Monthly Archives: October 2012

Eggplant and Cinnamon Apple Straws

I think it is only appropriate to start out by acknowledging the devastation happening in the Northeastern part of our country right now. I have friends in that area that are being affected but fortunately they are all safe and sound. Power outages are certainly no fun but if that is the worst one is dealing with in the wake of Sandy, I have a feeling many people are feeling grateful.

I stayed up well past my bedtime last night, glued to the television and twitter for updates and I am sad and shocked at the pictures I see. Mother nature can offer such beauty but man, she can certainly be a beast as well.

Sending out well wishes to anyone who has been affected by this storm. Hang in there….the sun will come out soon :-)!!

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Last Nights Dinner

I made a new to me dinner last night and it was amazing! Last week while planning my meals for the week, I came across a recipe for eggplant parmesan. Eggplant is one of those foods that I have always been a little leery of cooking in my house. I have had it before(though limited times) and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure how it would go over with my family. I decided to give it a shot anyway and I am glad I did.

The eggplant was sliced, soaked in an egg wash and coated in a breadcrumb/parmesan cheese mixture. I then popped it in the oven for 20 minutes, turning it halfway through and voila…done!! I was surprised at just how quick and easy it came together, especially because it tasted so great.  I found the recipe on Spark Recipes and would highly recommend it if you are a fan of eggplant parmesan but want a healthier version of it.

I can’t wait for lunch today because I get to devour the leftovers!!! Too bad I have to share with Liam…..who loved it just as much as I did. 🙂

 
This week a new food found it’s way into my house and oh boy, it has become an addiction!!

I blame it on one of my friends who mentioned just how good these cinnamon apple straws were and how they were always out of them at the store. I figured if they were constantly out, they were obviously in high demand so when I saw them fully stocked and priced at $1.50 per bag, I couldn’t help but grab a bag.

One serving of these is only 130 calories and for that you get 38 straws!!!!! That’s a lot of snack, or at least it sure feels like it!

Shame on me…..after the fact I realized I should have grabbed a 2nd bag for her but honestly, if I had I probably would have kept it as my back up stash. ;-).

 

I meant to post my weekly meal plan on Monday but it slipped my mind so I am going to do it today instead. Forgive my forgetfulness, will ya!

Weekly Meal Plan

Monday: Eggplant Parmesan with Hidden Veggie Noodles and marina sauce

Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Bites with sweet potato wedges and broccoli

Wednesday: Taco Soup(a Halloween tradition)

Thursday: Turkey Smoked Sausage with sun dried tomato quinoa and green beans

Friday: Out of town

All of this food talk has my tummy rumbling!! I have been a bit lazy this morning so breakfast hasn’t happened yet but that it about to change. Like right now.

Have you found any great new foods at the store recently?

Do you enjoy eggplant? What is your favorite way to eat it?

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Pizza Pumpkin Party

A new week is upon us, my friends. Are you ready for it? Surprisingly, I think I am but first, let me take you back and share some of the fun I had this weekend.

Friday Workout

I finished up my third weight workout of the week with Best Body Bootcamp along with a 20 minute interval workout. This workout was unique because the focus was on unilateral training. For instance, instead of doing a normal squat, I did them one-legged which is so much more challenging. It also shows just how much stronger one side of your body is than the other. This workout took a little more time than the others but it was a great way to mix it up.

Friday Fun

It all started on Friday night when we had a family pizza and pumpkin party. Earlier in the week, I had purchased a big ol’ pumpkin at the grocery store and the kids would not stop with the asking, “Is if finally time to carve the pumpkin”? To keep them from bugging the daylights out of me, I decided to turn it into a “party” even though it was just our usual relaxed Friday night. My kids are easy though….add in a pizza, Halloween colored plates and napkins and a pumpkin to carve and a party it is!!

I like to knock on Walmart a lot because come on, it is just soooo easy to do(people of Walmart, anyone?) but they come through with their take n bake pizzas. I love them and for the price, you just can’t beat them!!

After looking up some ideas on how to carve the pumpkin, we got it all set up and let the kids get busy getting out all the guts.

This is the first year my son really got down and dirty with the pumpkin and he was so grossed out by it. I had to laugh because he is usually ALL boy but he kept complaining that his hands were getting gross. My daughter on the other hand, was having quite the fun time with it!!

Thank goodness I have an artistic husband because if the pumpkin carving would have been left up to me we would have had triangle eyes and nose and a jacked up mouth. Instead, we got this cool pumpkin with the eyes, nose and mouth that are in the shape of bats. Cool!!!

 

Saturday

A local car dealership(or cluster of dealerships owned by the same person) hosted a Fall Festival in our community on Saturday that was completely free to the public. Camryn and Liam got to dress up in their costumes and it gave us a chance to get out and enjoy the chilly but very Fall-like weather.

Abbey Bominable and Snake Eyes!!!

If there are animals to be loved on, no matter where we go, my daughter will find them and make it like pulling teeth to get her away from them.

After playing with the bunny yesterday, Camryn has informed me that she no longer cares about getting a hamster…..a bunny will do just fine, instead. Uh……I don’t think so!!! I had one as a teenager(his name was Bunjiman) and while they are adorably cute they are a pain in the rear. If you let them out of their cage they poop all over AND they are known for eating things they shouldn’t….like my favorite pair of jeans!!

After the petting zoo, we played some games, met really tall men and even had a chance to sit in the police cruiser.

We ended up having quite the nutritious dinner of cotton candy and popcorn. Hey…..it was free ;-)!!

Sunday was pretty much a relax and doing nothing type of day, exactly how I like it!!! Now I am all geared up to take on this week and I have a feeling it is going to be a pretty good one. I mean, how can it not be when we get to celebrate hump day with cute kids in costume and lots of chocolatey treats!!

Did you go to any Halloween or Fall parties over the weekend?

Do you carve pumpkins with a stencil or are you more of a free hand type carver? I am neither….I am bad at it all!!

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Filed under Family, Fitness, Food and Recipes, Fort Worth Activities

Friday Favorites

Friday. How I have longed for you all week!!! I love Fridays so much, knowing that the “work” week has ended and the weekend is here for our enjoyment. Oh yes!

As a fun way to end the week, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of what I have found enjoyment in this week.

Southern Food

Chicken Fried Steak is hands down my favorite Southern dish. I don’t eat it often because it is far from healthy but this indulgent meal was definitely worth it. The fried squash that came with this meal was pretty darn good, too. I am sorry for those of you who will never have the pleasure of tasting homemade Southern food. You are SO missing out!!!

Cooler Temps

Fall may have finally arrived in Texas!!! This means we can put up the flip flops and tanks(yeah, right!!) and bust out the tall boots and sweaters. Really though, it is only going to be chilly for a few days but after that we get a full week of weather in the 70’s rather than the 80’s. This makes me a happy girl!! I want to be able to eat my pots of chili and soups without sweating.

School lunch with my daughter

Camryn has refused to let me eat lunch with her all year because of the anxiety she feels when it is time for me to go home. She has cried in the past so we decided it was best if I skipped dining with her until she felt more confident about the situation. FINALLY, she allowed me to come and she handled our parting ways like a champ. This one makes my heart so happy :-)!!

Egg Sandwiches

These have been my breakfast of choice most days this week. I have been alternating between bagel-wiches and waffle-wiches and it is safe to say that I will continue this trend for a while. They are just so filling and delicious!! Todays bagel-wich was filled with one egg plus one egg white and smeared with laughing cow light swiss, simply fruit strawberry jelly and Franks Buffalo sauce. A party in my mouth!!!

UnReal Candy

Candy without all the junk. What? I follow 100 Days of Real Food on Facebook and I saw her post about a candy that she was excited to have found for her kids. I knew if she was willing to give it to her kids, I had to check it out. Her family pretty much follows a 100% natural foods diet and she does not do a lot of “junk”. Last night, I made a run to Walgreens to get a bag of candy for my daughter to take to her school party when I spotted the UnReal candy. They were on sale for 2/$1.79 so I grabbed a couple right up.

I loved the peanut M&M type candy and will definitely buy these over the other options from now on. Are they healthy….ummmm, no!!! It is still candy but the ingredient list is SO.MUCH.BETTER.

  • No corn syrup
  • No Partially hydrogenated oil
  • No Artificial Ingredients
  • No GMO’s
  • No Preservatives
  • Low Glycemic Index

What I really love is that there are no artificial colors and dyes. I love the rich colors of the candy which come from beetroot juice, turmeric root extract and purple cabbage juice.

 

What are some of your favorite moments/items that you enjoyed in your life this week?

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Filed under Family, Food and Recipes, Motivation

Let’s Talk Turkey

Best Body Bootcamp

Yesterday was day three of Best Body Bootcamp and my favorite workout so far!! The workout included strength with super sets and ended with 20 minutes of cardio intervals. When I left the gym, I was nice and worn out and really felt accomplished. I love being a girl on a mission and going in with a plan.

I am really looking forward to the next 8 weeks of this program, especially since it will take me through Halloween and Thanksgiving which tend to be times that I indulge way more than I should. Hopefully with a set plan in place, I will be motivated to keep it under control!!

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Let’s Talk Turkey

I hope you don’t mind but I am going to take y’all back in time a little bit. Well, okay…..only back to this weekend.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out “HoneyBaked’s New Recipe Turkey Breast” and it could not have come at a better time!

If you remember, on Tuesday I did a little complaining explaining about how life has been feeling a little crazy lately. I mean, I know it happens to everyone from time to time but during those hectic days that life brings, it sure is nice to be able to provide an easy and tasty meal to your family. For us, dinner is the one time that we are all able to gather and talk about our day and re-connect. Yes, I am one of those moms who pretty much insist we eat dinner at the table together. Every night.

On Saturday, after a tiring day of cheer, grocery shopping and errand running I stopped by the local HoneyBaked store to grab my “New Recipe Turkey Breast” along with a couple of sides and dessert. I’m not gonna lie, after a day of running around I was more excited about not having to cook than I was the actual meal.

That was until I got it home and stole a bite of the turkey. Guys, it wasn’t even warmed up at that point and my mouth was sending out a thank you note!!! The turkey was INCREDIBLE, especially with the crunchy HoneyBaked glaze that was on it. I called Lance to the kitchen so he could try it out as well and yep, he was definitely in agreement!!!

I am so not ashamed to admit that I kept stealing pieces of the turkey while the sides were cooking. The turkey comes pre-sliced and fully cooked so it was just too easy to pick one up and munch on it.

I was given the option to choose two of their many sides and that was a hard decision!!! I thought about going the traditional Thanksgiving route for this meal and getting stuffing or sweet potato casserole or even cranberry sauce but in the end I knew I would be eating plenty of that soon enough so I just chose what sounded good at the moment.

Potatoes Au Gratin and Green Bean Casserole.

When I picked these up they were frozen which was great since I had about a 30 minute drive home. When I got home, I stuck them back in the freezer but if I had read the directions, I would have seen that I could have placed them in the refrigerator since I planned to cook them that day. Duh!! On the back of the containers, it gives directions for cooking from frozen or from a thawed state. Obviously, the process is faster if they are thawed but it was seriously no biggie.

I was able to whip up the entire meal in less than 30 minutes. When I said I wanted easy, I wasn’t kidding. I took the really easy route and nuked it all in the microwave. Normally, I like to use my oven for stuff like this because I think it tends to taste more “homemade” if you will but I was more than impressed with the way the sides turned out.

Would you guess these came from the microwave?

I had some fried onions in my pantry so I topped the casserole with them for a little extra crunch. That is the best part of meals like this. The hard work is already done for you so adding a couple of your own personal cooking touches only makes it that much better!!

That right there is Lance’s plate. Sheesh, do you think he likes his pepper or what?! I am a lame-0 and took a picture of his plate instead of mine because you could see the pumpkin in the background. Hey…..I was trying to get into the Fall spirit. I think it is pretty obvious that as hard as I may try…….I will never be a food photographer :-(.

After our turkey dinner, we had a little sumpin’ sumpin’ waiting for us that I was quite ecstatic about. I mean how could I not be, right? That is a whole lot of cheesecake for a family of four!!!

(I spy the pumpkin again!)

Since I was pretty much stuffed from supper, I decided to just take a couple slivers and test out more than one flavor. I went with the strawberry and the turtle flavored cheesecakes.

I was expecting to fall in love with this dessert but honestly, it was only so-so. I mean, there wasn’t anything not good about it but somehow it just didn’t blow me away. I ended up taking a couple bites of each piece and being done. If I had to do it again, I would get the cinnamon walnut coffee cake they offer. They had little sample of it available when I was picking up my order and it was mighty good!!

Overall, my family and I were super happy with the meal that we received from HoneyBaked. The turkey was phenomenal and if I were hosting a Thanksgiving dinner(I don’t, though :-)), I would have no reservations about serving up a couple of those and passing them off as my own. I kid……I kid!!!!

If you have a HoneyBaked store near you, you too can try out the new turkey recipe and receive $3.00 off with this coupon!!

 http://www.honeybakedtotherescue.com/pdfs/Coupons-LetsTalkTurkey.pdf

If you decide to serve one to your guests at Thanksgiving(or ANY time), I promise not to tell them you didn’t make it. Your secret is safe with me 😉

Are you the host/hostess of Thanksgiving in your family? If not, do you contribute by bringing a side dish or dessert?

 

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Filed under Family, Fitness, Food and Recipes, Fort Worth Activities

Sometimes Less = More

Yesterday was the official start to the Best Body Bootcamp that I will be participating in for the next 8 weeks.

I ended up breaking my workouts into two sessions since I didn’t have the ability to hit the gym with my little guy in tow. I ended up doing my weight training at home and did 20 minutes of cardio intervals at the gym later in the evening. My plan was to hop on the treadmill and run but when I got to the gym, I saw the step mill looking all lonely and calling my name!!

I started off pretty slow, warming up for five minutes with 40-50 stairs per minute and then I broke it into one minute intervals of high intensity and recovery:

  • 1 minute at 85 stairs per minute
  • 1 minute at 45 stairs per minute

I kept that up until the end of the 20 minutes and cooled down for a few minutes before calling it a day.

Oh, and I dare you to try this exercise today, The Scorpion!!! It was part of the weight training workout and my goodness, that is one TOUGH move!!! I face planted a couple times but I did manage to get through all three sets, doing 8 reps per side. Let me know how you do!!!

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Does anyone else feel like life is starting to get really busy? I don’t know what it is necessarily but I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. The Holiday season is approaching(basically here already!!), my kids school activities are increasing and I am working with Liam more and more trying to get him prepared for Kindergarten. My little man will be heading off to school in a year and I just have this need to soak up all the little moments with him because I know this time next year I will miss these everyday moments.

I have asked myself what I can do to help ease the anxiety I feel some days to accomplish it all without feeling completely frazzled.

  • Giving up exercise is so not an option. In fact, it is something that must become a priority because without it, I am not always the most patient or sane person. Seriously, exercise is the BEST anti-anxiety medication in my opinion.
  • Adequate sleep will also be essential. It is incredibly hard to power through the day and those workouts when your body does not have the energy to do so. I MUST get 7-8 hours each night.
  • Letting go of the small stuff. I am a neat freak and have even been called a little bit OCD at times. I can’t help it, it is just so much easier to relax in a tidy and clean house. However, I have two kids that love to play and I want them to be able to enjoy being at home without constantly hearing me complain about making a mess. I will never let my house get yucky but really, how is it going to hurt anyone if there are a few toys laying around until the end of the day. I will pick and choose my battles here because this I can tell you in unnecessary stress!!!

Lastly brings me to this blog. No worries, I have NO intention of giving it up. I love my little place here in the blog world and it gives me a place to be me, fitness-mama and crazed lunatic…ha!!. Some days though, it does almost become burdensome to me. I have gotten into the habit of blogging every day and while I enjoy doing so when I can, it also puts a lot of pressure on me on the days I find it hard to sit down at the computer. I don’t know why, it isn’t as if this is a money making machine(solely for enjoyment) but I still feel badly if I don’t publish something most days of the week.

That brings me to the whole Less=More. I don’t plan on drastically dropping my number of posts but I will not feel badly if I have the need to skip a day here or there. And you know what, I think that it will help keep me feeling fresh and motivated with what I write, too!!

Really, I just wrote all of that to say…..I still plan on blogging regularly MOST of the time but don’t be surprised if you see a day here or there where I decide to take a little blogging break!!!

(Thanks for listening and letting me work through that, y’all ;-))

Do you use the stability ball for your workouts very often? Are you good with your balance or do you still need some practice?

How do you prioritize what is important when your life starts to get busy?

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