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Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

Last night, Morgan from Life After Bagels moderated a fabulous #FitBlog chat called Health: Is It All About the Benjamins? There were loads of participants offering great suggestions on ways we can eat healthy and exercise on a budget. Cooking at home was one money-saving tip mentioned time and time again during the chat.

This concept plays a huge part in our household food budget. We usually only dine out about once a week, some weeks not at all. The vast majority of our dinners are prepared at home. For lunches,  my husband takes a packed fare every day rather than buying fast food. I usually eat leftovers or prepare a large batch of something at the beginning of the week to eat for lunches the rest of the week. Budget is a the main reason for our dine-in lifestyle, but I also think it’s a healthier option. I like being able to control the ingredients and how they’re prepared.

I had a helper in the kitchen last night.

She stood there and helped (read: ate pieces of bell pepper) for a really long time. We were all fine and good until she discovered the butcher block of Cutco knives you see back there. She was  fascinated with pulling them out so she was immediately relegated back to ground level.

Italian Sausage Sandwiches

I wish I’d snapped a photo of my ingredients before I started and more throughout the process, but this dish is really simple so I think you can handle it without those. 🙂

~1 package Italian turkey sausage links (hot or mild), sliced into rounds

~1 tablespoon teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided

~3 garlic cloves, minced

~2 small onions, sliced into strips

~2 bell peppers, any color, sliced into strips

~2 teaspoons dried oregano

~ground black pepper to taste

~your favorite kind of sandwich bread (I like wraps. My husband likes wheat hoagie buns.)

~sliced or shredded cheese, variety of your choice (optional)

1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, just until fragrant.

2. Add the onions, peppers, oregano and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until the veggies are tender. Place the mixture in a bowl and cover to keep warm.

3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in the same wok or skillet. Add in the sausage rounds. Cook, stirring occasionally until they are done all the way through.

4. Add the peppers & onions back to the wok or skillet and toss the mixture together.

5. Spoon the mixture into your wrap, roll or bun

6. Top with cheese if you wish. If you’re using a wrap, this is where you want to roll it up.

All wrapped up with a salad of mixed greens, fat free feta cheese & tomato vinagrette:

The total cost for this main dish comes in at just under $10. It makes quite a bit and reheats very well. In addition to one dinner, we’ll get at least 4 lunches out of the leftovers. My meat-and-potatoes husband LOVES this one as much as I do.

 

What’s your favorite low-cost meal to make at home?

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I work in the finance department of a medium-sized city. Income tax season has already begun so everyone pitches in to help with everything that goes along with this time of year. I spent almost the entire day folding letters and stuffing envelopes. Riveting work, lemme tell ya.

Overall today was a pretty good day. For starters, it’s Friday. To make that even better, it’s payday. My checks are direct deposited so the only thing I see is a pay stub. I don’t physically touch my money, but I know it’s there.

Breakfast was probably my favorite oat concoction so far. I stirred in a dollop of peanut butter and then put a plop (a scientific unit of measure) of Amish store blackberry jam right on top. That ended up being stirred in as I went, but the picture looked prettier this way:

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Lunch was something new for me. I love tofu, but I’ve never tried it as a sandwich. Why? I have no idea. It was very tasty and very filling. I put some reheated leftover Gliding Calm tofu, a slice of 2% American cheese and some dijon mustard on 2 slices of low-cal toast. This picture was before I added the 2nd piece of toast:

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One of my coworkers brought in a box of Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice tea to share and, being the tea lover that I am, I was happy to accept. Unfortunately, I think it’s just seasonal. I may have to check my grocery and snag some if it’s still on the shelves because I really liked this one. It was the perfect balance of ginger and spice. One bag made two pretty strong cups.

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Snack was very refreshing. I had slices of green and yellow peppers dipped in a cup of Chi Chi’s medium salsa. I love these individual serving packs. So convenient for transporting to work.

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Shortly after I left for work I got some news that made my day even better. I won Kelly’s giveaway over at Every Gym’s Nightmare for the book The World is Fat by Barry Popkin. I’ve heard great things about this book from several sources so I’m really excited to read it. Thanks Kelly!

No dinner picture tonight. My super sweet husband made spaghetti tonight. I started to take a picture, but my camera battery was out of juice. We were both really hungry so I didn’t want to wait for it to charge. Basically what you’re missing is a pile of whole wheat spaghetti noodles with sausage sauce and a some baby carrots with Annie’s Goddess dressing for dipping. Mmmmmm. I’ve been spoiled lately. I’ll be a bit out of sorts when he goes back to working 5 (or more) days a week. This is the off season for his company so they’re working four 10-hour days and getting Friday off. That will end as soon as the warmer weather kicks in. By summer, he’ll be working 80-90 hour weeks including LOTS of Saturdays. For now, I’ll just enjoy having him around more.

After dinner we digested and then hit the gym. I had a pretty good session of walking on the treadmill, upper body & lower body. I did all my strength training in front of the mirror today. I don’t do this every time I lift weights, but I do like to do it every once in a while as a way to check my form.

No big Friday night plans for our household. My husband is watching his favorite show, Friday Night Lights, and I’m catching up on blog reading. I hope you’re all having a fabulous Friday night!

What’s your busiest time of year? Why?

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Da da. Da da da da.

(Obviously my creative energy is lacking in the post title department.)

Do you ever have those days when you don’t really feel sick, but you don’t really feel good either? Today is one of those days for me. I just feel ‘blah’ in general.

This morning I was STARVING. I related it back to my lack of appetite yesterday. I decided to start my day off with something filling. The obvious choice was oats. Today’s were topped with a stick of organic agave nectar, a few dates and some coconut. Along with that I had a cup of Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea. I really, really have to figure out a way to make my work breakfast pictures more interesting. Same container = same photo every day.

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I didn’t prep any food over the weekend and, since it’s Monday, we didn’t have any leftovers yet. I decided to try something new that I bought at the grocery last week.Here’s what I thought!

*Product Review*
Cedarlane Low Fat Couscous & Vegetable Veggie Wrap

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At first glance it didn’t look like anything special, just an ordinary microwavable wrap. It smelled great when I took it out of the work microwave and many of my coworkers asked, “What is that?”

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The taste was even better than the smell. The wrap part was a little bland, but the filling was full of flavors and different textures. It was nice to actually taste the various spices and vegetables since I find that most “heat and eat” options just taste like salt. This is the best picture I could get of the inside:

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It really filled me up, too. The nutrition information (see photo above) wasn’t bad for a microwavable lunch option. I think it would have been even better with a little salsa and/or sour cream on the side for dipping. I still have a few wrap varieties from this brand in my freezer to try so stay tuned for more reviews.

I packed an afternoon snack, but ended up not needing it. Just not hungry. I’m not sure if it’s a credit to the fillingness (is that even a word?) of my lunch or just that my icky feeling was doing something similar to yesterday with my appetite. I drank hot tea for the entire afternoon. It was partly to settle my stomach, but mostly an attempt to keep warm in the frigid office. I think they forgot to turn the heat back on after the weekend.

Dinner tonight was one of my husband’s favorite dishes, Bubble Up Pizza Casserole. It’s super easy to make. One pound of ground beef (I use extra lean), 1 jar of pizza sauce, 1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits & a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Brown the ground beef. Cut the biscuits into quarters. Mix everything together except the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until biscuits are done. Top with cheese and bake for another 5 minutes. We usually replace the jar of pizza sauce with a can of plain tomato sauce seasoned to our liking. It’s really not the prettiest dish, but I took a picture anyway. I paired mine with a romaine salad topped with jalapeno peppers and chunks of yellow pepper.

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Now I’m relaxing for a bit while watching The Big Bang Theory (most underrated show ever) and How I Met Your Mother. I think I’m going to call it an early night. They’re calling for more snow overnight so I may need to be up and out the door early in the morning. Have a great evening!

Giveaway alert! Kelly over at Every Gym’s Nightmare is giving away a copy of The World is Fat by Barry Popkin. I saw this featured recently in Shape magazine and it looks like an extremely interesting read. Check it out!

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The title of this post sums up my feelings on today’s inauguration. President Barack Obama. It has a nice ring, doesn’t it?

I wasn’t able to watch on TV, but I did manage to get my radio tuned in to the coverage. I was deeply moved and filled with an amazing sense of hope. There were many quotes that immediately hit home with me. Here’s my favorite:

“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.”

Okay. Back to food. 🙂

I totally restructured my routine today. I am hypoglycemic and have a lot of trouble keeping my blood sugar stable throughout the day. I get weak, shaky, nauseous and have passed out on more than one occasion.

The best fix I’ve found to remedy the problem is to eat a “mini-meal” about every 2 hours while I’m at work. Since I eat so often, I tend to stick with low-cal options and/or very small portions. I never really feel satisfied which leads to getting hungry in between “mini meals.” These are the times when I find myself gravitating toward the unhealthy snacks in the work kitchen like cookies, chips & candy.

Today I decided to try eating less often, but eating foods that pack more of a punch. I’m very happy to report that the experiment was a huge success!

I’m backtracking a bit to my last post, but this is what I ate today at work:

  • 8:00AM: 1/2 cup steel cut oats w/ 2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut, 1/2 cup blueberries & 1 stick organic agave nectar
  • 12:30PM: 1 serving of Quick Quinoa Turkey Taco Stew from GreenLiteBites.
  • 3:30PM: 1 container Fage greek yogurt with 1 stick organic agave nectar & 1/4 cup Amish peanut butter almond granola

The only things I had between those times were plain water and unsweetened hot tea. Overall I took in less calories than an average day because I never felt hungry and didn’t graze between meals. Normally I’m starving after my hour commute and have to have a snack as soon as I walk in the door. Not today. It was almost 8:00PM when we sat down to eat dinner and I was just starting to get a little hungry.

For dinner I made Creamy Pasta Primavera from KraftFoods. I tweaked the recipe quite a bit. I used broccoli instead of asparagus because it was on sale. I added red pepper flakes to the chicken & veggies because we like a little heat. I also used whole wheat pasta and light cream cheese. I didn’t think it was an A+ recipe, but my husband loved it.
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Several of my food and product choices today were made based on things I’ve seen and read since discovering the food blog community. You’re all so amazing, inspiring, fun, kind and extremely welcoming. THANK YOU ALL! (((((virtual hugs)))))

Speaking of great bloggies, Angela over at Oh She Glows is having a fabulous giveaway. Up for grabs are some yummy-looking products from Neal Brothers (for Canadian readers) or Honest Foods Country Squares (for US readers). Check it out!

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My day started off with a cup of coffee with the hubby. I fixed a light breakfast of peanut butter and blackberry jam on low-cal wheat toast. This is not any jam, ladies and gentlemen. This is amazing-mouth-water-crave-it-in-your-sleep jam made and sold at the Amish store just up the road from our house. The people there are extremely friendly and I could stand in there for hours watching them make pasta, pastries, jams, jellies & bread. They also sell a lot of unique and natural ingredients. That’s a great thing considering the closest TJ’s is an hour away and the closest Whole Foods is around an hour and a half. Anyway, here’s the picture:

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The drive to work was a little slower than usual. Snow was still covering some of the roadways and I ended up in a huge line of traffic that formed behind a car doing 15 MPH. This was a bit unnecessary in my opinion. It wasn’t *that* bad. Oh well. I arrived safely and immediately got to work on a cup of hot tea. It was a variety I’d never tried before; Tazo Passion. I liked it a lot. Definitely something I’d have to be in the mood for though. It was really fruity and tart. It was a really pretty color, too.

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Around 10 I started to get hungry again. I was still cold so I had another cup of tea (Tazo Lotus) and a container of Dannon Light ‘n’ Fit Peach yogurt. It was tasty. I wish I’d brought some fresh fruit to bulk it up because I could tell it wasn’t going to stick with me.

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I pack my lunch from home almost every day, but today I was going out with my friend and former boss, Miste. We went to a place called Seasons Bistro & Grille which is right across the street from my office. Their menu changes 4 times a year to reflect what’s in season. They also use organic and local produce and meats whenever possible. Good thing it’s close because it was 2 degrees outside and we didn’t want to walk very far.

I started with a mixed greens salad (didn’t eat the onions because I don’t like them) tossed with a lemon vinaigrette. Yum!

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For my entree I chose a veggie sandwich on wheat toast with herbed cream cheese spread. Oh, and a pickle spear! The veggies were cucumbers, roasted red peppers, greens & shredded carrots. This was really good although I wish the bread had been a little more hearty because the moisture from the veggies made it a little soggy. Still, very enjoyable.

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We bundled back up (it was 12 degrees) and headed back to the office where I spent a productive afternoon…and commented on some of your blogs. 🙂 Lunch kept me full until around 4 o’clock when I ate 1/2 of a green pepper, sliced and topped with a wedge of Laughing Cow Light cheese.

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I was rushing across the street on the way to my car in order to beat the crosswalk sign. I heard a faint *click* sound, but waited until I was safely across to turn around and see what it was. When I did, I saw lipgloss laying in the middle of the road. I was NOT going to let it go without a fight and decided to wait until traffic had passed and I could safely retrieve it. That was not to be. A car ran right over the tube and smashed it. My heart sank. This was not just any lipgloss. It was my favorite. The perfect shade, the perfect consistency, the perfect applicator, EVERYTHING! Of course when I told my husband he was confused by my extreme reaction. “Just go buy another one,” he said. That’s the real problem, though. It was part of a set my mom gave me for Christmas and it’s only available in that set. She bought it from QVC at a special introductory price on the first day it was available. The price is now more than double what it was that day and I really don’t need 2 of the other things in that set. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that they release the stand-alone version sometime soon.

It was soo tempting to just take a hot bath and change into warm PJs, after my drive home. I didn’t, though. Instead, my husband, sister-in-law and I hit the gym. I did 10 minutes on the elliptical, then 3 sets of some upper and lower body with 10 minutes of brisk walking at an incline between each set. I was really glad I went. It helped me warm up and felt good to use my muscles.

Neither of us wanted a big dinner by the time we got home so it was more leftover turkey meatloaf muffins (it was a big batch) and some won ton soup.

I just finished cleaning up the kitchen so I’m going to head to bed. Good night!

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