Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Negotiation tactics...

Morning, all!  Sorry to leave ya'll hangin on our final pizza selectionJ  (Ya know, cause I'm sure you've barely slept since I posted that crazy listJ)  But the winner Friday night was Scott's fav, Frederici's, where I had been DYING to try their white pie with broccoli since seeing it on InstagramJ  (how modernJ)
Airy, cheesey and delicious...and of course, we had to get a small tomato too...cause ya just gotta!

The rest of the weekend was a mix of meals out and some homemade eats, including these carrot cake waffles with maple nut cream cheese spread for Sunday morning breakfast...because TIS the season for RABBIT FOODJ

And then, as always, it was back to Monday before we knew it.  And also as usual, it was back to trying to eat healthier and cleaner than during the weekend.....but that may have went askew for a bit before comin back around.  Let me explainJ

Monday Recap:

Breakfast:  Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt (such a good flavor...sweet & salty!)

+ Strawberries

And here's where things went alittle askewJ  We took Katie for our tradition torment trip to see the Easter Bunny.  Which, after a lot of PREP and negotiation, we actually got a NON-CRYING photo (unlike LAST YEAR)....baby stepsJ
And I had all good intentions of going with my 'not too bad' mall food court option of grilled chicken quesadillas, until FRENCH FRIES became a negotiation tactics for Katie (oh yeah...remember, BEFORE I had kids, when I said I would NEVER do such things??  BWAHAHAHA!)  and the most delicious looking ones at the food court came from...

Problem being:  Katie ate about 3 of em, leaving Scott & I to nitpick at the restJ  OK, OK, that's totally blame-shifting and I'm super happy she only ate 3 of em, but they were super temptation for a 'trying to eat better' Monday.

But then we pulled it back around with a GREENER dinner:)  Only problem with this salad???  I FORGOT the BASIL part of the caprese!  Definitely noticed it was missing, but it was light & yummy, regardless.  Hot dog and fries, be gone!

Workout:  Hatha Vinyasa Yoga

Alrighty, Katie & I are headin out to work on more Easter cooking traditions today.  Hope you have a good Tuesday!

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 long...so leave it to me for it to FINALLY make its appearance at my table on the first 70 degree dayJ  At least it was raining....so 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 weeks....one 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   

Alrighty...now that I've potentially frightened you thoroughly, hope you guys have a great Tuesday!J

Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekend Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Desserts (Plural:)...

Morning, everyone!  Hope you guys had a great weekend!  We had a pretty quite one around these parts since, after being PERFECTLY FINE for dance class on Saturday, Katie came home and felt a bit under the weather and stayed there almost all weekend.  She was fine 85% of the time, but if she actually STOPS and does THIS at any point in the day...
...you know she's not feeling 100% since she NEVER slows downJ  It made for a good excuse to lay low for the weekend.  Aside from a heading out through the snow to get our taxes done on Friday and a trip to my yoga studio Saturday night, we kinda just hung around....getting a lot done in the meantime, which felt SOOO good!  Got so many odds and ends done just from putzing around the house and actually completing tasks that we had been putting off, that they all added up to feeling like we had organized almost the whole house without too much effort.  It always feels good when you can feel relaxed AND productive, ya feel me?? 

ANYWAY....we also had some good eats over the weekend (of course...), and I have a little of each course to show ya this morning.

Nothin says Sunday morning like an excuse for CAKE for breakfast, amiright?? 
This didn't need much but a few strawberries & a sprinkle of powdered sugar (and maybe some whipped creamJ) as a topping since, again: CAKEJ

Lunch:  Trader Joe's 5 Cheese Frusta

AKA.- folder pizza.  This total impulse TJ's purchase was a little decadent for a lunch treat but an oh-so-worth it/once in awhile one.  12 minutes in the oven and this delicious little number tasted fresh and full of spices and gooey cheese surrounded by a crisp crust that didn't taste like a freezer product AT ALL.  At least the 440 calories kept me full for the rest of the afternoon, so there's thatJ.

So since I had 2 heads of basil QUICKLY wilting on my counter on Saturday morning, I took, NOT EVEN KIDDING, about 45 minutes to whip up these 2 meals and then I was OFF cooking duty for the rest of the weekend.  How fabulous was that?????

First up was Bread Soup filled with kale & butter beans...

Complete with a "LOOK HOW THICK IT IS"/typical spoon pictureJ 

And then for Sunday dinner:  Caprese Chicken Lasagna, filled with sundried tomatoes, chopped artichoke hearts, shredded chicken and basil-spiked ricotta, this baby came together in near-minutes with the help of my food processor to give everything a quick chop.  Seriously, the 'hardest part' was poaching and shredding the chicken.  The rest came together SO FAST.
And I can't even TELL you how happy I was when, come Sunday night, all I had to do was pop this in the oven for about an hour.  Sigh...BLISS.  I love to cook, but I ALSO love a homemade meal with minimal effort even MOREJ  (and in even LESS effort news:  The recipe makes enough for 2 meals...YES!)

Desserts:  In the homemade corner:  CANNOLI POKE CAKE
I took my HALF-A-CAKE plan even smaller and made QUARTER CAKE for less leftovers (just halved the HALF recipeJ)  Condensed milk soak cake topped with a ricotta & marscapone cannoli cream, this one was swoon worthy.  (although still can't top the COCONUT varietyJ)

And in the non-homemade corner:  Scott & I had a little sampler party on Sunday night of Ben & Jerry's latest CORE flavors...
Flavored ice cream circling a cookie core center...
...we loved every sample...buttttttt I have to say the Boom Chocolatta! with the chocolate center was definitely the fav of the three.  I'm not really a chocolate ice cream person, so let that speak for itself!

So how's that for a trifecta for ya?  Think I got all your meals and very important chocolate courses coveredJ 

And I thought most of ya'll would be happy to know that one of my MAIN 'chores' for the weekend was the final strip down all of my St. Patty's AND SNOWMAN decorations for the season.  I'm not necessarily sure I've EVER been so excited for spring.  Not because I was particularly overly tired of winter, but just because I'm excited for all things pastel & sunny.  Definitely Katie's faultJ  So hopefully I'll help swing the tide of the temperatures and we'll see some warmer days soon.  Gotta get out all the bunnies & chicks out today to maybe swing the tide even MORE.

Have a good Monday!J

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mission: Pastry...

Thursday Recap:

Breakfast- 2 Cracker Barrel Pancakes + 2 turkey sausages + fruit cup
I'm not really quite sure how, in the 9,000 times my Mom & I have went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast in the last few years, that I have never gotten ONE picture of their pancakesJ  NOT ONE!  (maybe because, like yesterday, I left my phone in the carJ)  But they are seriously some of my all-time favs, since they are a bit 'funnel cake-esq' with their crispy edges.  I added the turkey sausage & fruit cup for extra satiety since I knew we had a busy afternoon and I didn't want to have another EXHAUSTION REPEAT of TUESDAY....ekkkkk!

And busy turned into EXCEPTIONALLY busy, when we all headed to the Best Dressed for Less kids consignment sale.  My Mom & I have been going to the twice (now three) time yearly event since right before Katie was born and LOVE getting name brand finds for 3,4 or 5 dollars.  Can't beat that for kid's clothes that they usually wear only a few times.  The only problem?  It was opening day and we were FAR from the only people at the sale and the line stretched THE ENTIRE LENGTH of this building by the time we were ready to check-out at 12pm...
THANK GOD for my Mom & her best friend, who waited in line while I kept Katie busy and had to sit myself down quite a few times in the near TWO HOURS they were in line!  (We've NEVER been there when it was THAT busy!)  I still can't understand the logic that I can exercise with not too many problems but STANDING IN ONE PLACE makes me feel dizzy and exhausted...???  Pregnancy is WEIRD.

So anyways, thanks to that big breakfast, we were at least held over during that epic shopping trip and for the rest of the afternoon as well.  And when dinner time rolled around, I was SO VERY GRATEFUL to have a quick, back-up meal waiting in my fridge...

Dinner- 2 Mafalda manicotti & meat sauce + salad 
Soup was on the menu for last night and these were on tap for Saturday, but they got bumped WAY up when I just DID NOT feel like cooking last night.  THANK YOU to my Tizzi Roe who shared these with my Mom and then shared them on with us!J  YOU SAVED DINNER!  And these were just so divine.  Paper-thin crepes stuffed with ricotta.  I had made the quick meat sauce (cause I was TOO LAZY TO MAKE MEATBALLS!) to make em extra filling, but honestly, they were really filling on their own.

We even had a happy camper at dinner last night...which has been a rare occurrence around these parts.  She's just not much of a dinner person (but is currently eating chickpeas for breakfast as I type thisJ), but she happily housed some manicotti, meat sauce (which SHE thought were meatballs) and a TON of salad.  Hallelujh!

And then,of course, the crown jewel of the evening came from a special trip here... 
I still say Nino's Pastry Shop in Hamilton, NJ has THE best cannolis I've ever eaten, but yesterday we were on a mission for something else....

Leave it to us Italians to make one of the most DIVINE pastries as part of a Saint day observationJ  The week of March 19th is SERIOUS business at bakeries around the north East, cranking these light as air pastries filled with custard out all the day long.  They were so in demand, in fact, that the custard ones were being pulled OUT of the fryer and into eager shoppers hands, since they couldn't make them fast enough to meet the demands of the hungry massesJ

We split the cannoli-filled (with their indescribably perfect cannoli cream) and one traditional custard and savored all the goodness....and a tip of the cap to St. Joseph, of courseJ
Now to go about my day making healthy choices after typing about pastriesJ  This should be easy...not at allJ

And, to much of Jersey's dismay, we woke up to an overcast morning after a BRIGHT but chilly Thursday.  I just let Penny out in the backyard and said "ohhhh...it smells like snow."  We'll see what Mother Nature has in store for us...and hopefully it's a tease to warmer days ahead.  Easter dresses are on the forecast soon, Momma Nature, so ya might wanna get your stuff together.  Just sayinJ

Have a great weekend, everyone!J
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...