Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stirfry and Gnocchi

Hey Everyone

Hope you're enjoying your longgg weekend! I am (I wish every weekend was a three day weekend!!). Today I went to the pool for a couple hours, did some cleaning/laundry, watched some more Entourage and then made up a few dishes. Dinner tonight was a new stir fry of sorts. Josh and I made dinner together tonight. He started up the dish by browning up some ground lean turkey. In a separate pot, I added a little olive oil, chick peas and asparagus and cooked them until the asparagus was starting to soften up. We combined the turkey, chick peas, and asparagus and added a little stir fry sauce and slivered almonds. The dish was topped with sesame seeds and a bit of grated parm cheese. It turned out really well.

My experiment of the day was gnocchi. I have never made it before and was nervous. I used the recipe and directions found at 101 cookbooks. Instead of using a fork to make the indentations in the gnocchi, I just pressed on them with my thumb. I have definitely never made anything like this before but found it to be pretty easy for the most part. Having a pastry scrapper or something similar is def key! I froze them up and you will see them on Wednesday of this week for dinner. I hope they're good!

Lazy Saturday

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! Yesterday, I taught Body Step, went food shopping and then spent the rest of the day relaxing! Josh and I watched a bundle of movies! For a brief review: Friday night we saw Step Brothers. This movie is hilarious! There are definite spurts of very funny moments throughout the movie but there are also a few slow parts. All together, I'd def recommend it! Yesterday, our movie watching started with What happens in Vegas. I thought the combo of Cameron Diaz and Ashton would be awkward, but it worked really well! Both Josh and I really liked this! Next, we watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The movie started out pretty well but was wayyyyy too long. I thought it was going to end like 5 times and finally gave up on it and left to start making dinner. I wasn't a big fan of this movie. Josh gave it an ok. Lastly, we watched the first disk of three for season 4 of Entourage. Josh LOVES this show. So far the first 4 episodes have been great! I think this is like the male version of Sex and the City. For dinner last night, I made the shrimpy pasta I blogged about here, using peas instead of spinach:

I also made up some vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies using this recipe. I made a half batch and used a banana as my egg replacement. They turned out really well..mmmm :)

Today, I plan to get some stuff organized for the move, hit up the pool for an hour or two, and maybe start prepping a few or our rooms for the movers (i.e getting rid of junk and labeling what will need to go where!).

Friday, August 29, 2008

Afternoon delight

Today was a wonderful day! I started out my day with a workout (running, lower body workout, elliptical, 1/2 body pump). Due to my over time travel yesterday, I got to leave early from work today! I took the opportunity to go to a local natural foods store (the closest thing we have to a TJs or Wholefoods). I found all kinds of wonderful things but brought the following home: Sunflower seed butter (Sammie is always talking about this and I can't wait to try it), vanilla granola, lower sugar dried pineapple, a couple bars (I finally found the Honey Graham flavored z bars!! I wish I could find the fruity ones!!). Tonight Josh and I are probably going to dinner and to see Step Brothers. I can't wait :) For now, I'm off to practice some teaching stuff and clean ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Purse Pasta night

Today was a crazy day! I had a meeting planned for Friday that I had to travel about 2, 2 1/2 hours to that suddenly got moved to today! I was into work at 7 and ended up not getting home from the meeting until after 6! I got in about half my workout before my hungry husband called on his way home from work. To stop the hunger, I made the awesome purse pasta I posted about on Sunday. They cooked up soooo fast and were absolutely delicious! I cannot wait to make them again. Here they are with a bit of red sauce:

Since I worked a little extra today, I am going to go in late tomorrow after an AM run and some Body Pump. What are you all up to this weekend? We have a few bbqs on Monday and other than that, we should be relaxxxxxxxxxxxing! I cannot wait!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dang Quesadilla

Tonight was a tough night...I had to tell my Turbo Kick class that I would be moving. I walked in thinking it was going to be easy but got a little chocked up as I tried to form the words. This class has been with me since I first started teaching. They were kind when I was terrible and stumbling through routines and stuck with me. I will be so sad to leave them in a month :(. Josh had his last softball game tonight and was headed out with the boys after. Left to make dinner for uno, I started down the road to snack-monsterdom with a bowl of random fruit topped with granola-

It was super delicious, but I decided that instead of snacking on additional items, I would go do all of the housework I had on my list before deciding on dinner (ironing/vacuuming/laundry/filing bills away, etc). Once done, I decided to make a quesadilla using low fat cheddar cheese and leftover sloppy lentil beans. I also added some corn and peas and a hint of chili powder. All together on a whole wheat tortilla prior to cooking- it was yum-o.

I may or may not go and snack on some more corn and peas (I have a chunk leftover). I figured I'd take a blog break to get my hunger level in check. Now its project runway time- hooray! Thank goodness tomorrow is Thursday!! I can't wait for this longggg weekend! Plus my birthday is Tuesday! Is it sad that with all of the moving stuff going on I almost forgot about my birthday until Josh's mom asked what I wanted? haha.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quinoa, Coconut Almond Muffins

Is it really only Tuesday night? This week is moving too slow for me :). This am I woke really early to get in a workout. I ran two miles, did twenty minutes on the elliptical and then did a 20 minute lower body workout. I also had a dentist appointment this am that went well-no cavities yayy. This afternoon I gave Frank a bath, did some laundry/ironing, cleaned the bathroom, and then got to cooking! Tonight I tried Quinoa for the first time! I cooked it according to the package directions and then added toasted pine nuts and cooked peas. I really enjoyed the Quinoa, as did Josh.
Full din din: Chicken and Quinoa
We have a pot luck day at work tomorrow. I made a big pot of my black bean dip to bring in with some chips. I also decided to make up some breakfast pot luck- Coconut Almond Muffins:


1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup coconut
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or substitute (I used smart balance)
1 egg or equivalent egg substitute
sliced almonds to top muffins


Mix all ingredients except almonds. Fill muffin trays 2/3 full (makes 12 muffins). Top with sliced almonds. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean.

They are pretty simple muffins but I enjoy the flavor. Josh and I split one for dessert. Frank and I are ready for bed...hopefully we can convince Josh to join us :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fast Sloppy Lentils

Its always tough to go back to work after the weekend! I felt exhausted today and had a very slow Monday at work. After work, I practiced some Turbo Kick and then took Body Pump. After pump, I went to Josh's softball game and then came home to make a quick and easy dinner. I saw lots of postings for Sloppy Lentils but they all used a slow cooker and took approximately 8 hours to cook. I needed something way faster so I went with the following recipe (feel free to add in shredded carrots, chopped onions, green peppers etc, I made a bare bones version!):

2 15 ounce cans dark red kidney beans
7 to 10 ounces tomato sauce (depends how sloppy you want them!)
1 T Chili powder
1 T Brown Sugar
1 tsp cumin

Place all ingredients in a pot on medium heat. Allow mixture to start to boil and then turn heat to low, let simmer 10-15 minutes. Serve on buns or alone and top with cheese if desired.

This was seriously a delicious and simple combo. A great dinner!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Inspiration (Dinner, Pasta Making, Fav blogger :))

Second post of the day, so I will try to make this one more brief :) Tonight I made an easy dinner, pita pizzas served with pineapple and peach chunks. It was delicious and quick!

After dinner, I decided to work on another dinner project. I have been SO SO inspired by so many of you bloggers that I am constantly searching your sites for recipe ideas! One of my VERY favorite bloggers is Sarah from Suite Apple Pie. She is so creative and is always surprising me with new an exciting recipes and ideas (her granola- which is a staple in my house is baking in the oven right now). Tonight I tried making her chicken purse pasta, using ingredients I had on hand. It was easy and fun to make and I cannot wait to cook it up later in the week! For the wraps, I used the following:

My filling was as follows:

1/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 chicken breast (boiled and shredded)
1 tablespoon parmesean cheese
1/2 tsp italian seasoning

I used her exact methods and got the following finished product ready for freezing:
Sarah- Thank you for this awesome recipe! Have a good night :)

Taco night, Biscotti, Wedding (weekend wrap up)

Hi Everyone!

I can't believe the weekend is coming to a close! This has been a hectic weekend for us! Friday afternoon after food shopping, I came home and made a biscotti recipe based off of a recipe Esi had posted (she has the best ideas!!). I added almonds and chocolate chips (few too many chocolate chips :) ) to get this delicious recipe:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons honey
1- 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds (you choose your desired amount)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)
2 or 3 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, almonds and chocolate chips. In a separate small bowl whisk together the egg, sugar, honey, and extracts.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until they come together. Add water by the tablespoon-full if necessary.

Form the dough into an oval on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes.

Slice the dough into 1/2 inch slices and bake again at 325 degrees for 10 minutes on each side. Store in an airtight container.

They are heavenly. I, like Esi, wish I had sliced them thinner but they are delicious. Once the biscotti was finished, Josh and I headed over to our friend Jordan's to hang out with him and his girlfriend Gina. We were planning on watching the Eagle's/Patriots game, but it wasn't on TV down here. We were disappointed, but decided to watch the movie Vantage Point instead (which turned out to be awesome). We also made tacos with ground beef, corn, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, etc=heavenly!

On Saturday morning, we left to go to my cousins wedding at the shore in NJ. The wedding was RIGHT on the beach and was gorgeous! My cousin looked incredible and we had an absolute blast. The food was sooo good and the music made the night! She even had a sand castle looking cake to complete the beach theme:

Before the ceremony:

The kiss:

My mom and I at the reception:

My sister and her husband:
Josh and I:

My parents:

The awesome before dinner appetizer- fresh fruit with a raspberry sauce:

I will probably be back later tonight with a dinner post :) How was your weekend?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Turkey/Rice Balls, Friday!!

I am so glad its Friday!! Last night was another Body Step night. After, I did a little shopping (one last ditch attempt to find a new dress for my cousins beach wedding this weekend) and then came home to make dinner. I was in the mood for meatballs, but didn't want to make the traditional spaghetti and meatballs so I tried something new. Dinner started with sugar snap peas:


And finally Turkey and Rice Balls:

1 package ground turkey (lean- about 1 1/3 pounds)
1/3 cup parm cheese
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 an onion chopped
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 jar spaghetti sauce


Mix all ingredients except spaghetti sauce. Form 12 round balls and place on a cookie sheet. Turn oven onto broil and place meatballs on top shelf of oven for approximately 14 minutes (or until no longer pink). Place turkey rice balls in spaghetti sauce heating on the stove top. Serve with additional parm sprinkled on top!

I thought they turned out pretty well but Josh LOVED them. I probably ate about 3 1/2 turkey meatballs and he ate the rest! I'm asking for his metabolism for my birthday haha. Any good weekend plans?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Boring (?) Salads and my review on Tina's Bars

Tonight I taught Turbo and it was hot hot hot in the group fitness room! Afterwards, I was taking my time going through some things at home (learning a new release of Turbo, painting my toes in prep for a wedding we're going to this weekend, etc)....I thought I had lots of time because Josh had a softball game and had plans to go to dinner with the guys. Then, Josh called and said he was coming home because he had to help carry one of their players who got hurt up to his apartment! It didn't make much sense for him to go back out after that (the guy lives just down the road) to go to dinner with the other guys and he was on his way home! I threw together some quick salads with lettuce (romaine for me, spinach for Josh), edamame and corn (boiled up on the stovetop..mmmm mmm), tomatoes, walnuts, and homemade croutons (and Josh had hard boiled egg whites and chicken on his). It turned out to be a great/quick dinner. My salad:

Lots of people have been asking me about the Tina bar recipe so I figure I'd just post up here and say they are chewy and delicious! Like I noted, I used walnuts instead of rasins and I love love them! I had one as a snack when I came home from work and it carried me beyond my work out! Yayy to Tina for this great recipe- try your own variations too!

What is your favorite baked good? Any good recipes to pass along?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Light Pasta and Tina's Oatmeal bars

I'm sooo glad tomorrow is already Wednesday-yayyy! Work today was alright. Afterwards, I did a ton of errands and then Jill and I team taught Body Step. After B-step, I ran to BJs and picked up a bundle of exciting items! First off, BJs has the best and largest bag of mixed frozen fruit ever! I was so excited to find it! Frozen fruit is my new obessision! Once I was back, I made a fresh pasta mix based on this recipe from Cookie Baker Lynn's blog. It turned out awesome! I used whole wheat spiral pasta because I couldn't find any whole wheat bowtie. The recipe is as follows:


8 cups broccoli florets (4 heads)
1/2 lb farfalle (bow tie) pasta (or whatever you have on hand)
1 whole chicken breast, or 1 large 1/2 breast (I only cooked up 1 chicken breast and gave it all to Josh...I wasn't in a chicken mood :))
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. good olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted pignoli (pine) nuts
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional


To toast the pignollis, place them in a dry saute pan over meium-low heat and cook, tossing often, for about 5 minutes, until light brown.

Cut the chicken into strips on the diagonal. Place the chicken in a skillet and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, cover, turn down the heat, and let simmer till chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Don't overcook, or your chicken will be rubbbery.

Cook the broccoli for 3 minuts in a large pot of boiling salted water. Remove the broccoli from the water with a slotted spoon or sieve. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

In the same water, cook the bow-tie pasta according to the package directions, about 12 minutes. Drain well and add to the broccoli.

Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, heat the butter and oil and cook the garlic and lemon zest over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 2 tsp. salt (I didn't add the salt), the pepper, and lemon juice and pour this over the broccoli and pasta. Toss Well. Season to taste, sprinkle with the pignolis and cheese and serve.

I have been using this pasta lately and I think it is just the best! I found it in the organic aisle as my grocery store.

I have also been seeing rice pasta, has anyone ever used this? Is it any good?

After dinner, I decided to bake up Tina's amazing looking oatmeal bars. Instead of raisins, I used walnuts (Josh doesn't like raisins :( ). You can find the recipe here. They turned out delicious! I can't wait to eat one for breakfast tomorrow! Thanks Tina!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Monday

Today was not so bad for Monday! I had training and then was pretty busy at work. After work, I ran around my house cleaning and then took Body Pump. To complete the night I went to Josh's softball game. Now I am just waiting for my dinner to be done! So...before I get to what I made for dinner.... a few people asked about what I eat and all that jazz. I decided today to make a list of what I ate all day. I am what you may call...a grazer. I eat a little bit all day. So here is my list:

Half an apple with 1/2 tablespoon Peanutbutter
Grande Skim Misto

Mid Morning Snack-

Raw carrots and peppers with black bean dip
fat free stonyfield farms organic vanilla yogurt
Hot chocolate (it was FREEZING in the office today)

Afternoon snack part 1-
Other half of morning apple with 1 tablespoon PB
6 or so tortilla chips

Afternoon snack part 2 (after body pump)-
carrots and hummus

Chicken Vegetable bake (recipe to follow)

So that is my list! Feel free to comment away!

So for dinner tonight, I experimented a bit. I love casseroles but they're soooo unhealthy. Tonight I decided to lighten it up a bit and try my own thing(based on inspiration from this recipe):

Chicken Vegi Casserole
Feel free to adjust this recipe based on whatever you have on hand.

2 chicken breasts cooked (I grilled mine, feel free to omit)
1 bag fresh broccoli
1 can of corn
1 can of lima beans
1 can of peas
2 2/3 cups milk
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
bread crumbs
Favorite seasoning (experiment!)

Preheat oven to 375. Mix 2/3 cup of milk and 5 tablespoons of flour with a whisk. In a large pot, add 2 cups milk, all vegis, and milk/flour mixture, season with favorite seasoning (I used creole seasoning cause ...why not :)). Cook until mixture is thick and bubbling. Remove from heat, add cheese and mix well. Transfer to large sprayed baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Cook for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Calm Before the Storm

There is something about Sundays I love and there is something about Sundays I hate (mostly that Monday is the next day :)). Sundays are definitely the calm before the storm. I use my Sundays to relax and prepare things that I will need during the week. Today I went to the pool to get some relaxing in. My friend Nikki joined me and it was great to sit and chat :). I also did some errands and cleaned the house up. I put together some black bean dip (to use in my lunches as a dip for vegis) and boiled up a bundle of hard boiled eggs for Josh's breakfasts. For dinner tonight I had planned to make a nice cornmeal crusted shrimp but opted for something much easier! I took Nature's Promise Mac and Cheese:

and added some boiled shrimp and peas. It was a delicious and fast dinner:

The rest of my weekend was great as well! Friday I took Body Pump and then Josh and I went out to dinner. Saturday I taught Body Step/Turbo Kick and then made up some of the banana marble swirl bread.
The bread and a platter I bought at Pier 1 were housewarming gifts for my friends Amy and Mark. We went up to their house (which is gorgeous!!) on Saturday night and then went out to dinner. It was a blast!! How was your weekends? What do you have planned for this week?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Banana Bread, black bean dip

A nice night :) Jill and I launched a new body step release and it went really well! The new music is a lot of fun! I also love teaching with Jill!! After class, I rushed home to make some treats to bring to a friends house. Our friend, who use to live with us (Frank's Uncle Jordan), recently moved out and into a place of his own. Tonight we were going to see it for the first time and to watch the Eagles game (Josh and Jordan are both big eagles fans......and they both really love my team too- the Patriots haha). I was trying to decide between several banana bread recipes ( the one Jenn made looked incredible, but I was missing ingredients so I ended up making a hybrid of several recipes):

Banana Marble Pudding Bread:

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flor
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Wet Ingredients:
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce)
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to a whole individual serving sugar free pudding cup (depending upon the amount of moisture you like)
3 smashed bananas

For Marble:
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another. Combine wet and dry ingredients. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips (it took about 1 1/2 minutes in my microwave). Once melted, add 1 cup banana bread mixture to chocolate chips and mix well. Spray loaf pan. Layer regular banana bread mixture and chocolate banana bread mixture to form marble. Bake for approximately 50 minutes (check with toothpick).

I also made the black bean dip I posted about here.

Once everything was done, we headed over to Jordan's. His new place is great! He also made some food- pigs in a blanket and awesome pasta salad. Here are a few pics from the night:

Josh enjoying a miller lite during the eagles game:

Jordan's pasta salad:

Pigs in a blanket (I taught him this one...easy crowd pleasing appetizer):

Uncle Jordan in Eagles attire:

Wonderful night! Yayy for tomorrow being Friday and the end of my first full week of work at my new job- what do you all have going on this weekend...I want details!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shrimp, edamame & corn

Hows your week going so far? Mine is going pretty well! I am excited that tomorrow is already Thursday!!!! Tonight I got the house cleaned up (as per usual- this whole selling your house thing is totally annoying) and then I taught Turbo Kick. I felt like I kind of taught terrible tonight....who knows :) I was starving when I came home but wanted to avoid being a snack monster again! Frank and I sat and read some blogs while we waited for Frank's dad to come home. I then and made a really easy dinner. I boiled up some shelled/deveined/tail-less shrimp and topped it with a very small amount of olive oil, a squirt of lemon juice and some old bay. I also boiled up some edamame and corn. I topped them with a little red pepper for flavor. Along with this I had some pineapple. Below is a picture of my plate- but picture double that amount of shrimp and edamame/corn ( was so delicious...who can eat only that much :)). Now its time for project runway- I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Baked Ziti and the snack monster

Today was my second day of work and it went really well. I figured out all of my computer issues and started reading up on my first project! I can't wait to dig in!! I must say, I really enjoy my new office because there are lots of amenities. Two of my favorite freebies at the new office are a water cooler (yayy cold water) and a really funky coffee machine that makes all sorts of different flavors.

I went to the gym again this morning, so my afternoon was pretty free! I came home and put together a new routine for Turbo Kick tomorrow. Unfortunately, I also was a snack monster this afternoon! I was longing for dinner, but was waiting for Josh to complete his gym trip for the night before I ate :( For dinner tonight I made a little bit of an indulgent dish- baked ziti. I pulled the recipe from this wonderful blog.

10 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan or romano shredded cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 egg
1 lb ziti pasta (I used whole wheat)
1 jar tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring large pot of water to boil, add
pasta & boil for about 3 or 4 minutes, not too long, just to get it a
little cooked. Drain.

Blend together (using hands, spoon, spatula, whatever you have around)
ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella,parm, spices and

Pour about 1/3 of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the glass pan,
and add 1/2 of the pasta. Spoon 1/2 of ricotta mixture on top, being sure to spread it out
evenly to cover the pasta. Pour another 1/3 of the tomato sauce on top, add the rest of the
pasta, spreading evenly, and then the final layer of the ricotta
mixture. Pour the final layer of tomato sauce, and spread the rest of the
mozzarella generously on top.

Cover with aluminum foil & bake for about about 45 minutes. Remove
foil, and continue baking for another 15 minutes, or until cheese is
browned around the edges & bubbling.

Monday, August 11, 2008

First day/salads and delicious quick bread

Thank you all for the well wishes on my first day of work :) Things went ok- there was a little mix up with my training, so I won't be fully trained and ready to roll until next week....but I got my computer and all that jazz setup today, so that was good! After work, I went to Josh's softball game. They played really well! We came home and I made a quick wheat bread recipe. I miss the yeast bread, but I just haven't had the time lately to make any. In any case, this wheat bread was a delicious substitute!

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Quick Bread
Inspired by this recipe

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4-5 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups milk

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Grind oatmeal in a food processor or blender. In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, dissolve honey in vegetable oil then stir in the milk. Combine both mixtures and stir until a soft dough is formed. Move dough into a greased (I sprayed with pam) baking dish (bread dish, whatever you've got!).
  3. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes (check with toothpick)
My salad with the bread: