Friday, April 18, 2014

Plan: Backfired...

*Here are some Easter-inspired recipes you may want to try this weekend!

Thursday Recap:

9:30am:  Breakfast- Spiced Chia Seed pudding
Would you believe I found myself CRAVING THIS FOR BREAKFAST???  It's sorta refreshing in that 'how is THAT refreshing' kinda wayJ  I can't explain itJ  Anyway, blend all of these ingredients and let them sit overnight in the fridge:
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg, cloves & cardamom
Remember I told you that chia seed pudding didn't EXACTLY taste like tapioca??  Well, this recipe was my attempt to make it taste more like RICE PUDDING (one of my favs), with the blend of all the spices.  I LOVEEEDDD this mix.  Thought the flavors & spices were spot on.
And I'm def gonna start experimenting with the amount of milk/almond milk to use.  I started this with 1/4 of milk, only to add an extra 1/4 cup in the morning once I stirred it up.  After another hour or so, the chia seeds absorbed the extra milk and created an even larger dish of pudding.  And at 45 calories a cup, I'm DEF gonna try using a full cup of almond milk to 1 tablespoon of chia seeds next time to see how it grows.  Cause, let's be honest, who doesn't want the LARGEST dish to eat with only a few extra calories???

12:00pm:  Lunch- "Happy salad" 
My norm salad with a swap  of low-fat Thousand Island dressing in place of my usual drizzle of olive oil.  I try not to use too many pre-bottled/low-fat dressings, but I've been LOVING my grocery store's generic version of thousand island lately.  It just made the happy salad even HAPPIERJ

2:30pm:  Snack #1- Apple with peanut butter

4:00pm:  Snack #2- Handful of fritos (not pictured)
Both a headache and the fact that I knew I was going to cross over into REALLYHUNGRY before dinner were the cause of this 'not the norm' snack #2.  But I did manage to keep it to ONE handful and they hit the spot, so I can't be mad at THAT.

6:00pm:  Dinner- Scott's stir-fry
I always LOVE when stir-fry is on the weekly menu, because it means I get a night off from cooking (despite what you might think, I highly enjoy thisJ)  Scott's the 'stir fry master' of the house and I will GLADLY let him have that honorJ

He uses our 'house favorite' stir-fry sauce...
And mixes it with as many vegetables as we have one hand.  In this batch, along with sauteed pork, went:
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Red pepper
  • Onion
  • Baby corns
  • Bean sprouts
  • Water chestnuts
All served over brown rice...yum!  Stir fry is a great way to eat a 85% veggie-filled dinner without even realizing itJ

Only person who wasn't a fan??
Well, here I thought I was doing a GREAT thing by letting her sample all the veggies I was chopping on the cutting board.  "SURE KID!  You can have bites of raw broccoli & diced peppers!  You're eating them happily???  OK!"

Only problem was by the time we sat down to eat, she was having NONE of it!  NONE. OF. IT.  Screaming & crying fest for NO apparent reason.  I guess spoiling her appetite backfired a bitJ  I think I just OVERestimated how much that little stomach could hold, cause she seemed NONE too interested in eating ANYTHING at that pointJ

But NEVER FEAR, her appetite was BACK this morning when Scott came home with a Good Friday traditional breakfast of HOT CROSS BUNS... 

And while Scott & I ate ours like we were being led to the electric chair, Katie ate like a normal human being (well, one on vacationJ) and has been savoring hers for the last hourJ 

I think she's digging the fact that she got to eat breakfast on one of our 'normal chairs' (NOT her high chair) and isn't really interested on getting down from the 'seat of honor.'  Seriously...this is what she's doing RIGHT NOW as I type this: 
Hey, maybe I shoulda tried feedin her that stir-fry from the 'normal chair.'  Maybe that woulda done the trickJ

Alrighty, well I better clean up some icing-covered hands & get in my yoga gear for class this morning.

Have a wonderful HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!!!J  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter stamp of approval...

Wednesday Recap:

8:00am:  Coffee with creamer  (maybe I'll stop writing this every day since it's THESAME dailyJ  From here on out, let's just assume that unless I mention a change:  THERE WILL ALWAYS BE COFFEEJ)

9:30am:  Breakfast- Berry Smoothie
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond coconut milk
  • Frozen berries & a few frozen cherries
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
Pre-mixed pic againJ  That cherry/berry + spinach combo really makes THE most unattractive color...but it's sooooooooooo darn good, you can't even care!

10:30-11:45am:  POWER YOGA
Lots of crazy combos, balance poses and 'floating' from one move to the next.  There are not enough words to describe my LOVEEEEEE of this class!!!

12:30pm:  Lunch- "Happy Salad"

6:00pm:  Dinner- Chicken tortilla soup
Scott got SUPER excited when I told him this was 'on the menu' for the week, and then after searching for the recipe on the blog, I realized it hadn't been made in over FOUR YEARS!!!  HOW THE HELL DOES TIME PASS SO QUICK???  Crazy how long it takes me to get back around to one of our favorite recipes (buffalo chicken items not withstanding in that statement)J


The only differences from the original recipe, was to use fresh onion & a diced red pepper in place of frozen AND that I didn't cook it up in the slow cooker this time. (I ACTUALLY kept forgetting to start it until..hmmmm...3pm.  Nice, right??)  Instead I tossed everything into the pot (poaching the chicken on the side for shredding), brought it to a boil and allowed it to simmer for nearly an hour, resulting in a thicker, more chili-like soup.  We were A-OK with this.

And to serve up the soup, toss in a few crumbled multi grain (my FAV!) tortilla chips....

A ladle of soup... 

And mmmmmmm...a dollop of soup cream, a sprinkle of cheese and a few extra chips for good measureJ 
So yummy and kid-approved tooJ  Make this soup for these (possible) last few blustery days we've got goin around hereJ

8:00:  Dessert- Brownie Easter egg 
So...ummmmmm...the Easter bunny may or may not have made a pit stop around here so Scott & I could make sure the Easter goodies were up to par this year (was that convincing??)  Let's just say the Brownie Egg enrobed in chocolate got the Easter stamp of approval around hereJ

Which we enjoyed while watching our FAV:
28 seasons of SURVIVOR and this one is one of their BEST YET!      ...yes, I know this is very 2000 of me to say, but I can't help myself!  We sorta, kinda, maybe wish it was on every nightJ  hahahahahahaha...

Alrighty...well, I have another chia seed pudding creation 'gelling up' in the fridge as I type this.  We'll see how this one fares.  Stay tuned...J

Have a great Thursday!J

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gelled strawberry???

Tuesday Recap:

8:00am:  Coffee with creamer

10:00am:  Breakfast- Coconut cherry CHIA SEED PUDDING
So, whipping chia seeds up into pudding is THENEWESTCRAZE going on around the blogosphere the last few months.  The first time I saw a picture, I was MORTIFIED.  It was seriously creepy.  But being the lovah of TEXTURE that I am, I knew I had to try this described "sorta tastes like tapioca pudding" breakfast a try...
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Dash of vanilla & honey
You combine all of that in a bowl and let it sit overnight in the fridge.  The chia seeds absorb the milk and create a gel-like 'pudding' dotted with seeds.  I topped the bowl with a few defrosted cherries, 4 diced almonds and a sprinkle of coconut and gave it all a stir...
Looks sorta like caviar, huh??  I tried it with quite a bit of trepidation, but realized I got used to the unique texture after a bite.  How would I describe it???  Not like tapioca, per say.  More like....hmmmm....a gelled strawberry???  That's what the seeds reminded me of, and the pudding is definitely more gel-like than PUDDING.

OH! WAIT!  But was it good???

YES...yes, it really was!  I liked the 'crunch' factor more than the 'chewy' factor of the infamous overnight oats.  And also I had poured about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract into the bowl and the whole dish was BURSTING with that flavor.  Chia seed pudding is like tofu, where it will take on whatever flavor you add to it, so go WILD!  Definitely a good breakfast add-in for the warmer months ahead.

Oh...and guess who else liked the pudding?? 

As long as it's MINE, she's willing to give it a try...and she could NOT get enough... 
Not sure if it was Katie's 'stolen bites' or that I didn't find the pudding SUPER FILLING, but before I ran out the door yesterday morning, I also popped back 4 chocolate covered almonds since I felt I needed a little something extra for my morning errands.  THEN, I felt full...finallyJ

(oh....and after all that, should I mention AGAIN how healthy chia seeds are for you??  Hence why you would even SUBJECT yourself to CHIA PUDDING??'s all THEFACTS)

And those morning 'errands'...aka- that 'festive tradition' that we weren't sure how it was going to fare??

The Easter bunny fared about as well as Santa Claus, unfortunately.  (which I didn't take into account when I threw gym clothes on myself before heading out the door.  Which is why Scott, in his work clothes, is the only one making an appearance with Mr. BunnyJ)

1:00pm:  Lunch- Wendy's burger + a few fries
After the bunny-hilarity, we hit up the mall Wendy's for lunch.  I wasn't feeling a salad, so I split lunch with Katie in an attempt to keep the calories a little lower for lunch.  Truth be told, I ate most of the burger while she ate more of the friesJ

Oh wait, did I say 'lower calories'??
Those crafty mall folk so carefully decided to place a Cinnabon DIRECTLY in the center of the mall, so once you get a whiff of all of the cinnamon sugar goodenss, it's VERY HARD to get it out of your head.  Which is why nearly the SECOND we finished lunch, I told Scott "I need something sweet."  So we headed over to the 'bon and ordered up a "cup of middles" aka- the middle part of the cinnamon roll heated up and covered with frosting.  I mean...
I probably should have looked at the lack of nutrition facts BEFORE ordering this, but I definitely took it as a 'ya gotta live life' calorie choice of the dayJ  Although now that I've seen the facts (use caution: it's terrifying) I may be able to hold off on that Cinnabon smell for awhile nowJ  Our only saving grace was it was split 3 waysJ

And we enjoyed it while watching Katie run around the cute new little play areaJ  She liked that WAY better than THEBUNNYJ

6:00pm:  Dinner- Salad
And I REALLY thought I was gonna be done with eating after that calorie bomb sugar fest, but I definitely found myself on the hungry side by dinner time.  So, we went with our original plan of SALADS for the night.
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Cheese & croutons
  • A little low-fat Thousand Island 
At least part of the day was salvageableJ

And I'm happy to report that Katie ate more of THIS meal than both lunch & dessert combined.  Thank goodness for small favors. (for now!) 

Well, our SPRING weather got swept away in a dreary & rainy day yesterday.  BUT at least the sun is SHINING bright today...even if it's back to close-toed shoes for a little bit longerJ

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Shameless plug...

Monday Recap:

8:00am:  Coffee with creamer

10:00am:  Breakfast- Berry Coconut Smoothie
Since I wasn't in the mood for a 'dairy based' smoothie & we were plum out of coconut water, I thought I'd use my NEWEST FAVORITETHINGEVER as a base for my breakfast...
Antioxidant insfused,  naturally sweetened 10 calories a bottle & SO SO delicious, the Bai5 founder is actually from right here in Hamilton, NJ!  I'm so obsessed with this stuff that I'm making a shameless plug to be the spokesperson in the hopes of having my house decorated in CASES of this stuffJ  COME ON, GUY!  Ya know ya want a Jersey girl representin!

ANYWAY...back to ACTUAL lifeJ

My smoothie looked WAY better PRE-mixed than POST-mixed, so here's what we've got goin on... 
  • 1/4 cup mixed frozen berries & dark cherries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup Bai5 Coconut 'juice'
  • 1/4 cup dry oats
  • As much spinach as the blender cup would holdJ
I am SOOBSESSED with the cherry/berry blend lately that it makes me feel all my years of only using STRAWberries in my smoothies have been sub par compared to these berry sweet babies.

Katie was a fan too.  She made sure to give a quick "CHEERS" before sucking it downJ 

2:00pm:  Lunch- Turkey wrap
And that smoothie kept me so full that even after a walk to the park & playground with Katie, I pleasantly wasn't ready to inhale the entire contents of the fridge by the time we got backJ  So in a SANE matter, I was able to whip up a quick sandwich of... 
  • 1/2 a tortilla wrap (100 calories)
  • 1 Laughing Cow wedge
  • 2-3 slices garlic/pepper roasted turkey breast (bought at the deli counter)
  • 1/2 sliced pickle
  • sliced red onion
  • 1/4 sliced avocado
Pickle & avocado wraps (the most superior ingredients in this little lunch) might be my new thang!  Creamy, crunchy, salty and mellow = way to my heartJ

5:30pm:  Dinner- Grilled Pizza & salad

And it was just TOO. DAMN. NICE out last night that we just HAD to fire up the grill for another day.  And since I had these ingredients to 'use or lose' within the next few days, I made the VERY "Un-Monday" executive decisions that grilled pizza just HAD to happen. 

 Pre-heat the grill, give the dough a quick drizzle of olive oil and just pop it right on the grates!
Don't worry about it falling through.  The intense heat cooks it up so quick that the dough quickly firms up into a crust.  Let it cook about 10 minutes on one side and it'll pop up easily.

 Once the underside is cook, top the COOKED side with all of the good toppings...

...and pop it back on the grill for a few more minutes to cook up the other side of dough and to heat & melt the cheese and toppings. 

Love at first bite, I tell ya.  Not only was the pizza perfectly grill-kissed and the fresh mozz was oh-so-gooey, I somehow managed to make the THINNEST pizza we've ever made!
We're from the East Coast and we love our CRACKER THIN crusts!J  Trying to get the dough the thinnest WITHOUT collapsing is an achievement we covetJ  (although the deep-dish part of my heart is comin for you ONE DAY, Lou Malnati's!)

And not only was dinner excellent, I think the 'hands on' time was about 5 minutes.  The rest of the cooking time was spent honing our bubble skills...

...and marveling at JUST HOW FAST Katie can go from fresh-faced child to THIS:
Seriously.  I think it took 3 minutes of being outdoors.

6:30-9:15pm:  Beginners Power & Yin yoga
Soooooooooooo happy to get to these classes last night after my 'sick week hiatus.'  Namaste.

Alright, well I better get this day started.  I have a 'new-to-me'/trendy breakfast that I'll be sharing with you tomorrow (which will hopefully be a successJ) and also plans in the afternoon for a 'festive' tradition.  THAT ONE should be interesting to say the least...stay tuned.J  

Have a great Tuesday!
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