Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blogger Week #2- Post 3- Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna

Welcome to Post #3 of blogger week#2! The minute I saw this spinach and zucchini lasagna from The Kitchen Sink, I knew I had to try it! Kristin’s recipes all look so wholesome. Her photographs are also very beautiful (much better than mine haha). I made a few minor changes to the recipe so please see her incredible original recipe for more detail/information/beautiful pics!!!

Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna

Pasta Sauce (homemade or store bought)
Lasagna sheets (again, homemade or store bought)
10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach defrosted and squeezed dry
32 ounce skim ricotta
½ cup shredded mozzarella + more to top the lasagna
½ cup grated Parmesan
¼ tsp nutmeg
Zucchini (or combination of zucchini, squash, and any other veggies you want!)

Prep ingredients:
Preheat the oven to 425°

Cook up lasagna noodles.

Stir together ricotta mix. I used ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, paremesan and nutmeg.

Roast Veggies: Slice veggies thin, roast in olive oil, salt, pepper, chile flakes and dried herbs at 400° for about 30 minutes.

Prep Lasagna:
Spoon a thin layer of your sauce in the bottom of a buttered 9-by-13 pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles, then a layer of the ricotta mixture, then a layer of veggies. Repeat—sauce, pasta, ricotta, veggies (Kristin also utilized a layer of fresh mozzarella). Top with sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425° for 35 to 45 minutes

What an AMAZING recipe! Thank you Kristin! You will def be seeing this again later in the week as we have tons of leftovers!
BTW- if you need a fancy dress for something, you must go to white house/black market! I got this dress there tonight for $41!
I am going to try to get to bed early tonight and hit the gym tomorrow am! Hope you all have a fabulous night!

Blogger Week #2- Post 2-Pineapple Banana Bread

I cannot believe that it is Sunday! I wish this weekend would last forever! I got some good sleeps last night! So far today, I gave the Frankster a bath, baked up something lovely, and went for a quick two mile run. I am about to go do a little Christmas shopping.

For my second blogger recipe, I made a recipe from athlEAT, Lauren’s Pineapple Banana Bread!! I thought this would be perfect for a quick grab and go breakfast! Here is the recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
8oz can crushed pineapple (she used this instead of butter!)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups mashed overripe banana

Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Mix pineapple, sugar together in separate bowl. Add eggs and banana to pineapple/brown sugar mixture. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and mix well. Spray 9x5 inch loaf pan lightly with PAM and then pour in batter. Bake 60-65 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. ENJOY!

I made this in three mini loaf pans instead of one large pan. The baking time was approximately 40-45 minutes.

Lauren- so moist, so yummy! Thank you for this recipe! Again, if you want one of your recipes featured in blogger week #3, email it to me at itzyskitchen at gmail dot com. Whatcha doin today?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blogger Week #2- Post 1 Artichoke and Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Hey All! Welcome to blogger week #2! This week I will be making recipes only from other blogs. I loved doing this so much last time that I couldn’t WAIT to do it again. My first recipe tonight comes from Good Things Catered. I love Katie’s recipes because they look AMAZING and her explanations on how to put them together are simple/easy! Tonight, I made her artichoke and cheese stuffed turkey burgers (I can hear you all saying yum out loud right now ;).

Here is the recipe

Artichoke Stuffed Turkey Burgers

2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 medium sweet onion, diced finely
1 large pinch of garlic salt
ground pepper to taste
4 artichoke hearts
4 ox aged fontina cheese, sliced into 4 1-oz squares.


In large bowl, add ground turkey, balsamic vinegar, onion, garlic salt and pepper.Work lightly with hands until well blended.

Heat grill on medium heat Divide meat into four portions.Remove 2/3 of each portion and flatten into 5 inch patties. Place 1 slice of fontina and four artichoke heart quarters in middle of each patty.Lightly flatten remaining 1/3 of each portion into 3-4 inch patties and place on top.Work lightly to flatten and seal all edges of patties.

Cook over medium to medium-low heat *without moving* burger until bottom side is browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes.Turn burgers over and continue to cook until bottom side is browned and the burger is cooked through but not dried out about 8-10 more minutes.Remove from heat and serve immediately.

I quartered the recipe and cooked them in the oven (no grill at the tiny apartment ;). Nice work Katie! These turned out just beautifully (sorry for my not so clear pictures!!)

Want to have me test one of your recipes during Blogger Week #3 (dates TBD)? Email me at Itzyskitchen at ! Don’t be shy!!
On another note, we watched Wall-e tonight and it was FABULOUS! Such a positive message for kids! I hope you all get a chance to watch it!
Goodnight ;)

BSI Entry: Nutty Stacks


Are you having a good day? I am having a really nice Saturday!! I got up and taught Body Step and then took Body Pump. After, I went food shopping for the week. I came home and made Josh and I a nice lunch and have been mostly relaxing/doing house work since then. I was excited to put together my BSI entry this week! Amy selected Walnuts and I instantly knew what I was going to make! I started with inspiration from a Williams Sonoma recipe I had made previously and added some additional inspiration from the Clif Mojo bars to make these nutty stacks:

2 egg whites
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
non stick spray
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
1 cup smashed pretzels
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray aluminum with non stick spray.

Mix egg whites, brown sugar and vanilla until there are no more lumps. Add in all remaining ingredients until well mixed. Scoop rounded tablespoons full of mix onto baking sheets (like cookies). Bake for 15-16 minutes. Once cooled, peel nutty stacks off foil and enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A South Carolina Thanksgiving Walk

Hi everyone ;) How are you? Still full? We had a lovely Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle's house up near Myrtle Beach! Instead of posting pictures of our din din, I decided to post pictures from our post dinner walk. It was very warm in SC on Thanksgiving (around 66 degrees) so we went for a walk on the beach. It was amazing to see people running around in shorts and a t shirt! The area they live in is just incredible. Hope you enjoy these!

On the road they live on...

They live in the area on the left...


Josh and my Uncle walking the dogs...

My Aunt and Uncle and their two doggies...

Josh and I... Normally I edit these photos so you can't tell I'm standing on my tip toes but its kind of funny so I decided to leave it as is ;)...

The edited version haha...
I took this picture while I was walking...I though uggs and sand were a funny combo...

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Banana Bread, Pumpkin Bread, Apple/Pear Streusel Pie, Dinner

Thank goodness its Wednesday! I am thrilled to have the next two days off of work! Today was a pretty easy/simple day. I got up and ate a nice breakfast and drank tons of water. I went into work and donated blood with no issues! They gave me a sprite to drink while I donated and I think it helped a lot! Here is my proof:

When I got home this afternoon it was baking time! I started with banana chocolate chip bread for Friday's breakfast. I used Kath's recipe, added a little bit of brown sugar, left out the walnuts and added a bit more chocolate chips:

Next up, I made Pumpkin bread with pecans. I used a recipe from For the Love of Cooking and added pecans instead of walnuts.

Lastly, I made an Apple and Pear Streusel Pie from Food network.

For dinner tonight I wanted to make something simple/easy! I made these pineapple/chicken won tons that I picked up from Whole Foods. I boiled them up and served them with mixed vegis and pineapple in stir fry sauce.

The won tons didn't have a strong pineapple flavor but they were yummy!
I have one more dish to make for thanksgiving, a spinach and cheese side dish. I will post pictures tomorrow. Have you started cooking yet??

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

PACKAGE! Chicken Parm

Thank you guys so much for your kind well wishes for my doctors appointment today! The appointment went well but the doctor decided to send me for some more tests and to another doctor- sigh! Silly digestive problems!

Any who, I got the BEST package today from Josh's mom! I was so excited about the goodies I only took 1 picture and its totally blurry haha!

Included in this package is many of my favorite things- coconut, dried pineapple (!!), soup mixes, bread mixes, pumpkin coffee, scone mix, ground flax seed, the biggest bag of pine nuts and pecans I have ever seen and an advent calendar! I was so thrilled! I may or may not have had a ton of the pineapple before I taught Body Step tonight.... ;) I LOVE pine nuts! Do you guys have any fun ideas for what to do with pine nuts or recipes? Please send them my way!!!

For dinner tonight I made "chicken parm" with whole wheat pasta. I used this pasta:

The shape was really fun! To make my chicken parm, I did the following (I think I've posted this before):
Chicken breast
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cheese slices or shredded cheese
Pasta sauce
Preheat oven to 375. Place lemon juice in water in one bowl, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a second dish. Dip chicken in lemon juice/water and then in bread crumbs/Parmesan (pressing chicken into the bread crumbs/Parmesan to make sure it is covered). Place on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes on each side (check to make sure its no longer pink). Place cheese slices or shredded cheese on top and bake for 2-3 minutes longer until cheese is melted. Cover with pasta sauce. Serve with pasta.

The sauce I used tonight was rather watery (see plate above)...sort of a bummer!
1 more day of work! I need to chug tons of water tonight because I am giving blood tomorrow! Are you off tomorrow or do you have to work?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Incredible Edible...

Whats going on? I am in a really great mood after my workout! I ran five miles and then took half of Body Pump. I am NOT a runner- my 5'1" body was certainly not designed for speed but today I felt really good! I have been so inspired by the food bloggers who are runners like Caitlin, Meghann, Lauren, Sammie, etc, etc. You all are unbelievable! Thank you for inspiring me to get more running in!! After the gym, I made breakfast for dinner (my fav). I made egg whites with chick peas and corn, potatoes and sliced pear. It was yummy and filling! Josh's plate:

I LOVED hearing about your thanksgiving plans! Safe travels to all of you work will be on the road and happy cooking to everyone out there! I cannot wait to see your creations! Tomorrow I have my follow-up appointment from my little hospital visit. Hopefully they will give me the thumbs up that everything seems good!

Food List and Question

Hello! Happy Monday- hope your day is going well!!

First off, I was listening to an old episode of KCRW Good Foods podcast today and they were discussing using more natural cleaning products (vinegar, lemon and baking soda). I am really thinking about moving towards more natural/homemade cleaning products for a number of reasons: 1) cleaning products are ridiculously expensive, 2) cleaning products contain tons of chemicals that are very bad for you, 3) cleaning products are bad for the environment. I found this little write up on what natural products you can use to clean with. What do you guys use for cleaning?

Second, here is my food list for the week. I will be back with a dinner post later.

Fresh Vegi
Carrot Chips
Frozen spinach (3 packages)
Stir fry vegis

Packaged/Canned Items
3 fresh rolls
Brown Sugar
Soy Sauce
Pasta Sauce
2 pie crusts
Pot Stickers
Bars for Josh’s lunch -
Snacks for Josh’s lunch –

Lunch meat (for Josh’s lunches)

Yogurt (1 large, multiple smalls for lunch)
1% milk
Unsalted butter
Gruyere Cheese

Dog food
Laundry detergent/dryer sheets

For Dinners:
Chicken, Rice, Brussels Bake
Turkey Burgers with fresh vegi
Pot stickers with stir fry vegis
Chicken “Parm” w/pasta
Eggs & potatoes
Thanksgiving food- apple/pear tart, banana bread (for the morning after), baked spinach, pumpkin chocolate chip bread

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey Burgers and Brussels (again?), Announcement!

Hi everyone! Today seems so much more bearable than other Sundays since this week is only a three day week!! What are your thanksgiving plans? Are you staying home and cooking or are you traveling? Josh and I are headed up to my Aunts house about an hour away for dinner. We were supposed to be traveling up to my parents house in PA, but flights were a little ridiculous and the drive is way too far :(. I am thrilled to be spending the holiday with my Aunt/Uncle but will really miss my parents and my sister and her husband. Mom- if you're reading this, I wish you could send me some of your amazing cranberry sauce! <3

Enough complaining ;) A little announcement- next week will be another blogger week when I make only other bloggers recipes! I have put together another list of AMAZING sounding recipes and cannot wait to make them! If you would like to be included in my next blogger week, feel free to email me a recipe at
How was your day? Mine was good but busy! I can't believe its already 7 pm! I had an oil change this am and then went on another endless search for petite work pants. Nothing seemed to fit (too big, too long sigh!) so I am planning on ordering some online! After, I came home and did some baking and house work (laundry, cleaning, etc). Josh and I took the Frankster to the dog park. He had a blast playing with a chocolate and black lab! I think Frank does better with dogs that are a lot bigger than him! For dinner tonight, I made very simple turkey burgers. We had 1/2 a leftover container of turkey (probably a little over a half a pound) to which I added some Cajun seasoning (about a half a tsp). I cooked them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes on each side. I then topped them with cheese. I also cooked up some more brussels (I must not have been thinking when I bought both frozen and fresh brussels at the store!!). Here is Josh's plate:

Time for online shopping! Have a wonderful night!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brussels, Chicken and Rice Bake (HEALTHY!!)

How is your weekend going? Mine is going really well :) I got up and taught Body Step this morning (which went really well!!) and then stayed and took Body Pump. It was a pretty intense am of exercise! Before I taught, I had a half of a key lime pie larabar. I REALLY liked this flavor. The lime flavor isn't intense but it definitely gives you the hint of key lime pie. After the classes, I ate the other half.

Josh and I ran to check out the progress on the new house and I then did some Christmas shopping. I got Josh's mom a pretty cute gift (sorry I can't give details because she often drops by to read the blog- Hi Cookie!!). While shopping, I got a yummy Starbucks Skim Misto with pumpkin spice syrup. I also ran to Kohl's and got Josh some new pants but had no luck for me :( I really need new work pants! I am going to try gap tomorrow.

For din din tonight, I made a brussels, chicken and rice bake using a cooking light recipe. This recipe calls for prosciutto, but I decided to used baked chicken instead.
1 (10-ounce) package frozen Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon stick margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper (instead of salt and pepper I used Cavender's)
Cooking spray
1 cup cooked long-grain rice (I used the Kashi Rice Pilaf)
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto or ham, cut into thin strips (I used 1 cooked chicken breast)
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook up chicken breast and cut into bite sized pieces. Cook up brussels (I microwaved!!). Cook up rice according to package directions.

Melt margarine in a small saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk to saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes over medium heat or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper (or Cavenders). Set aside.
Coat a 9-inch quiche or round baking dish with cooking spray. Pat rice into bottom of dish; arrange Brussels sprouts, stem sides down, on top of rice. Sprinkle Brussels sprouts with prosciutto(or chicken); pour sauce over top. Combine breadcrumbs and cheese; sprinkle over sauce. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

This bake was soooooo good! Totally creamy. I haven't had savory oats yet, but I image it tastes somewhat similar. Have a nice Saturday night!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Restaurant Review: Los Arcos

How are you? I am thrilled that it is Friday! How exciting! And next week is only a three day week? yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I just wanted to give a big thank you to both Tina at Carrots 'N' Cake and Sabrina at Rhodey Girl Tests for featuring me on their blogs this week. You both have such amazing blogs(I KNOW everyone reading agrees), I feel honored to have a little guesty type spot!! Blog lurve to you!

So its Friday and you know what that means-Charleston, SC area restaurant review! We had originally been deciding between two fabulous sounding restaurants when we changed our mind and decided we wanted Mexican! We use to live near a Mexican restaurant we really loved. Tonight, we went out on a limb to try a new place- Los Arcos. So what did we eat? I was a little naughty tonight on the food front ;)-

Chori-Queso Dip:

My Dinner- Los Arcos Salad: Carrots, tomatoes, grilled chicken breast and grated cheese on a bed of lettuce and fresh spinach

Josh's Dinner: #5. One beef and one cheese enchilada, rice and beans.

Sorry the pics are dark- we were near a LOT of people and decided to forgo the flash!

My Review:

The decor inside the restaurant was very fun! We got there around 7 pm and had to wait about 15 minutes to be seated (not too bad). The waiter was at our table right as we sat down and was already taking our drink orders and delivering fresh chips and salsa. The chips were perfect- crispy and not greasy. The salsa was spiced just right and was tasty! Josh really loves chorizo and was thrilled when he saw the dip! The dip was just...incredible! Totally rich with just the right about of kick. I was excited to get my salad but not excited by the large amount of cheese! The lettuce and spinach were fresh and the chicken was perfectly seasoned! It was a very good salad- especially for a Mexican restaurant! Overall, I thought this restaurant was great! If you love Mexican food- this is definitely for you.

Josh's Review:

So apparently I am a liar.

Let me tell you how this week started – this may be a bit untraditional of me if you’ve read any of my previous reviews on Erica’s blog, as I tend to be concise. Namely because I enjoy people who are concise. This week’s happenings call for a few words, and about 10 minutes of my time to spell out to truly appreciate tonight’s dinner.

The week started Monday when I was extremely excited to get the new Noel Gordin CD (which is incredible by the way), and I knew it would be a great week with sweet tunes for the ride to and from work and the gym. Fast-forward to Wednesday when I told Millie, the nice lady from the attorney’s office for the Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury, that she had made my week when she said pointed me to the forms necessary for exemption from nonresident state withholding taxes on our MD house – (cliff’s notes: great news for E & J). However, I was quick to learn this was a premature presentation of the “made my week” award; little did I know we would be going to Los Arcos for dinner Friday.

Let me first say this: Mexicans make great food. Los Arcos was the real deal. Back in MD we had Monterey’s, which was destined to be “that awesome Mexican restaurant we used to go to” from the first 5 minutes of the car ride down to South Carolina. I knew there were going to be great restaurants on the horizon for us, but was definitely going to miss the Monterey’s restaurant. To give you an idea of how ridiculously logical Mexicans are in their eateries.... even here I was able to order “combination #5” which was the SAME “combination #5” from Monterey’s. Irony? Luck? No, that’s logical and smart. My dinner consisted of a plate of fun that created a smile on my face and a siesta in my mouth. Mexicans have their stuff together when it comes to dishes – simple. Meat. Cheese. Beans. Salsa. Tortillas. Period. They have managed to create approximately 8,466 different combinations of deliciousity out of these 5 ingredients. To an industrial engineer, that’s music to my ears (well, music to my mouth). What enabled this gracious score however was their extra effort in offering an appetizer like “Chor-Queso” – genius. To be honest, most anything mixed with melted cheese is bound for greatness, but chorizo? Come on! That’s Pulitzer Prize worthy if you ask me. Then to top it off, the salsa for the ever-popular-amongst-Mexican-restaurant “unlimited tortilla chips” (yet another reason for eatery Hall of Fame induction), was almost pureed. For a guy who loves salsa flavor but isn’t fond of chunky tomato pieces, this is the encore to the previously mentioned music to my mouth billboard topper.

In addition to the obviously fantastic food, I won’t deny that the geographic convenience played into my rating this week as well – Los Arcos is within the Mount Pleasant Town Center fairly close to our curent location, which means great things for Los Arcos, and not-so-great things for the E & J family bank account. Fortunately, dinner at most Mexican restaurants is still cheaper than a gallon of gas. What happened to $1.25 a gallon? Damn you Chavez.... you deserve this economic crisis.

Overall Rating: 7.5/8 (the highest yet!)

On a side note, gas down here is $1.89 a gallon! How exciting!

Frank's Review:

They brought me a new nylabone home so I don't care about the stupid restaurant ;)

Los Arcos Mexican on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not Very exciting ;)

Today was wonderful! I got into work at my usual 7 am and our Internet connections were not working. I started up work and around 9 am was told the Internet was not going to be working all day and that we were either to go to clients site or home so we could access our emails. I was thrilled! I came home and changed into comfy clothes and enjoyed a day of work from bed (with Frank)! This afternoon, I cleaned the apartment, practiced some body step and then headed out to help Kristen teach Body Step. I will be taking over this Thursday class while Kristen is gone (for the whole month of December!). Although I am very sad Kristen won't be here, I am thrilled to sub for her! After, I took Kristen's Body Pump.

I realized today that we were going to have tons of leftover lunch meat and cheese so instead of my planned dinner, I decided to make sandwiches. I mixed a little additional buffalo sauce in with our chipped buffalo chicken lunch meat and topped it with provolone cheese. I put them under the broiler and served them with steamed broccoli and fruit (not very exciting ;):

I am sooooooooooooooooo excited that tomorrow is Friday (aren't you?) Hopefully my work day (and YOURS!) will be easy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin Present

Rough week got you down....?

Keep your head up, its already Thursday!

I just wanted to let you know that I won't be submitting a BSI this week (tear!). When I told my friend Kristen I had been planning on getting her a little bday goodie, she mentioned that these pumpkin muffins might be a great birthday gift (hint, hint haha). Sooo I decided to use my pumpkin for a great homemade bday gift! Hope you have a good day!


It was so great to read about all of your favorite Thanksgiving foods! I think my favorites to hear about were Jenn's fav- stuffing with Oysters and Esi's favorite non-traditional lobster and shrimp. What are you having for din din tonight? I made chili! I have been trying to decrease my meat intake, so tonight's chili only used 1/2 a package of organic ground turkey and lots of beans:

Small amount of olive oil
1 small onion chopped
28 ounce tomato sauce
1 15 ounce can of each of the following: Pinto, Kidney, Black Beans and Chickpeas
1/2 package ground turkey
frozen corn (or fresh)
frozen green beans (or fresh)
2 rounded teaspoons chili powder
1/2- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce


Heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add ground turkey and cook through (no pink!). Add all other ingredients, turn to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes. Top with favorite toppings.

Chili +cold weather= heaven! Do you have plans for the weekend or are you just going with the flow?