Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Taco Night and Banana Muffins

Why do so many guys LOVE tacos? I mean, I love tacos, but Brian LOOOOOVES tacos!! So he was way excited when I mentioned we make tacos the other night with the ground turkey we had in the freezer!

It must be all the fun toppings and things you can add! I new I was going to make mine into a kickass taco salad…and kickass it was!

It all started with the salad spinner. Seriously what did I do before I had this baby? I know, I would use like 1/4 roll of paper towels to dry my lettuce!


washed, dried, and chopped Green leaf lettuce into my bowl.


The rest into the bag for use throughout the week.


The spinner used again for the cilantro! I LOVE cilantro and I love when I can add it fresh to a meal, but I hate having to buy a big bunch of it to use just a little.


This is my salad prepped before adding the “taco”


I cooked a package of ground turkey breast with a little olive oil (it was very lean), then added:

  • a package of taco seasoning (I found the McCormick brand to have the least “crap” in it)
  • 1 can black beans
  • and some green pepper strips


After simmering for about 5min, it was done and we started building our dinners.

To my prepped salad I added:

  • turkey/bean/pepper mixture
  • grated cheese
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • hot sauce
  • fresh cilantro
  • some crushed tortilla chips


This salad was AWESOME!!!!!!!!


While making my salad I also made another for lunch the next day…perfect!

Brian wants “taco night” added to the frequent rotation :)

I decided after dinner, it was about time for some muffins seeing as I had 4 lovely over-ripe bananas just hanging around


Banana Muffins 12-27-09

In a large mixing bowl combine:

  • 1 1/2 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 c. Oat Bran
  • 1/3 c. Hazelnut Meal
  • 1/4 c. APF
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • shakes of Cinnamon and Nutmeg

    In a Separate Bowl Combine:
  • 1 egg
  • 4 very ripe Bananas – mashed (if you have less banana you may need to increase the agave/sugar and oil a little)
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/3 c. Apple Sauce
  • 2 T Canola Oil
  • 3 T Agave Nectar (might add 1 more Tbsp next time)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
    (p.s. this powdered buttermilk is GREAT to keep on hand when needing to bake with it. No more buying a carton of buttermilk just for that 1 cup.)

    Add wet ingredients to dry and add:
  • Chocolate Chips – approx. 1/4 cup
  • Chopped Walnuts – approx. 1/3 cup

    Mix until just combined (don’t over-mix!)
    Spray muffin tin with canola oil spray (or other cooking spray), and fill with batter.

  • Top muffins with Raw sugar and/or dry oats
  • Bake for 18min at 375 degrees

I had extra batter and made a mini loaf:



As usual these are not super sweet like muffins from a bakery, but they are moist and banana-y and perfect for breakfast. If your used to traditional sweet baked goods, add more agave or a little sugar.

I like my muffins to taste like breakfast not dessert :)


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas morning (those who celebrate it anyways :)  Was Santa good to you???

I’ve had a whole week full of festivities, so we’ll have a short short re-cap so I can get to the goods from Christmas and Christmas Eve.

First…my fun Forever 21 ensemble for the cocktail party last weekend.

I didn’t really want to buy a new dress but I wanted some more “fun” than “fancy” and this white strapless dress with silver floral motif was perfect and festive, especially with the “fur” shrug ;)


Love using the timer on the camera


Before the party we (me, Brian, and Jocy), had a little dinner at this new restaurant, Post 390, in the city.  It was awesome and deserves its own post….so that will have to wait for now.

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Some of the girls…


a few boys… (they were all in the wedding too!)


Oh the boys…


Moving along… Monday night, Brian, my Mom, and I went to Symphony Hall to see the Boston Pops Holiday show!!

I haven’t been to Symphony Hall since I was maybe 7?  It’s so pretty inside.

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The music was fantastic and you could tell everyone in there was in the holiday spirit!  At the end they even had a sing-along complete with the words on a screen to follow along!


Now to the loot…

Brian and I did our gifts Christmas Eve morning since it was going to be our only alone time for a while.

He went all out…what a great husband:)

  • Grey fleece Welly Socks for my Wellies
  • Cropped pants from LuLu Lemon!!!  (I was hoping for these)
  • Lulu Lemon running gloves and neck warmer

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Then he goes upstairs to the big closet which has had an “Off Limits” sign on it for a couple weeks.

He comes down with something wrapped in my old pink comforter:


What the???


It’s a nice outdoor umbrella for our patio!!!  Awesome!!! 


with a nice sturdy base!  I can’t wait to put this up outside!!


Un pictured was a base for the new cappuccino machine, but right the base + machine doesn’t fit under our cabinets…hmmm.

Then the biggie…oh yes!


My very own 7 1/4 qt Le Creuset Dutch Oven!!

Don’t worry the husband made out as well!  I got him:

  • a tool belt
  • drill bit set
  • an electric Orbital Sander
  • a huge Craftsman Tool storage chest

Can you tell there was a theme?  Can you tell we have a house now hahah!?

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning at Mom’s. 

She, um, downsized the tree this year haha… its still cute though.


Willow’s Stocking :)    Mom’s stocking, with the over flow wrapped next to it.

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Then my ginourmous stocking hehe


and my “overflow”…yeah she went crazy with the stocking stuffers this year.


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Thanks mom!!!! 

I also received:

  • another pair of Welly socks haha, I guess every time I walked by them in Nordstrom I dropped hints to her and Brian. 
  • a pink Cashmere sweater.
  • new Christmas PJ’s!
  • and mom got Brian and I an escape ladder thing to keep in our bedroom since it’s on the 2nd floor.  Such a mom gift…now she “doesn’t have to worry”.

Willow loved her new toy.

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I really want to run, but it’s COLD…we’ll see if that happens.  This afternoon we’re off to my aunts for Christmas dinner!

Then tomorrow it’s Day after shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Love the day after…oh yes!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmastime Craziness Dinners

It was the week before Christmas…and there are just not enough hours in the day!!

However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t found the time to make a few delicious dinners. Here’s a little recap of the week in food. 2 fairly quick and easy dinners and 1 longer.

Sometime last week we new we were going to have the pork chops we were letting thaw out, but didn’t know exactly how we were going to make them. I knew I had some red and green peppers so I wanted some sort of Italian dish.

Dinner #1: Cue Mario Batali and his Zingara!

I had never heard of it but it sounded easy and delicious!


My pork chops were on the thicker side than what the recipe called for but it was fine. They were seasoned and dredged in flour, then browned on both sides in a pan with some olive oil.

After taking them out, and deglazing with some white wine, the peppers and onions were added, as well as the rest of the ingredients (minus olives, didn't have any).


Then the pork chops were added backIMG_7446

This simmered for a few, then served over brown rice (easy Trader Joes microwavable pack of brown rice…those things are awesome!!), as well as some Brussels we roasted.

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That night I also figured out how to fix a cookie craving. I frequently want a HOT chocolate chip cookie and it never happens haha.

So I toasted up a Kashi Heart 2 Heart waffle, added a few choc. chips after, and dipped in Maple Syrup!


This TOTALLY satisfied that craving and then some with the syrup….I LOVE real maple syrup!

Dinner #2: Veggie Lasagna! (using the “wing-it” method :)

I have been wanting to make a pan of lasagna for a while and when I took off Tuesday from work to get some Christmas shopping done I knew that would be the day.

I roasted some zucchini, red peppers, and onion with some olive oil, S&P.

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Roasted at 400 for about 30min.

I made a quick sauce, somewhat based off this recipe which is an awesome fast sauce!

However I realized I had a can of crushed tomatoes with Basil. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing but I think the pre-basiled tomatoes made this ending up tasting more like a jarred sauce than homemade. Not bad by any means just not exactly what I was hoping for.

I also added some frozen spinach to get more veggies in there!


To the ricotta, I added a mix of sundried tomatoes and fresh basil chopped in the food processor.


Part-skim ricotta with tomato and basil mixture.


Layer it up! I had no rhyme or reason to this layering. I also used uncooked noodles…I like it better when they just absorb the liquid from the other ingredients and I knew there would be enough between the sauce and the veggies.

I added a little shredded mozzarella in the layering too.


Side salad of mixed greens, tomato, and mixed olives with a dressing of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.


Mmmm melty.

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The roasted vegetables really made this dish! It was really good and provided leftovers for lunches many days this week :) I was definitely missing the tomato-y garlicky sauce I wanted but oh well.

Dinner #3: Compliments of Trader Joes…


Brian bought this Mandarin Orange Chicken once and LOVED it. So we got it again and I decided to cook it up last night and since I was home first I wanted it all ready by the time he got home.

I also steamed some broccoli to add to the chicken…gotta add veggies!


And once again some TJ’s brown rice. Note: I like TJ’s brown rice that comes in the little bowl packs better than this one, but this worked.


I used the oven method instead of frying to keep it as healthy as I could.


Sauce packets…heated in the microwave and added at the end.


I added the sauce to the cooked chicken and steamed broccoli.


Served on brown rice! SO EASY and really flavorful! This is great when you have a Chinese Food craving but don't want all the greasy calories that come with it.


P.S. Still LOVING Body Combat and Body Pump!! My friend who I go with even said she’s noticed a little more tone in my arms….SCORE!!

Also made it to Hot Yoga last weekend…every time I go I wonder why I don’t go more often, I love it!! I really want to get there again before Christmas.

Fun Christmas Cocktail party tonight!! Picked up a fun dress at Forever 21 ;) Gotta love that place for awesome party dresses under $30!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!! Last Minute shopping?? Anyone have good $20 Yankee Swap ideas??