • 1 large Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, pressed
  • 3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 c Organic ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Spray dutch oven with olive oil.  Sautee garlic, onion and red pepper.  Add turkey once the onion is translucent.  Using a baster, remove any extra liquid.
  2. Mix in mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar, as well as salt & pepper.
  3. Let simmer on low for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Meanwhile, I sliced up a sweet potato, first in half, then into wedges.  I coated the potatoes in an herb olive oil, then topped with salt & pepper.  These were cooked at 400* for 30 minutes (same as the Joes).  I flipped these twice during baking.
While that was ongoing, I mixed some homemade Cilantro pesto with mayonnaise for a cilantro aioli.  Mmmm, good stuff!
I toasted some multi-grain buns in the oven for about 2 minutes, then plated the Joes on the buns.

Dinner is SERVED!

All paired with a home-brewed OctoberFEAST.  Mmmm.  Note that Mason was the muse for this beer…
Dessert was baked apples – 1 for each of us.  With the oven at 375*, I placed 2 cored apples (sliced in half) with the flat-side down in a baking dish.  Topped with a sprinkle of brown sugar, and baked for 25 minutes.
Served with some granola on top.  I loved them, because they remind me of the apples my mom used to make.  The hubby prefers them “flipped” – baked with the flat part UP.  That makes them cook a bit more even.  I like a bit of tough “skin” though, with a really soft interior.  It’s  a texture thing, I suppose.
Tastes like fall!
Beware for pumpkin carving tomorrow!

Cooking rampage up in here!

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Yes, that’s right.  I went on a cooking rampage this evening.

I got some pictures.  I had some tastes.  I’m pretty sure I said this a few times:

These are never going to work…

But, friends.  They did.  And they were yummy.

Dinner tonight, sadly, did not get any pictures taken of it.  But it was kind of epic:

Large frozen shrimp (already deveined), thawed & peeled by yours truly, marinated for about 30 minutes in Cilantro Pesto.  While that marinated, I steamed some corn on the cob and sautéed some red and yellow bell peppers.  The shrimps were then sautéed – really just cooked on 1 side, then flipped, then done.  Shrimp and peppers were placed on corn tortillas with non-fat Fage yogurt.  Corn-on-the-cob on the side, with butter, salt & pepper.

Holy yum, batman!

Cilantro Pesto

Adapted from All Recipes

  • Bunch of Cilantro, stems cut as close to the leaves as possible
  • 1 Tbsp White vinegar
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red pepper
  • 12 pine nuts (that’s all I had!)
  • Salt
  • Olive oil – Between 1/3 and 1/2 cup

Food process the heck out of all the above (except oil).  Add oil slowly until you reach desired consistency.  Slather all over everything.  EVERYTHING.

You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the true star of the show…

Banana Protein Souffles

What I Ate Wednesday – Take 2

Today has been a bit of a whirlwind…  I feel like a crazy person running around with my head cut off (or, err, is that a chicken?).  See crazy person, right here…

Early morning meetings, a big project sent in at the end of the day, swimming at noon, jogging after work, pup walks, dinner, AND we have to pick up the house, because tomorrow is the best day of the month!  The cleaners are coming, the cleaners are coming!  (Sung in the form of The Jerk‘s phone book, of course…)  <– Big dork.

Anyway, the house needs a good tidying, and I need to finish up a bunch of laundry before they come.  Nothing better than a house completely pulled together (and cleaned by someone else!).

But, let’s get down to business…  It’s What I Ate Wednesday!

I started my day with a cup of iced coffee on my way to work.

Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, pineapple, peanut butter, and granola.  The strawbs were hidden under the oatmeal, so they got all nice and warm!

On my way to swimming, I had a Luna Protein Bar with some agua.

Lunch was leftover tilapia from last night, served with some tabouli, with a sprinkle of non-fat feta cheese.

Lunch dessert = watermelon!  Love me some lunch dessert!

The pups were interested in saying “Hi!” today!  Please disregard my hubby’s make-shift brewing area on the fire pit!

Afternoon snack was a chunk of Irish soda bread, Apple cinnamon flavor.  Do you see Mason’s tongue there?!?  He’s such a goof!

Dinner was another winner!  I am on a roll this week, friends!  Tonight I made:

Crab Cakes with Red Pepper-Basil Tartar Sauce
Adapted from Coastal Living – September 2010
Serves 4

  • 8 oz Fresh lump crabmeat, drained & picked (I used some that I found in my fish section of the grocery)
  • 1 Green onion, sliced
  •  1/2 c Crushed saltine crackers (this is 10 crackers)
  • 2 T Mayonnaise (I used vegan)
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh ground pepper
  • Dash Salt
  • 1/2 c Whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • Sprinkles of Garlic Gold
  • 2 Tbsp Canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp Prepared tartar sauce
  • 5 leaves of Basil
  • 1 tsp Red pepper
  1. Stir together crabmeat, onion, crackers, mayo, pepper & salt.
  2. Shape into 4 patties.  Place breadcrumbs & Garlic gold in shallow dish & dredge both sides of patties.  Fry in hot oil (I did 2 patties at a time, using 1 Tbsp oil for each “batch”) 2 minutes each side or until golden.
  3. Drain on paper towels.
  4. To make fancy-schmancy tartar sauce, slice basil into prepared tartar sauce, and add enough red pepper to give it a kick.  (Benefit of this is you don’t need to use a lot of it!)
All that, served with some Soda Stream Diet Cola and steamed green beans (microwaved!) on the side.
I’m being summonsed to help pick up…  Cheers!

Winner, Winner… Fish dinner!

I’ve thought a lot lately about the best ways for me to make sure that I hit my weight loss goals this year.  And basically, I have decided to keep doing what I’ve done recently:
  • Eating on plan
  • Working out
  • Staying positive
  • Focusing on myself
  • Blogging!*
* Sorry, kids.  You can’t get rid of me that easily!

Boneless, skinless Tilapia? Really?

I know that I need to get a bit more creative in the kitchen.  And by creative, I mean I need to try to make more simple meals during the week – with a plan!

So, in planning this week’s meals, I chose all new recipes.  Last night’s was a complete hit!  Super Yum Sauce was still good at lunch today.  Yes, it’s that good, folks.  I could lap it up.  Seriously.

Tonight I had planned on this fantastic tilapia recipe…

Pre-baking: Check out those chunks of garlic! But, it was perfect - not too much!

When buying tilapia, there are a number of different options out there.  However, only farm-raised USA-grown tilapia is considered sustainable from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

TILAPIA

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
SEAFOOD RATING MARKET NAMES WHERE CAUGHT HOW CAUGHT
Tilapia Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Izumidai U.S. Farmed
Tilapia Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Izumidai Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras Farmed
Tilapia Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Izumidai China, Taiwan Farmed

Source

I think it’s extremely important to buy sustainable food.  And for me, fish is one of the easiest.  If you shop at Whole Foods, they have a little sticker on the tag of the fish indicating where it came from and if it’s sustainable.  My local grocery store, Sprout’s, indicates where everything came from, and whether it’s farmed or wild.  Using either the Seafood Watch App on my iPhone or Android, or the Seafood Watch Pocket Guides, I find it really easy to make a great choice that I know is better for the environment and healthier.

Greek Tilapia Florentine
Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine 

  • 3  five oz Tilapia filets
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 Green onions, chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1.5 tbsp Olive oil
  • 10 oz Baby spinach
  • 1/3 c Low-fat Feta cheese

Sautéing green onions...

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Lay filets in a baking dish.  Top with tomatoes, sliced garlic & parsley.  Squeeze lemon over fish.  Cover with foil; bake for 20 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily.
  3. In a large, deep skillet, heat oil.  Sauté green onions and chopped/pressed garlic for a minute.  Reduce heat and add spinach.  Cook until wilted (about 3 to 5 minutes).  Add feta and heat until melted.
  4. Place 1/3 of spinach/feta mixture on each plate, top with fish & tomatoes.

Wilted spinach, green onions, garlic & feta

I didn’t buy enough spinach, so ours was a bit short.  The leftover tilapia filet will be served with tabouli, since I only made enough spinach for 2 servings…

Final product - A winner for the rotation!

Finished the evening with a cupcake.  Turns out the hubby didn’t take them into work today, and I just had to have just 1 more!  But, I made him promise that he had to take them in tomorrow…  They just cannot stay in this house!

Do you care where your fish / beef / chicken come from and whether they are sustainable?   How does it affect your grocery shopping & eating out?

Holy Cupcake, Batman!

Until recently (umm, Sunday), I don’t recall ever making a baked good from scratch.  And then I did.  And those Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting were good, my friends.

But they’re not this good:

Yikes.

This is for 1 cupcake – I took Jenna’s recipe, doubled it and entered it into Calorie King, with 18 servings.  I then took her recipe for the frosting, doubled it, and entered it in with 24 servings (’cause there was a lot left once we finished frosting those cakes).  And even though I’ve counted my little calories for years now, and I knew as I was putting in the butter and the oil, and the cream cheese, that there were an awful lot of calories in those things, for some reason because I was using fresh ingredients, wholesome ingredients (whole wheat flour!), that it would somehow zero out, and I’d be left with something other than a calorie bomb.

But they are a calorie bomb, my friends.

I won’t make that mistake again!  From now on:

Calorie King first, stand mixer second.

Luckily, the hubby took the rest into work today, so I won’t have any temptations this evening.  Of course, that’s after he had 1 for Breakfast dessert, 1 for Lunch dessert, and a 3rd for Dinner dessert yesterday.  Yeah, there might be 2 sweet-tooths in the house!

Super Yum Sauce

I stayed up too late last night, watching documentaries on the Terrorist attacks.  Which made for a very difficult Monday morning, with 7 AM meetings.  And, it was a telepresence meeting…  If you’ve never been in a telepresence meeting, just don’t schedule one for 7 AM on a Monday.  Ever.  It’s mean.

It’s a super fancy video conference, where it appears that the people in the other site are sitting opposite the table from you.  Seriously.  The technology is amazing.  However, despite the amazing technology, no one thought to add a filter when it’s 7 AM Pacific time (my time) and 3 PM UK time.  Our colleagues were all wide awake & refreshed, and the circles under my eyes just could NOT be covered this morning!  I did wake up in time to get fully ready for work, which has been a challenge lately.  Got a few compliments on my new hairstyle, and the Exec. Director remarked about how cute my dress was!  It really does pay to get ready for work in the morning!

TinyLaLa Check-in Day!

Moving forward, I’m going to use Mondays as my check-in day…  That’ll bring me some consistency and remind me that I can’t just go hog-wild over the weekend.  (Not that I did this weekend – I think I did pretty well, even if I didn’t move my body much yesterday, I did 2 workouts on both Friday and Saturday, and made good choices food-wise).

Weight:  208 pounds

Plan for the week:  It’s Triathlon Taper Time, kids!

  • Monday:  Pilates
  • Tuesday:  Weight training
  • Wednesday:  Swimming & 2 mile run
  • Thursday:  15 mile cycle
  • Friday:  Weight training
  • Saturday:  REST – Parents arrive!
  • Sunday:  Nautica Malibu Triathlon – Sprint distance (.5 mile swim, 18 mile bike, 4 mile run)
Food Plan for the week is on track!  Post on the meal planning process later this week – promise!

Dinner Tonight!

We started the week with this amazing recipe, adapted from Cooking Light‘s June 2011 issue:
Pineapple Chicken Satay
Serves:  4.  Serve with:  Brown Rice & Green veg
  • 1/4 cup Lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup Natural-style crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 pound Chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1.5 cups diced pineapple
  • 1/3 c chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbsp Dried cilantro (or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp Ground red pepper
  1. Combine soy sauce, chili sauce, and peanut butter in a bowl & stir.
  2. Combine oil, curry, and chicken in a 2nd bowl; toss to coat.  Skewer chicken onto 6″ skewers.
  3. Grill over medium heat, about 4 minutes each side.
  4. Combine pineapple, onion, cilantro, lemon juice & red pepper in a 3rd bowl & stir.
  5. Serve chicken with sauce and pineapple salsa.
This recipe was amazing.  The hubby thought the sauce was a bit salty, but I thought it matched the sweetness of the pineapple salsa really well.  I believe I referred to it as “Super Yum Sauce” a few times during dinner.  And I’m pretty sure I tried to offer some to my dog, because I think every being should experience Super Yum Sauce.  Yes, it’s that good.

Pineapple salsa, flavors mixing...

Once we finished eating (I served it with brown rice, but didn’t make any veg), I cut up some celery stalks, just so that I could finish up the sauce that was on my plate.  I lapped it up.  And then I used some of the pineapple salsa as a “chip” to dip it in.  So good, my friends.  So good.
Of course, dinner wouldn’t be complete without my last cupcake (I forgot to take the cupcakes into work today, but the hubby will do it tomorrow).

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Err, I take that back…

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Tread lightly on the previous recipe, my friends.  I’ve led you astray.

It might have been the pepitas (it WAS the pepitas…), or it might have been that I cooked it for 45 minutes (not 30 – 40 minutes) (it WAS definitely overcooked), or it could have been that I used 1/2 quick oats, when I should have used all rolled oats, or it could have been that there was just not enough wetness to make it perfect (next time = more applesauce AND more agave), but this was just NOT good, my friends.

Overly dry, overly pepita-y (yes, that’s a word!), and overly yuck.

Sorry.  I take back my “easy peasy”.  I screwed up the easy peasy.

On the upside:  My house smells amazing.  If you’re selling your home, DEFINITELY make some granola the morning of an open house!

Who am I today?

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‘Cause I just took a break, and MADE some granola.  Boo-yah!  Seriously, this is big news.  My breaks usually consist of a run to the restroom, a cup of coffee or tea, and some blog reading…  But this time, I felt inspired! 


So, I Googled agave granola recipe…  and what comes up, but an awesome-sounding agave granola recipe.  (Imagine that!)  Thanks to Kathy Nichols at the Healthy Habits Coach Blog for the inspiration!  I’ve modified her recipe a bit to fit what I had in the kitchen — most notably halving the amount of oats, since I was running low on rolled oats (the horror!) and had to add in some quick oats to make up for even that deficit…  


And now I present:


Agave-Applesauce Granola
Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oats (preferred = rolled oats; I had 1.25 cup rolled oats, and subbed in 1.75 cups quick oats — fingers crossed!)
  • 1 cup walnut halves (crushed by hand!) – could also use raw almonds or pecans!  (Just make sure that yours aren’t rancid…  ’cause mine maybe could have been were)
  • 1/4 c each of an assortment of nuts in our pantry:  pepitas, slivered almonds, and pine nuts
  • 1/4 c ground flax seed
  • I plan to add 1/3 c dried cranberries once it’s done cooking…  You could sub in any other dried fruit. 
  • Optional:  1/4 c unsweetened coconut, but OH, that texture!  Blech.



Wet Ingredients & spices:

  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce (as recommended by Kathy, I used an individual cup — LOVE!)
  • A little less than 1/4 c agave nectar (apparently honey, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup would also do the trick, but I wanted to use my agave!)
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1/2 T Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 T Ground ginger
  • 4 whirls of the salt grinder (about 1/2 t)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300*.
  • Add all dry ingredients into a large bowl & mix (or not).  
  • Add all the wet ingredients & spices in a separate bowl & combine.  (Or, do it like me and mistakenly put the cinnamon into the dry ingredients…  I’m sure it’ll be fine.)  
  • Pour the wet ingredient mixture over the dry ingredients & mix.  I find that this is best done by hand — mushing style.   Yes, that’s a very technical term.  
  • Pour into jelly-roll pans.  I sprayed mine with a bit of olive oil spray, just in case…  
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes.  (Do not bake for 45 minutes and stir every 15, cause otherwise it’ll be a bit darker brown than you want, and you’ll be afraid to show pictures.  Ahem…)  
  • Add in fruit (or chocolate chips!) once cool.  
  • Store in the fridge, if you don’t eat it all immediately.
Easy, peasy.  
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