Monday, January 31, 2011

E: Cornmeal Pancakes

Hope your Monday is off to a good start! I just wanted to drop in to tell you a few things:

1. Again, thank you all so much for your sweet words on my pregnancy update.

2. Josh had his friend Jeremy over for dinner last night and I made up Heather’s incredible cornmeal pancakes.  Since I didn’t have any cake flour on hand, I placed 2 tablespoons corn starch in the bottom of a 1 cup measuring dish and then filled the rest with all purpose flour. Otherwise, I completely followed her recipe. I topped the pancakes with bananas, blackberries, and syrup. So good!


3. Have you guys tried any of the new Chobani flavors? We have tried the black cherry and the kids honey-nana and are VERY impressed. A full review of the new Chobani flavors will be coming to Itzy’s Kitchen soon.


Enjoy your week! Any exciting plans?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

E: Granola Bars, Weekend & Preggers Update

Hope your weekend has been wonderful!! Here is the “quick” run down of mine.

Friday: After work, errands & housework, I made up a batch of granola bars. I switched my recipe around just a bit:


  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal  (or ground up almonds)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 package chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (can use applesauce)
  • 2 large eggs (can use flax substitute)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well (at first it will seem like there isn’t enough wet- keep mixing!).  Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Push mixture into the bottom of pan with the back of a spatula/spoonula. Bake for 28-30 minutes until slightly browned on top. Let cool completely, cut into bars, enjoy!



Friday night, Josh and I had a date night in! I made tacos for Josh & a taco salad for me. Two ingredients were key in this dinner. 1) TJs Taco Seasoning (that Josh’s Mom picked up for us). I had heard that this stuff is SPICY, so I only used a small amount and we loved it:


2) A sample of Pace Picante salsa I got from Food Buzz (disclaimer: I received this product for free):


My completed taco salad with greens, carrots, jalapenos, salsa, ground turkey, refried beans, and a broiled tortilla:


Saturday, I went to the gym, got my hair done and then enjoyed lunch with my Mama. Saturday night, we hit up Sette with Bryan and Mandi.  Me & Josh:


Mandi & I:IMG_1272

I was a little boring and got a chicken salad, but it was tasty :)


Today, probably brunch with friends and cleaning. What are you up to?

Pregnancy Update: 14 week photo(showing BeBand, explanation below)-


I’m feeling much more energized this week (even given my work travel)! Cravings are about the same, but I seemed to have a thing for popcorn this week too. Things that have surprised me: How quickly my HR skyrockets during workouts. To answer a couple of the questions I was asked:

1. Will you continue to teach classes through your pregnancy? A lot of the instructors I know taught right up until they popped! My swelling issues have prevented me from teaching so far and I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back until after the baby is born. No biggie- TOTALLY worth it :)

2. Is it hard to tone it down in class? Um, yes! Especially Step….I love the explosive moves. BUT I keep my heart rate monitor on and check it constantly to make sure I’m staying under my recommended limits.

3. please make sure to eat enough protein ok? :) I am! I monitor my protein intake every day! My doctor recommended 75 grams per day in the second and third trimester and I’m doing my best to meet or exceed this total. Again, another reason I am adding a little meat back into my diet.

4. Can you still sleep like normal or have you had to change your sleeping position? The recommendation I received from my doctor was to sleep on your side as much as possible, rotating to your back when necessary. After the fourth month, you should try to spend all of your sleeping time on your sides. This was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be!! I used to be a belly sleeper, now I find the thought of sleeping on my stomach uncomfortable.

Favorite pregnancy product so far, BeBand’s:


My regular jeans still fit fine, but are a little uncomfortable when I sit down. These let me unbutton the top button without my pants falling off ;)

Enjoy your Sunday!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

E: Crock Pot Minestrone & Oat Soda Bread

I hope you guys are having a great week.  I’m always excited when Friday comes along, but this week I’m EXTRA excited….traveling really took it out of me! What are you up to this weekend? Other than a hair appointment, I don’t really have any plans (fabulous!).

As I mentioned in my last post, Josh’s Mom came for a visit earlier this week. Instead of heading out to dinner, I wanted to make an easy and comforting dinner for her first night in town. I am a big fan of Robin Miller’s recipes and knew I wanted to make this crock pot minestrone the minute I saw it.  The ditalini pasta makes it extra fun and parmesan is a required topper!


For the soup, I used tomato sauce (8 ounces) instead of diced tomatoes (Josh isn’t a chunky tomato fan) and an additional cup of vegetable broth. I also used chickpeas instead of white beans (I realized at the last minute that I didn’t have any white beans). The outcome was very tasty, but could use a little spice action.

A good soup requires a great side of bread. I originally thought about making focaccia but changed my mind and made this oat soda bread from 101 Cookbooks. Heidi’s recipes seem to always be winners.  Pre-bake:


And post:


Plated with fruit:


The bread was delicious. My only note is that I had to use at least 1/2 cup more AP flour to get my dough to come together properly.

Two other quick items of importance:

1. Yesterday was Frank’s birthday! He is 5 years old. As is tradition on his birthday, we sang happy birthday to him and gave him a nice piece of steak with his usual food. This is really the only time of year we feed him “people” food:



2. A HUGE thank you to the nice people at Stonyfield and Kristina (specifically) for sending me the sweetest baby gifts! Check out this bib, onesie and growth chart book (disclaimer: I received these products for free):




Adorable! Thank you again :) He or she will definitely be loving these! Mandi & I will also be doing a review of Stonyfield’s whole milk yogurt soon (and a GIVEAWAY)- so stay tuned!

Hope you have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

M: RR’s Recipe #2…Portabella Cacciatore

So I mentioned in my last post that my goal right now is to make all 10 of the top 10 recipes of 2010 from the Rachael Ray Show. I’m super stoked about my little personal goal and so far the results have been fantastic!

Can I please say that about 8 years ago when my husband and I first started dating, he loathed mushrooms. Fast forward to January of 2011 and his favorite pizza topping is mushrooms and best of all, he’s eating an entire meal made out of portabellas! I’m so proud =)


This is the second of the 10 Rachael Ray recipes I’ve made and this meal really turned out amazing. I mentioned some of these recipes were a little outside of my comfort zone – this one was one of those meals - a portabella cacciatore.


I have never made a cacciatore before, much less with mushrooms being the main ingredient. But, OH the flavors of this dish! The mushrooms with the red wine and veggies, spices, and tomatoes..seriously, this was amazing. And the hubs couldn’t stop ooing and ahing over it. He ate it for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day!


Make this recipe…you might be as surprised as I was at how much you like it! Speaking of, since I wasn’t sure how well this dish would go over, I cut everything in half so as to not waste a lot of food if we didn’t like it. That was the only major change I made.

This recipe is a little long, so for your sake I won’t write out the recipe =) But, if you’d like it, just visit miss Rachael Ray here. If you like mushrooms, I promise you will love this dish!


Are you a mushroom fan? Have you ever made a dish or tried something you never had before and it’s now one of your favorites?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

E: Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my pregnancy update! You sure know how to make a lady feel good :). I will answer any questions I received in my next update on Sunday.  AND- Happy Birthday to my favorite fanatic!!

Josh’s Mom came into town for the first part of this week to look at a few additional houses. I wanted to make sure there was something delicious and easy to grab for breakfast, so I made this Quaker’s Oats applesauce oatmeal muffins recipe.


The only change I made was to use cinnamon applesauce vs.. plain.


These smelled INCREDIBLE while baking.


The topping adds a nice crunch and extra bit of sweetness to the muffins.


Just delicious! I have to travel for work a couple days this week. Definitely packing one of these babies in my carry on ;). Are you a muffin fan? Any favorite recipes to share?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

M: Honey Rosemary Chicken With Rice Pilaf

So I have made a goal for myself. What would that goal be, you might ask? Nothing big, nothing super special, but I really want to successfully accomplish Rachael Ray’s top 2010 recipes from her talk show.

I watched this episode recently and all of her recipes just sounded fantastic.

Plus, I feel like recently I’ve become a little complacent with my cooking and just want to challenge myself a little bit. I’m always doing new things with my baking, so why not try something new on the cooking front?

Some of these recipes are definitely a little out of my comfort zone, which I think is a good thing!

Maybe I will find something new I enjoy or a new ingredient I love using…we shall see! I won’t pressure myself to get them all done immediately, since most are pretty involved, but they will ALL get done! =)

Onto the first recipe of the 10 that I tried out – the Honey Rosemary Chicken.


Can I please just tell you how awesome this chicken was? It was definitely sweet, so you need to have a love for things sweet. But the sweetness paired with the fresh rosemary, shallots, and a little lemon. oh. my. goodness. so. good.


The honey made a thicker glaze that coated the chicken so nicely. And the crunch from the pine nuts sprinkled on top just really made the dish. I served it with a wild rice pilaf with dried cranberries and green onions and a side salad.


Honey Rosemary Chicken

from Rachael Ray

2 TB olive oil, divided

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 large shallot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped

1/2 cup honey

1 TB dijon mustard

juice of 1 lemon

**Optional: pine nuts or sliced almonds, toasted, for sprinkling on top

Heat 1 TB olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. When oil smokes, add chicken to the pan and cook about 6 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and cover with foil.

Reduce heat on pan to medium and add the other TB of olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, and rosemary to pan and cook about 2 minutes. Add honey, dijon, and lemon juice. Stir. Add chicken back to pan and coat on all sides with the bubbling glaze. Turn off heat.

Sprinkle with toasted nuts, if desired.



Oh, my best friend Jen came to visit with her 8 month old chocolate lab…So, Marley, Ziggy, and Charlie decided to make an appearance =)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

E: Weekend & Preggers Update

Hi guys :) Hope that you are enjoying your weekends. I have decided that my Sunday posts will include a small pregnancy update section at the very bottom of the post. I will include a bump picture (with my shirt covering the bump). If these sort of things make you squeamish/you don’t like talking about pregnancy, feel free to skip ;)- I TOTALLY understand!

This weekend was really nice! Friday afternoon started off with baking. Josh and I were meeting some of my favorite group fitness instructors for dinner, so I baked them up a batch of my peanut butter flour chocolate chip cookies:



While baking, I wore my new Itzy’s Kitchen apron that Josh’s mom sent me. She also sent me another dish towel:IMG_1219


We went to dinner at Mellow Mushroom.  Our head group fitness manager got me the sweetest gift, a day-by-day baby guide where you can add your own personal notes & information:


So sweet!

Saturday morning, I was allowed back to taking group fitness classes, low-impact. I took Body Step, I’ve missed it so much! The rest of the day was spent cleaning the house, napping with Josh and Frank, and baking up a batch of granola for my Dad:


Saturday night, Josh & I had a date night in. I made a nice, easy spaghetti squash dinner. Josh had his with meat sauce, I had marinara, and we both had mozzarella on top. I always forget how filling spaghetti squash is. Neither of us could even come close to finishing out bowls :)


We also watched The Other Guys. It was….ok.

Sunday, I headed to my parents for brunch.


The restaurant in their neighborhood has incredible views and delicious food. I got the Carolina breakfast with two scrambled eggs, a double order of fruit, and sourdough toast.



My Mom also gave me some of her incredible homemade cranberry sauce. I can’t wait to dive in- thanks Mama!


The rest of the day will be spent on housework & watching football :).

Pregnancy Update:  13 week photo (again, popping a little more than normal due to the swelling)-


Feeling good! Exercising regularly (low impact: walking or classes).   Craving wise…enjoying vegetables and yellow mustard and cantaloupe. Things that have surprised me: 1. how tired I was during my first trimester and 2. how small your bladder feels right off the bat! If you have any pregnancy related questions, feel free to throw them my way and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

M: Chicken Tetrazzini With Peas

Happy Saturday!!! How is everyone’s weekend treating them? Mine is going pretty awesomely (is that a word?) since this girl is visiting me =)

Have you ever made a chicken tetrazzini before? You should…it is awesome. There are many variations – complicated ones with lots of ingredients and simple ones with fewer ingredients. But any way, it is fantastic!

This recipe is definitely one of those simpler ones, made with fewer ingredients. But it is creamy and hearty, with baby peas and mushrooms. You can obviously substitute any ingredients you’d like or just forego something you don’t like.


But this makes an ideal one dish meal! Paired with a salad it would be even better! I made it ahead of time yesterday so I could just pop it in the oven once dinner time came. And this was the outcome:


Perfection! Jen and the hubs LOVES this recipe. Make it…you’ll be happy you did =)

Here’s the recipe for ya

Chicken Tetrazzini

slightly modified from Southern Living

1 (7 oz.) package vermicelli

3 cups chicken, chopped (about 4 medium size breasts)

1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 (10 oz.) container alfredo sauce (I used light)

1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained

scant 1/2 cup chicken broth

scant 1/4 cup sherry cooking wine

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

1 cup frozen baby peas

1/2 cup slivered almonds

**Optional: 3 oz. chopped prosciutto (I didn’t use, but plan to in the future!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Stir together chicken, 1/2 cup parmesan, and next 7 ingredients. Stir in drained pasta. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7 baking dish or ramekins. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining parmesan.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


P.S. Marley says he’s tired… =)


Friday, January 21, 2011

E: More Green Soup

Happy Friday!! Do you have weekend plans lined up? We’re going to dinner with friends tonight & to brunch with my parents on Sunday. Other than that, I’m hoping to clean the house, walk, watch football & relax!

I seem to have a love for all green soups. I have made asparagus, spinach & potato, split pea, and parmesan pea soup. When I saw Ellie Krieger’s version of pea soup, I knew I had to give it a go! The recipe contains only a few ingredients and it is a snap to make. My adjustments: vegetable broth (instead of chicken broth), added in 1 clove of garlic (diced) and 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper. The outcome (green soups are just NOT pretty ;)):


I served mine with toasted Arnold’s thin “croutons” and cheese. Josh had a roasted chicken, cheese & BBQ sauce sandwich on the side. We also both had fruit.



Ellie’s soup was OK. I think I will stick with split pea.

Do you like green soups?

As a side note, my posts (Erica) start with E: and Mandi’s posts start with an M:. I think there has been a little confusion over whose who and who is posting what. Sorry if that wasn’t clear before!