Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Italian Baked Acorn Squash, Buffalo Sloppy Joes, Multi Seed Bread & Chocolate Cupcakes

So glad that this is a short week- how about you? I don't think I could do a full one after all the Christmas fun. I figured I would do a mish mash post, showing you a little bit of what's been cooking and baking in my kitchen.

First up, I made a batch of Italian Baked Acorn Squash. I made Josh a turkey version and myself a pink bean version. I forgot how incredibly delicious this combination is:

I also made up some Buffalo Sloppy Joes for Josh a la Rachael Ray (while I went for a second round of Italian Baked Acorn Squash):

We're going to be spending a few days with Josh's family to ring in the new year, so I also baked up some treats to share with them. First off, Cinnamon Sweet Bread:

I also made up this delicious seeded bread (using sunflower seeds instead of flax):

Later tonight, Josh and I are going to bake up some mini chocolate cupcakes using Martha Stewart's One Bowl recipe. We plan to do half with chocolate chips, half with dark & mint chocolate chips (pictures to come later!!).
I adjusted my workout schedule so that I could fit in all the fun with Josh's family. My week of workouts will look something like this:
  • Monday: Taught Body Pump and Body Step
  • Tuesday: Taught Body Attack
  • Wednesday: 45 minute spin and two mile run
  • Thursday: Off
  • Friday: Off or 6 ish mile run
  • Saturday: Teach Body Step
  • Sunday: 6ish mile run or off (depends on Friday)

If I don't "talk" to you again beforehand, Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Weekend Dishes

Hello all!! I hope you had a VERY merry Christmas! Ours was just wonderful. We spent the day at my parents with my sister and her family. Santa was very good to Josh, myself and even Franky! I wanted to share a few of the eats from the weekend with you. I was a semi bad blogger and didn't take pictures of too much this weekend, so I apologize for the sparse images.

Outside the three varieties of hummus that I made as an appetizer (btw- no idea what the plural form of hummus is either haha), I also made a cauliflower gratin as a side dish. I used this food and wine recipe, but replaced the broccoli with a green variety of cauliflower, the cheddar with Gruyere, and eliminated the olives. It is MUCH lighter than other gratin recipes I've had in the past (no cream!!) and is totally delicious:

I also made up another batch of graham cracker pancakes on Christmas Day. This time, I used 1 cup of graham cracker crumbles and 1/2 cup of flour (vs. 3/4 of each). I will definitely continue to make the pancakes with this ratio- so delicious!:

Saturday was a day of working out (taught Body Step), running errands & cleaning. Josh and I got the whole house cleaned and caught up on lots of laundry. We also enjoyed dinner out at Mellow Mushroom.
Today, my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and my niece came over to our house for football. I set out a few easy appetizers, some mixed nuts:

And tortilla chips, pretzels and salsa:
I also made up a big batch of Aggie's pulled pork:

Which was served with cooked peppers & onions, bbq sauce, big pickles, cole slaw, and fruit salad (not pictured). This is my dad's plate:

I made up a monster salad with the cooked peppers & onions, fruit salad, black beans, salsa, romaine & broccoli slaw. We also enjoyed some delicious desserty treats my mom brought along.
Now we're relaxing! Did you have a nice Christmas (if you celebrate)? What was your favorite foodie part? Do you guys have New Years plans??

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Granola, Walnut Pumpkin Loaf and Three Varieties of Hummus

Thank you for all the positive words about my pretzels-they were a hit!

How has your week been treating you? Are you taking some time off? I worked my usual schedule but have Friday (obviously) off. I also got to work from home Wednesday & Today vs. going into the office.

On holiday weeks, do you guys stick to your normal workout schedule? I try to as much as possible. This week I actually ended up doing a little more because I had some additional classes at the gym I was subbing:

Monday: Taught 5:45 AM Body Pump and 4:30 PM Body Pump (got to the gym a little early for each so I ended up running/walking around 4 miles on the treadmill too)
Tuesday: Taught Body Attack
Wednesday: Taught 5:45 AM Body Pump and 6:00 PM Body Pump (little treadmill action again beforehand)
Thursday: Went to the gym with Josh and did up 6 miles on the treadmill
Friday: Off
Saturday: Teach Body Step
Sunday: Off

Are you guys doing any of the holiday cooking or did you make any foodie gifts? I put together a little foodie package for my parents consisting of two different kinds of granola:

A pumpkin walnut loaf:

Doggie Cookies (for their lab):

And a specialty dipping olive oil & pistachios:

I also made up three different kinds of hummus to eat as an appetizer on Christmas. To get started, I prepared some dried chickpeas:

Then I made up Caroline’s Artichoke Hummus:

and a Black Bean Hummus, that ended up as more of a puree:

All together now:

All will be served with fresh veggies and pita chips. And tomorrow, I will be making up a cauliflower and broccoli bake.

And for some laughs- a hilarious video. Merry Almost Christmas !!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Thank goodness it’s the weekend! Hope you are having a fabulous one. My weekend started out great! I taught Body Attack and then Josh and I had a date night. We went to Mosaic for dinner and I got the black bean chocolate chili again. I also got a side of fruit and pita (sorry for the dark pictures!).

Josh got the sesame encrusted tuna with a side of mango rice and zucchini and squash.

Afterwards, we hit up Starbucks for a couple of mistos and came home to watch the Ugly Truth.
We watched the movie with this guy:

The movie was cute! It was a nice night even though we were both exhausted (as you can see in our eyes in the picture below haha):

This morning, I taught Body Step and Pump. I taught at a different gym than I usually do on Saturday mornings and LOVED the energy in the room. I burned up a storm! Afterwards, I went food shopping for the week and came home for lunch and baking.

Do you guys have certain blogs you ALWAYS turn to when you need a certain type of recipe or idea? For me, when I know I need a baked good…I look to Maria or Jessica. For party ideas, Sabrina is my go to girl! She really knows how to put together a party menu and has some fabulous ideas. Tonight, we’re attending another Christmas party and I wanted to bring something special the party. I followed Sabrina’s recipe for chocolate covered pretzel rods and made up this amazing plate:

Almond & Chocolate Chip:

Graham Cracker Crumb:

More almond and walnut:

Thank you Sabrina!!! If you love chocolate covered pretzels and want to send some as a gift/buy some for yourself- check out these awesome pretzels at Nuts online!!

I also made up another batch of Mint Chocolate Chip cookies for Josh and his friend who spent the afternoon playing video games ;).

Tonight, its party time! Tomorrow should be filled with lots of relaxing. What are you up to?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Graham Cracker Pancakes

Yah- you read that right! Hope you all are having a great week so far. Tomorrow is FRIDAY!! Tonight is Brinner night at Itzy’s Kitchen. I am a huge pancake fan, but wanted to try something a little bit different. I found this recipe at Mr. Breakfast for Graham Cracker Pancakes and decided to cook up a batch to eat later tonight.

  • 1 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely crushed graham cracker
  • 1 egg (I used egg beaters)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter – melted (I used smart balance)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another. Combine and cook on griddle (if you need more specific directions, see link above). Deliciousness! Topped with frozen blackberries:

How are your workouts going this week? Mine are looking as follows:
  • Monday: Ran 2 miles, Taught and tapped Body Pump (I submitted my video for assessment, fingers crossed!! I am also working on trying to get a clip of my video up on the blog)
  • Tuesday: Taught Body Attack
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Taught 45 minute Body Step and 45 minute Body Pump
  • Friday: Teach Body Attack
  • Saturday: Teach Body Step and Body Pump
  • Sunday: Off or walk

What are you guys up to this weekend? Josh and I have a nice date night planned for tomorrow (yayy) and we have a Christmas party Saturday night. Can you believe Christmas is NEXT week???

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend/Charleston SPCA

Hi guys :) Thank you for all the support via your comments on my last post. They all had me smiling!! Have you had a good weekend so far? Mine has been very nice.

A little cleaning, a 6 mile run, and a few hours of work followed by shopping with my Aunt & Mom. We ate lunch at a great little cafe in Mount Pleasant called Mosaic. The restaurant has a very cozy atmosphere and the menu is filled with delicious pitas, sandwiches, rollers (wraps), salads, soups, pita pizzas and burgers. The best part (as per their website):

"MOSAIC sources the best local ingredients (whenever possible) to create healthy, beautiful, sumptuous and regionally focused seasonal cuisine with inspiration drawn from many different regions of the world."

When I saw their specials, I knew I wanted the soup special:

It was amazing!

Mosaic Cafe & Catering on Urbanspoon
Friday night, we went to Josh's work holiday party (sorry for the dark/grainy picture):

Today I taught Body Step and went grocery shopping. Then, Josh and I headed to the Charleston SPCA to make a donation of money and towels and to give all of the adorable dogs some cookies.

The dogs were SO cute, I wanted to take them all home :). Animal shelters can always use donations!! We grabbed a copy of their "wish list" and plan to donate again in the future:

My favorite item on their wish list is peanut butter ;)

That's always on my wish list too.
Tell me about your weekend!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beef & Broccoli

Hope you all are having a nice Thursday. I disappeared for a few days and apologize for my absence. After discussing the hectic-ness that has been these last few weeks with Josh, I have decided to slow down my blogging a bit and spend more time enjoying life. I know you all understand! Instead of daily dinner posts, you will start seeing more sporadic postings a time or two a week with recipes or just fun info about what is going on with us. I hope you will continue to read.

Workouts this week have been fabulous thus far:

  • Monday: Taught Body Pump, ran 2 miles
  • Tuesday: Taught Body Attack
  • Wednesday: Ran 2 miles, 45 minute Spin
  • Thursday (to be): Teach 45 minute Body Step, 45 minute Body Pump
  • Friday (to be): Short run or off
  • Saturday (to be): Teach Body Step
  • Sunday (to be): Off

I also got my new releases for Pump, Step and Attack! Very exciting, but overwhelming to know how much choreography I need to learn:

I have made and posted about this recipe before (based on this cooks.com recipe), but it really is a great home version of takeout and Josh LOVES it, so figured it was worth a second post. This can be placed on top of rice (or any of your other favorite grains).

Beef and Broccoli

Quick Brown Rice (or other favorite grain, Josh requested none this time around)
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 lb. thin beef
Olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (or desired amount of jarred garlic)
1/4 tsp. red pepper, crushed, dried
2 c. chopped broccoli
1/2 c. beef broth

In a bowl, combine cornstarch and soy sauce with a whisk. Coat thin beef with sauce, cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours (or overnight). Drain, Reserve marinade (important!!). Cut beef into thin, bite sized strips.

Cook rice (or other grain) according to package directions.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to electric skillet or skillet on cook top on medium-low (250 degrees). Add garlic and red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes and remove- place in same bowl as reserved marinade. Add 1 tablespoon oil and broccoli, cook 2 minutes and remove to separate bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil and beef and cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add beef broth, reserved marinade and garlic/red pepper, bring to boil, stirring constantly, cook for 1 minute. Add broccoli and cook 2-3 minutes or until broccoli is at desired tenderness (make sure you don't burn the sauce). Serve with rice.

Do you have a favorite take out at home recipe?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Favorite TJs Products, Vegan Asparagus Soup

Hi Guys. Thank you all for the sweet comments on our home, decor, and all of the baking I did yesterday!! You are the absolute best.

Did you have a nice Monday? Mine was filled with teaching early AM Body Pump (fabulous!), running two miles, work, and lots of errands. All and all, a great day. Since tonight's dinner is a repeat, Tal Ronnen's Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup:

(so good- run out and get this cook book!!), I figured I would share with you some of my favorite TJs products. No need to comment if you're busy- you all have just been so generous with sharing your favorites with me (and if you have more, feel free to add!!), that I figured I would share mine:

Other un-pictured favorites: Pumpkin and Apple/Cranberry butters and ANY of their nut butters!
What are you looking forward to this week? I am going shopping on Friday with my Mom and Aunt and can't wait!