Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tacos to Clear the Sinuses

Ever since our last “Taco Night” I’ve been waiting for the right time to have a repeat of that delicious dinner!  Healthy doesn’t always come to mind when you hear the word Taco, but when you use lean ground turkey, add some black beans, lots of veggies, and avocado you have yourself a nutrition-packed meal with lots of protein and fiber. 

The Trader Joes near me always has a little section of shelves with their “new products” and a month or so ago I saw they had their own Taco Seasoning mix!  Perfect!

TACO(stole this from Google images)

It’s been sitting in our pantry just waiting for Taco Night to return.

Sunday night was the night!  I wanted to do it on a work night so I could take leftovers for lunch the next day :)


Followed my same process as last time:  cooked the lean ground turkey + a little olive oil in a pan, then added the taco mix, 1 can black beans (rinsed), and sliced green peppers and red onion.  I also added about ½ cup water (taco mixes I’ve used in the past always call for water, this one didn’t but I find it helps disperse the seasoning and create a “sauce”). 


Also similar to last time I created a big salad! 


  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Turkey taco filling
  • Sprinkle of cheese
  • Greek Yogurt (our sour cream had gone bad)
  • Fresh cilantro!
  • Salsa (could of done without this because…)


Looks good right?  Well, yes it was good…but two bites later my mouth was ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The package did not state anything about the heat factor, no “mild”, “medium”, or “hot” options.  This should have had HOT written all over it.  I’m not a spicy food lover per say, but I can handle an average amount of heat…I’d usually go for the “medium” salsa over the “mild”, and love putting Franks Red Hot and Sriracha on various foods…but this was a little much.  Even Brian was dying and he can handle more heat than I can.  Granted, he put salsa AND sriracha on his before trying it!! 


We both surrendered to a small glass of cold milk.  I knew milk was a great antidote to spice, but they aren’t kidding!  It immediately cooled off my mouth.  We also both added a lot more Greek yogurt…Brian basically added a small spoonful to each bite haha. 

I still say “Yay” to taco night, but sorry TJ’s I think I’ll go back to the other brands.  I even wrote them an email about it.  Not a huge deal for us, but that could totally ruin a meal for someone who really can’t handle much heat…they should at least label the package “spicy” or something, because not everyone reads in the ingredient list.  I scanned it when I purchased it to check for any “crap” ingredients, but then re-visited it to see what was making my mouth burn and turns out the THIRD ingredient was cayenne pepper!!!  No wonder!! 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Food Loves + Ellie Returns

Do you ever…

  • Sit down at the computer to write a post only to get completely side-tracked looking at other blogs, facebook,..etc?? I am so guilty of this A LOT! Like right now…I should of done this an HOUR ago, and would love to be in bed now.
  • Have pictures of yummy food, and just want to post them but don’t have much to say? Yeah, me too and here are a few from the past week!


My weekend pictures are always my favorite…so much more sunlight and I have time to make things like Breakfast Sandwiches!! LOVE!

  • WW Sandwich Thin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice cheddar
  • 1 slice ham
  • Fresh Strawberries

Veggies + Sunlight: about to get grilled! Major LOVE!



Ok, I confess the grilling was brought about by Brian wanting a grilled hotdog last weekend. So I threw together all the veggies we had and asked him to grilll those too :)

and yes, I had a grilled hot dog too. Doesn’t happen often (and I don’t like to think about exactly what I’m eating), but there’s nothing like a grilled hotdog when the weather gets warm!

Ellie Time

I think I should start getting a cut from Food Network or something. I LOVE her recipes and frequently head to her cookbook or recipes online for dinner ideas.

This recipe is one I made before and LOVED.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

I love frozen shrimp. I love shrimp scampi. We eat it a lot.

This recipe is almost like a baked shrimp scampi…with tomatoes and feta. I find the shrimp come out much more tender this way! This recipe is AMAZING (with my couple of additions of course)


The fresh dill and parsley are KEY to the fresh flavors of this dish.



After sautéing the garlic + onions, you add the canned tomatoes and simmer. When I add the tomatoes I also add some white wine (maybe 3-4T?) and juice from half of a lemon.

After that simmers, you take it off the heat and THEN add the shrimp and fresh herbs. This prevents the shrimp and herbs from being overcooked.


Top with Feta and bake!


We ate this over a bed of baby spinach and TJ’s Harvest Grains.


I cook the grains in chicken broth for extra flavor…I think this is another key element to the deliciousness of this dinner!


Love this dish!


More loves? How about I obviously finished my dinner first (a combination of a smaller portion and eating much faster…I gotta work on that!), so I decided to snap photos…

stop playing with your food!


Goodnight! Early Body Combat tomorrow morning :) LOVE Combat!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Slam Dunk Weekend

Friday at work I scored 2 tickets to the NCAA games down in Providence on Saturday!  Best part was they were free :)

Luckily I was able to get out of my plans that day, and we headed down to Providence!

I wasn’t thrilled at first at spending the whole afternoon inside an Arena when it was it was the warmest, nicest day we’ve had yet this year…but once I was there it was SO fun.

Check out these seats!!



We were center court, 2 rows up from the floor!!

We saw the Villanova/St. Mary’s game, and the Tennessee/Ohio game!


After the games, we walked around for about 15min before dinner.

Thanks to some suggestions from Sabrina, we decided to eat at
The Oyster Bar


I was really looking forward to trying their Sushi.  I ordered the Surf & Turf roll.


This was:  Filet Mignon, Ahi Tuna, Tempura Shrimp, cucumber, and Avocado.


OMG, SO GOOD!!   Even Brian loved it and he usually doesn’t care for Sushi (he doesn’t like the seaweed taste).

We split this roll, and it was filling!  I couldn’t finish my entree. 

I ordered the Grilled Salmon Salad with Artichokes, Brie, Pine Nuts, and Tomato Vinaigrette. 


The salad was pretty good.  I asked for dressing on the side but they forgot so it was a little “wet”, and the artichokes tasted a little odd to me.  The salmon was very nicely cooked though!

Brian’s striped bass was much better:)


Hey!  Guess who I ran into…we were on our way to our car and she was just arriving for her dinner…Sabrina!


We only had a few minutes to chat, but I’m glad we got to say hi!

Workouts – March 21-27

Sunday – Body Pump

Monday – Body Combat…whoa baby, this one kicked my BUTT tonight!!  I could barely walk out of there.  We did more leg work than usual and my legs were already sore from Pump!  As always, felt great!!

Tuesday – Off
Wednesday  - trying a new Treadmill Interval class at my gym!  It’s taught by my favorite Combat teacher.  She said its basically like boot camp on the treadmill…can’t wait!

Thursday – Pump?  (possibly off, if I have a work class)
Friday – depends on Thursday, this could be my off day…not sure.

Saturday – early morning Body Combat class!  Yes!

So happy to have a good exercise schedule this week.        

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Week, In Bullets

I’m soooo ready for bed, so let’s make this quick and efficient!

#1: Banana Peppers

  • Apparently I’ve just entered the wonderful world of Banana Peppers!  I think I’ve always thought they’d be too hot…not if you buy the mild ones genius! 
  • They add a nice kick of flavor to any sandwich…including this one:


  • Joseph’s Pita
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Baby Spinach
  • Tomato
  • red onion
  • pickles
  • banana peppers!
  • carrot sticks and a few kettle chips


#2:  Icy Sweet Dreams

  • Hit the jackpot at the grocery store…oh no they didnt!
  • Yes they did…



  • Delicious, but still like the cookie on it’s own better.
  • Then there was Coconut Milk icecream, vanilla bean flavor…topped with a little PB melted in the microwave + a few choc. chips….INCREDIBLE.


#3 – Yogurt Hype

  • yes I’ve bought into all the blogging about this siggi’s yogurt lately, and bought one to try.


  • Verdict…LOVE it!  I usually prefer non-fruit on the bottom types of yogurt, so I didn’t know what to expect with this.  Well there WASN’T any fruit on the bottom…the fruit flavor is all blended in.
  • It’s thick and creamy like Greek yogurt but with more of a tart tang….this flavor was VERY tart, but I love tart :)

#4 - Salad leftovers: Part 1:


#5 - Spring Flowers

  • The weather lately has been GORGEOUS
  • and so are these flowers:

 IMG_8662 IMG_8664 

#6 – Set it and Forget it!


  • yes it’s true, we have a rotisserie…you know you used to watch the infomercials, don’t lie. 
  • It’s Brian’s; an old birthday present sent from his dad…and he loves the damn thing.
  • While grocery shopping I announced he could make me dinner one night haha. 
  • He saw the chickens and got really excited
  • He wanted to “Rotiserize”
  • The thing even comes with the big rubber gloves:


  • Funny boy.  Not a good way to test for doneness.


  • Removing Chicken.


  • Eventually onto my plate + roasted brussel sprouts and baby red potatoes.


  • Super moist and flavorful!!

#7 – Even Better the Next Day

  • Made one kick-ass salad the next day with the leftovers


  • baby spinach
  • cucumber
  • shredded carrots
  • red onion
  • bell peppers
  • radish
  • snap peas
  • tomatoes
  • leftover potatoes cut into chunks
  • leftover chicken
  • dressing:  olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar
  • salt + pepper


Mega Awesome Salad!


  • Off to Providence for the day…I got tickets to the NCAA games down there tomorrow!!
  • Thanks to suggestions from the wonderful Sabrina, we will also be having a lovely dinner tomorrow night down there.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Post Race Pizza

Here is our PILE of soaking wet clothes from after the (awesome but ridiculously wet and cold) race yesterday

Nothing felt better than a long hot shower.

Then it was pizza time!  I had an itch to make homemade pizza dough Saturday night, and decided we’d eat it Sunday.  I first went off this recipe from Good Things Catered

I used her ingredient list, only substituting 1.5 cups White Whole Wheat Flour + .5 cups APF, instead of all APF. 

Then I referenced this recipe from 101 cookbooks.  Since they were very similar recipes, I opted to use this recipe for it’s technique because I really just wanted to use my mixer and it’s dough hook :)


(Don’t worry I changed it to the dough hook)

Action shot:


Dough ball!  This literally took 5min, why don’t I do this more often?
In fact I made another batch today so we could have leftovers. 


Both of these recipes used instant yeast.  The difference between instant and regular is that the instant doesn’t need to be proofed first, you just add it in with the dry ingredients. 

Well I found that it didn't really dissolve all the way, when I                 went to roll it out you could see little particles of yeast in the dough???  Anyone know what's up with that?  It still tasted good at least. 

Also didn’t rise much (probably because the yeast didn’t dissolve all the way…oh well, this is how we learn :)

I was inviting my mom (and Willow) over for pizza night as well.

Cleaned and set up the table.  New runner I got on sale from Pottery Barn:) 



Fresh Tulips (another whole foods purchase from Saturday:)


First was  a trial pizza, when I was still unsure about the dough.


And maybe I’m the last one to realize this but, PARCHMENT PAPER IS INCREDIBLE FOR PIZZA STONES!!!!  I’ve ALWAYS had issues getting the pizza onto the hot pizza stone…just make the pizza on parchment and slide the pizza + parchment right onto the stone.  Genius. 

#1 - Sauce+cheese+pepperoni+onions+peppers.  Mmmmm.


#2 – Buffalo Chicken Pizza!


We broiled some chicken tenders earlier with Frank’s Red Hot and a little olive oil. 

Sauce+cheese+Red Hot+chicken+shredded carrots

SO GOOD!  This was served with light Blue Cheese dressing on the side.

#3 – Hawaiian. 


Yay for having Ham and Pineapple in the house.

#4  -  was a trio of all three flavors. (pre-baking)

Mom brought a salad, and dessert.

My plate.

IMG_8642 The pizza’s were small and very thin.  I cut about 6 sliced in each.  I had about 4 of these small slices + salad.

Dessert was homemade black bottom pie!! 


She even whipped up some fresh whipped cream here.  We shaved some chocolate on top as well.



Incredible.  Thin rich chocolaty layer on the bottom, a custardy middle that had a hint of rum, and whipped cream on top.


Willow ventured under a chair for a while :) 


Found you!


Anyone have any thoughts/preferences/issues with instant yeast vs. regular Active yeast??