Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend in Pictures

I hope you all are having a fabulous weekend :) Mine has been relaxing and just overall very enjoyable! Friday night was a low key night in. Josh and I had a nice dinner and watched a terrible movie (Land of the Lost) and celebrated Frank's Birthday! He turned four on Wednesday while I was on travel. To celebrate- we made him up a steak:

He was one happy pup! Saturday morning, I taught Body Step and went food shopping. The rest of my day was mostly spent relaxing. Josh's friend came over Saturday night and I cooked them up some baked french fries:

And TJ's Buffalo Burgers:

I enjoyed a big ole stuffed squash and tons of fruits and veggies. Yum Yum. I crashed early and got up this morning for a six mile run. It was actually super cold (for SC) this morning. It was around 27 degrees and the puddles from the rain last night had started to freeze over. I had to tip through most of them, but had a great run overall.

Then my parents came up and we headed out to Sea Biscuit Cafe for Brunch. My adorable parents:

Josh and I:

My fabulous Aunt & Uncle:

Josh got pancakes:

And I got the tree huger (yogurt, granola, fresh fruit):

And we all enjoyed coffee :). I got a few things done around the house and then ran out to meet up with my friend Jill. Tonight, I am cooking up some taco salads using a new to me TJs product! Love this store...I wish we had one!

I can't believe tomorrow is Monday already! Are you guys attending or hosting a super bowl party?? If so, what are you making (links welcome!!)? We are having people over and I'm excited!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders

Hi guys and HAPPY WEEKEND! I got home late last night from my business trip and spent today teaching body pump, working, cleaning the house, running errands, etc. When it was time for dinner, I wanted something filling and quick! I remembered that I had a wonderful sampling of Gardein products the company sent me to try out. According to the company, Gardein products are:

"...a tasty new line of plant-based high protein foods with a meaty texture, is a meat-free alternative to chicken or beef. gardein’s texture is very similar to that of animal protein but it’s 100 percent free of animal or dairy ingredients and is made from a blend of vegetables, grains and pea, wheat and soy proteins."

As you know, I am not normally a big fan of soy products (due to the controversy surrounding their safety) however, Gardein products are made from Non Genetically Engineered Soybeans:

and are endorsed by Tal Ronnen, whose recipes I love! I decided to try the Seven Grain Crispy Tenders tonight.

I baked them in the oven according to the package and served them alongside some steamed Brussels sprouts & carrots and a sliced apple (I also had a yogurt on the side).

Up close and personal:

The tenders smelled AMAZING and they look just like chicken. I nervously took a bite of my first tender and waited for that horrible fake meat after taste....but it never came! They are truly delicious and taste just like your traditional chicken tender!! I can't wait to eat these again on a salad or in a wrap.
To give some strength to my review, I baked up a few for my husband to try. I figured this would be the ULTIMATE meat eater test. Josh's thoughts: "I can tell its not chicken, but it tastes really good! And they're actually really appealing to me because there is nothing worse than biting into a tender and getting a chunk of fat and that will never happen with these. I would eat these any night of the week- where can we buy them?" Wahoooooo!
Thank you Gardein for the free samples! I can't wait to try the other varieties (and will try to make sure I post my reviews on all of the products I received). To find Gardein at a store near you, click here.
What are you up to this weekend?? I have to teach Step tomorrow morning and then have some food shopping planned. Other than that, I am hoping to relax and spend lots of time with Josh and Frank.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Weekend & Workouts

Hey All! This is going to be a pictured filled, minimum word post. We had a great weekend with Josh's parents. We looked at houses (we're trying to convince them to move here ;)), ate wonderful meals, and just enjoyed our time together.

Dinner out at Blossom, Josh's parents:

Josh and I:
My personal white pizza (it was sooo filling- I ate half and Josh finished it up for lunch the next day!):

Josh's Dad's Mahi:

Josh's Mom's Chicken:

Josh's fettuccine:

Blossom was very tasty! I liked it much more than Cypress.

Blossom Cafe on Urbanspoon
On Sunday, we went to an Oyster Roast to raise money for the Roper St. Francis Senior Center. The Oyster Roast was held at Bowen's Island Restaurant (anyone seen the Man vs. Food Charleston episode?):

Even though I'm a vegetarian, I enjoyed the beautiful views and was happy to attend the event to support a friend who works for the Senior Center:

Such a great weekend! To top it all off, I got this fabulous package of European goodies from a contest I won at Geek Turned Athlete (THANK YOU NICOLE!!!)

How is your week going? Powering through your workouts? I love reading about what you all do to keep healthy/in shape. Some of my favorites this week? Tina is loving Body Pump, Janetha is kicking butt with her own boot camp style workouts, Maria is also enjoying Les Mills programs with both Body Pump and Combat and Naomi is running and training in the gym. I am traveling this week for work, so my plan is a little up in the air:
  • Monday: Ran & Taught Body Pump
  • Tuesday: Home style boot camp workout and outdoor run
  • Wednesday: Workout at Hotel Gym
  • Thursday: Off
  • Friday: Teaching Body Pump (probably a short run beforehand)
  • Saturday: Teaching Body Step
  • Sunday: Off

Random Question- do you all celebrate Valentine's Day? Do you go all out? Do you just enjoy the candy? Or do you hate it? Let me know ;)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Domino's Berry Special Muffin

Happy weekend! Josh’s parents are here visiting, so we have been running around doing all kinds of fun stuff . As I’ve told you before, whenever people visit, I like to have some good “counter snacks” laying around. That way, if anyone gets hungry, they can have easy access to food. Lucky for me, the people at Domino’s sugar had sent me a gift card to use to buy ingredients so I could try some of the recipes on their website.

I decided to try their Berry Special Muffins Recipe. Since I was running low on AP flour, I used half all purpose, half whole wheat. I also went without the topping to keep them a touch lighter. The outcome- just beautiful! They’re almost crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside:

Check out the Domino’s Website. They even have some great homemade gift ideas on there. Thank you Domino’s!

I also made up some of my own granola (oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax, honey, and a little oil baked at 250 for 1 hour. I also added in some dried cherries after cooking):

I got lots of fruit and yogurt to mix with the granola- yum!

For their arrival, I also made up Broccoli Hut’s awesome artichoke hummus and this spicy hummus. I had made these for Christmas previously and had cooked up my own chickpeas. This time, I used canned chickpeas and the outcome was a lot smoother!

I also set out some fresh fruit and veggies.

I also wanted to thank the wonderful Emily for the sweet package she sent to me:

What are you excited about this weekend?? We're going to a new place in Charleston for dinner!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vegan Creamy Tomato Sauce & Body Attack Launch

Thank you all for the awesome chili recipe ideas and links! I am excited to make up another batch of chili incorporating some of your suggestions. How has the week been treating you? How are the workouts coming? My week in workouts is panning out as follows:
  • Monday: Taught Body Pump x’s 2 (AM and PM) plus some running prior to each class (couple miles)
  • Tuesday: Body Attack Launch
  • Wednesday: Ran 6 miles outside! It had been over a month since I had run outside. I also haven’t been able to run over a couple miles at a time due to my teaching schedule. I was super excited to see I hadn’t lost my mojo:

  • Thursday: Off
  • Friday: Teach Body Attack
  • Saturday: Teach Body Step
  • Sunday: Off

I also have another great recipe to share with you all. I saw this fabulous post on Pioneer Woman Cooks and decided to make it vegan with just a small switch in the ingredients. I also made a half batch.

Vegan Creamy Tomato Sauce


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/4 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts (14.5 Oz. Quartered Or Whole) Drained
  • 1 can tomato sauce (low sodium-8 Oz.)
  • ½ cup cashew cream
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add artichoke hearts and tomato sauce. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cashew cream. Add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat until heated through.

You can place this amazing sauce on top of vegan pasta, mix in additional vegetables, rice, etc, etc!

My husband LOVED this and I did too! So yummy.

I figured I would share with you a few pictures from our Body Attack Launch. This release has a heavy soccer feel to it, so we dressed accordingly. Our one instructor peaking over her shoulder at her silly husband:

Take 2:

Me, in action. Last cardio track! Notice the sweat...

This is a GREAT release. I can't wait to teach it again on Friday.
On a very important side note, Diana is raising money for Haiti through an online Bake Sale, you can read the details here.

Weekend plans??

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Adjusted Tina Bars & Acorn Squash and Bean Chili

Hi guys! How are you? I am doing well and have been having a fun week in the kitchen so far! Given this, I wanted to share two recipes with you.

First off, we have the Body Attack launch tonight, so I wanted to make up a granola-ish, cookie-ish type of bar to give out to all of the instructors. I decided to tweak Tina's original recipe for her Oatmeal Raisin bars. Every time I make these, they get rave reviews. I made a few adjustments to the ingredients but otherwise followed her directions:

2 cups dry oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup oil (you could also use applesauce)
2 eggs or ½ cup egg substitute (or equivalent- check your egg substitute container)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup chocolate chips

Second, a wonderful Itzy's Kitchen reader (hi Pam!!) sent me a delicious recipe from the PCC Natural Foods Market News Letter (from Seattle) for Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili. I tweaked the recipe a bit and made a half batch. This resulted in 3 good sized servings. Here is the full recipe (~6 servings):

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups butternut or acorn squash in a 1-inch dice
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used tomato sauce as Josh isn’t a fan of tomato chunks)
  • 2 25-ounce cans black beans (about 5 cups) (I used a combination of black and pinto beans)
  • 1-4 cups vegetable stock (I used less because I used tomato sauce vs. diced tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¾ cup frozen corn
  • Salt to taste


In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and squash cubes. Sauté until onions are translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes(or tomato sauce), beans, corn, and vegetable stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, cayenne pepper and tomato paste. Let simmer for at least 25 to 30 minutes, until squash can be pierced easily with a fork.

Taste and add more cayenne pepper and/ or salt, if desired.

Serve with a squeeze of lime and garnish with cilantro and a dollop of whole-milk yogurt.

Recipe by Alicia Guy, PCC Cooks instructor (ingredients slightly adjusted)
Source: Sound Consumer, January 2010

I made a side of ground turkey with chili powder and mixed it into Josh's chili:

Do you have a favorite chili recipe (Links welcome!!)?? I'm off to teach Body Attack! Have a good night :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Long Point Grill & Chocolate Almond Milk

Happy weekend! Hope you all are enjoying it and getting in lots of relaxing, like Frank...

Our weekend has been really nice so far. Josh and I had a date night in on Friday night. We ate some dinner and watched Funny People. The movie was ok, but probably 30 minutes too long. Saturday morning, I taught Step and Pump, went grocery shopping, and then relaxed for the remainder of the day (so fabulous).

Saturday night, we went to dinner with friends at Long Point Grill, which is owned by the Dine With Sal Restaurant Group. The atmosphere is wonderful, very homey. The servers are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. The kitchen is open to the restaurant so you can see your food being prepared. They also have a ridiculous dessert menu, which is filled with treats from their sister restaurant Village Bakery. Although they do not have a wide variety of vegetarian selections on the menu, they were willing to make me up something special if I wanted it. Instead I choose to go with the soup of the day (which is going to be added to their regular menu), butternut squash topped with candied walnuts. It was even more amazing than it sounds. I ate about half (very rich!) and had to share it with the rest of the table:
I also got the Long Point Grill house salad:

And a side of grilled asparagus

Josh got the pistachio crusted chicken with asparagus and mashed potatoes. He loved it.

All in all, a great dinner!

Long Point Grill on Urbanspoon
I also tried a great little treat this weekend as recommended by HEAB. I heated up a cup of unsweetened almond milk:

and added just a touch of sweetener- totally delicious!

Today, I am going to focus on learning the new Body Attack Choreography. I also am taking CPR training to get re-certified and may meet a friend for some coffee. What are you up to?