Friday, March 27, 2015

The stuggle is real...

Thursday Recap:

Breakfast:  Brown rice cake with 1/4 avocado
...anddd those crumbs from the bottom of the bag that are sprinkled on top signal the end of my rice cake supply.  Who'd a thunk they'd be at the top of my latest shopping list???

Snack:  Easter bread

Lunch:  Apple with peanut butter, honey & cinnamon
This thing really is a cravings killer.  Again, I'm gonna credit the fact that it has ALL THOSE FLAVORS.

This thing has been on my list ALL winter leave it to me for it to FINALLY make its appearance at my table on the first 70 degree dayJ  At least it was there's thatJ

And I'm not sure what took so long for me to make it considering it's a ONE POT WONDER, making both the meat sauce... 

...AND pasta in the SAME PAN! 

Top with ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella and tossed in the broiler to give everything a quick melt and dinner hit the table in less than 30 minutes....WEEEEEEEEEEE! 

Could this possibly even BE bad??  Three cheeses + pasta + one pot to clean + EXTREME coziness!  Winner all around.

Workout:  Zumba
OK, so maybe the only place the pasta wasn't so great for, was having it BEFORE heading to this classJ  My near-7 month pregnant self doesn't exactly feel as 'light & dance-y' as usual anymore, so throw in heavy pasta and I felt like I was barely lifting my feet by the end of the class.  Still, I shuffled around and moved my arms enough to get a good sweat and that was as good as I could do last nightJ

At least I broke my sweet tooth for one night!  By the time I got home, there was enough time to chug some water, meditate and hit the hayJ    ...not that I wasn't thinking about CHOCOLATE before ZumbaJ

So, I'm thinking tonight might be the night I pull the "NJ Lenten Friday" card and call it pizza night around this house.  So listen to this:

-I initially wanted Pappa's (which has now relocated to Robbinsville, NJ), for their simple, classic tomato pie topped with fresh, whole garlic.  

-THEN I happened to see a featurette on our well-loved South Jersey fav Bricco on Facebook this morning, reminding me JUST how OBSESSED I was with this place in late December/early January.  I think we ate there three times in so many time being two days in a rowJ  I just couldn't get enough of their crisp pizza and outrageously good Cesar salad.

-THEN I remembered Scott's favorite Federici's has been on BOTH of our brains since my birthday trip for thin crustJ

-THEN I remember there was also a place in Bordentown that I had been wanting to try.

-THEN I remembered we have THE best Sicilian pie for take-home from Nino's and a ANOTHER new place around the corner that has a pretty cheap one in the area.

#JERSEY PROBLEMS!  THE STRUGGLE IS REALJ  I mean, our options for FABULOUS pizza are really insane.  And that's seriously not even a quarter of our options.  I could def add to that already obnoxiously long listJ

Oh, and wondering why my beloved Delorenzo's isn't on this list??  Because unless we're ready to go to dinner at 4, I'd prepare for a LONNNNNNNG wait to get into this place....esp. on Lenten Friday.  Hell, ANY Friday in that placeJ  I actually went on a random Wednesday night not too long ago and by the time we were done eating around 8pm, a waiting crowd had formed near-round our table.  Craziness.

Now that I think of it, 4 o'clock dinner doesn't sound TOO badJ

Soooooo....we'll see what wins outJ  Hope you guys have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

From side dish to main star....

Wednesday Recap

Breakfast:  Almond Meal/Flax pancake with peanut butter
My goal of late has been to add enough egg whites to make the batter JUST thin enough to be able to spread it around with a spatula as soon as it hits the pan to make as BIG of a 'cake as I canJ  Yesterdays was a beautJ

Workout:  Power Yoga class
Had a few breathless moments, but knew when to 'reign it in a bit' and made it through just fine.  Probably didn't help that the teacher didn't throw any stomach/back work (like bow or locust) which give me automatic breaksJ

Lunch:  Berry green smoothie
I was building this in my head mid-triangle pose in yogaJ
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Splash of pineapple juice
  • 3 pineapple slices
  • Frozen cherries
  • Frozen mango
  • Frozen Spinach
  • 1 large scoop protein powder

Snack:  Easter Sweet Bread 
Katie & my Mom frosted and decorated the bread yesterday morning and I could not WAIT to get over there and sample a piece (or 3J)

Dinner:  Parmesan-Cilantro corn burrito bowls
I had this Parmesan-cilantro corn recipe on deck as a side dish for the day, but after tossing around main dish pairing ideas and all of them seem TOO much, I thought "why not make the corn the main star in a burrito bowl"???

It took up a lot of burners on my stove, but honestly the only thing any of those pans really needed was a quick stir once in a while...
In the mix:
  • Brown rice, cooked & mixed with 1/2 cup of diced cilantro, juice from 1/2 a lime, a pat of butter and salt.
  • Frozen (or fresh) diced peppers
  • Black beans, drained & rinsed and heated with 1/4 cup water, and shakes of oregano, onion powder, garlic powder & cumin
  • Parmesan-cilantro corn
All piled into a bowl and topped with a dollop of guacamole, this made for a QUICK, HEALTHY and VEGETARIAN variation of the popular bowls...sans tofu.  (even though those sofritas ARE VERY good!) 
Surprisingly filling being 75% veggies and all of the flavors combined together really well (I WAS a little worried how the Parmesan would play along with the groupJ) But I'm definitely keeping that corn recipe in my pocket as a side dish for SUMMER.   The Trader Joe's roasted corn was good, but I bet it would taste even BETTER with JERSEY SUMMER CORN.  That and the fact that it came together in a heartbeat are all PLUSES I can get behindJ

Dessert:  Almond Joy pudding
Found this little number on the shelf of my local grocery store and was oh-so-excited.  Even more exciting is that it has specks of coconut and diced almonds swirled throughout.  Swoon....TEXTURE!  I feel like I've been eating throughout the day pretty well, but after dinner, my mind is SWIRLING with what to have for dessert.  That damn sweet tooth this week!!  Hopefully that moves along soon, but until then, this pudding was a somewhat LESS-guilty means of satisfying it's dastardly whims.  

So, um, HUMIDITY is in the forecast for today??  How much craziness is that??  That along with near-70 degrees and LOTS O' RAIN.  Guess it's not too bad of a day to have MORE Easter sweet bread making on the schedule for the day.  I'm surprised it's near 8am and Katie hasn't asked to go to Nona's yet since she's VERY excited about getting to "HELP!" (aka-her favorite activity these last few months.  Scott & I can't do too much without hearing "I WANNA HELP!"J)

Hope you guys have a good Thursday!  (SO CLOSE TO FRIDAY!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Since dinner was so healthy...

Tuesday Recap:

Are you surprised?J  I couldn't wait till morning to have another one of these lovelies.  I will admit that I tried making the recipe with 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta instead of 1/2 cup and it WAS more icy.  That extra 1/4 cup really does make a difference in the creamy consistency.  It DOES add 80 calories, but it's kinda worth it if it's that milkshake consistency you're looking to satisfy.

Lunch:  2 brown rice cakes with 1/2 avocado (1/4 on each) and a sprinkle of sea salt & a squeeze of lime juice
Thankfully a friend called me JUST in time to break the craving I was having for linguine with (cannned) clam sauce for lunchJ  Once I hung up with her, it thankfully had passed and I was more than satisfied with this quick lunch.  This took about 1 minute to throw together and make a filling lunch of a satisfying snack= win/win.

Workout:  Tone it up Sandcastle Workout
I just wanted to do something quick and 'muscle-y', and this 15 minutes workout fit right in the middle of the day without too much of a fuss.

Snack:  2 slices Easter sweet bread with butter
Well, it's a tough job, but someone had to do it.  Katie & I had to be official taste testers of my Mom's first batch of our family's traditional sweet bread.  And by the way Katie INHALED her slices, I'd say it got a thumbs upJ 

Dinner:  Greek Chicken Tacos with Whipped Feta + steamed broccoli (not pictured)

The Greek-seasoned chicken & cucumber/tomato/red onion were all easy and delicious toppings.  But make no mistake, the STAR of THIS show was definitely that top little bowl of WHIPPED FETA!  (4 oz. low fat cream cheese, 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt, salt, 1 garlic clove and FETA whipped up in the food processor.)  I had stolen a forkful when I had made it in the afternoon and immediately texted Scott that dinner was going to be SLAMMIN! 

And I was right!  Smooth & tangy feta, topped with spiced chicken and crunchy vegetables on fire-kissed corn tortillas...YUM!
Aside from the feta, we also both LOVED the crunch of the fresh & cool veggies.  These felt SUPER healthy, which made us SUPER happy...especially since they were delicious to bootJ

Dessert:  Marshmallow & toasted coconut Dairy Queen Sundae (not pictured)
And since dinner tasted so healthy, why not a little decadence??J  My end-of-the-day sweet tooth has been PINGIN this week (if you haven't noticedJ) and I was A-OK with satisfying it with my latest fav.  Scott had to run out in the EXTREME COLD at the end of February when I craved this 2 Friday nights in a row.  And even though I felt REALLYBAD sending him out last night in the NOTSOWARMYET and on a Tuesday to boot, this just NEEDED to happen.  It just didJ  No regrets.

OK...time to head of to power yoga to work off the sundaeJ  Enjoy your Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A little help from Oprah;)

Monday Recap:

Breakfast:  Go Lean Triple Berry with unsweetened almond milk + strawberries
Love this flavor of cereal, especially at springtime (and on sale for $2.99 a boxJ)  The protein in the cereal + the bulk of the strawberries actually kept me full all morning long.

Lunch:  Pina Colada Cake Batter Smoothie 
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of part-skim ricotta
  • 1-2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder  
  • Drops of coconut & butter extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 cup water
    • coconut water would be a good base here too!
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 3 canned pineapple slices + 1/4 cup of the juice (NOT SYRUP!) 
    • can also use frozen pineapple, I just didn't have any on hand
Blend, blend, blend and DEVOUR!  Yet another GREAT variation on this low-cal recipe.
(<~and I'm surprised I mentioned that you could taste the spinach in the original green recipe.  I don't notice it here or in the cherry cake batter variations AT ALL.  Just like I can't taste it in any OTHER spinach smoothie for that matter)

Snack:  Cheese Nibblers + a few crackers

One of our VERY favs that we've made a zillion times, filled with spicy chicken, smokey bacon and cooooooooool avocado dressing (made simply with 1 avocado, 2 tablespoons non-fat Greek yogurt, juice from 1/2 a lime & a sprinkle of sea salt).  It just can't be beat.

This was the first time we mixed it with shredded kale, which gave it a hearty base...not to mention BULK!  The salad was mounded on my plate....and I'm OK with thisJ

Workout:  Power Yoga class
The last few Monday night classes have been....vigorous to say the leastJ  Definitely broke a sweat and got in a good workout.  

And in other 'yoga-esq' news, before I settled in to watch "Dancing with the Stars" when I got home last night, I settled in to 'work' on Day 8 of the 21 Day Deepak Chopra & Oprah meditation for "Manifesting True Success."  Meditation was always one of those things I wanted to explore further, but always found excuses to 'put it off for another day' (you know how that goesJ So when one of my yoga teachers posted the link for this series on her Facebook, I figured now was as a good of a time as any to try it out.  I love that it's GUIDED (in case you're not sure what to do/how to get started), 20 minutes (accessible, which means you'll actually stick to it) and FREE.  Just thought I'd mention it in case anyone wanted to dip your toe into the meditation world, with-ya know, OPRAH to hold your handJ that I've potentially frightened you thoroughly, hope you guys have a great Tuesday!J
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