Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

I didn’t do it on purpose, but layers were a common theme in yesterday’s eats.

When I was cleaning out pantry the other day, I found an upopened box of oatmeal I forgot I’d purchased. I go in spells with oatmeal. I’ll eat it almost every day for breakfast, get burnt out, take a break from it for a while, then rediscover my love for its wholesome goodness. The last few months have been one of those vacations from oatmeal, but finding it made me go “Mmmmmm.”

I didn’t just want a boring bowl of oats with toppings. My solution? Oatmeal parfait!

It’s really just layers of blackberries, vanilla Oikos, and oatmeal with a peanut butter stir-in. Eating it this way made it feel almost more like dessert than breakfast. Food should be fun, right?

There really is coffee in the mug. It was not layered. It was just coffee. And it was delicious.


Lunch was a little something I like to call a garbage salad. Basically, I just scour my fridge for leftovers and make a salad out of them. It cuts down on the food waste and the creations tend to be pretty delicious. Plus, it’s fun to be creative! I feel like a mad scientist.

This one turned out to be a hybrid of buffalo chicken salad and taco salad.

~2 handfulls mixed greens
~3 oz. Italian dressing marinated chicken breast (leftover from meal swap), tossed in buffalo wing sauce
~chopped tomato & sliced green onions (leftover from Sunday’s supper salad bar)
~shredded mozzarella cheese
~3 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream, mixed with powdered ranch dressing mix

Very, very yum.

Dinner was not made in layers because there was no dinner. Monday nights are fasting nights for my husband and I. This is NOT weight loss related. It’s something we’re doing once a week as part of our Bible study. I’ve started to enjoy the weekly experience and am beginning to truly connect with the meaning behind the practice.

How do you make your food fun?


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I don’t mean this kind of rebound:

While we’re on the subject…congrats to the Duke men for winning the NCAA championship last night! I’m not a big basketball fan, but I do tune in during March Madness.

I’m really talking about rebounding after a disappointing workout.

I had a bad run last Friday. I’m talking HOR-RI-BLE! I set out to run the same route I’ve been doing for a week or so, but just past halfway I was complete toast. My legs felt like Jell-O, my feet felt heavy and I couldn’t slow my breathing no matter how hard I tried. When I looked down, my heart rate monitor was reading a little over 200. Being in the 190s when I run isn’t uncommon for me, but I’ve never seen a number that high. I decided to walk a little to calm my body down. When I tried to pick up a run again, I immediately felt exhausted. I walked the rest of my running route, then doubled back around to cool down. The whole time I was mentally beating myself up and questioning my ability. “Why couldn’t I run that? I did it just fine two days ago.” This one subpar run had me doubting whether I could ever really get back to where I was pre-baby.

One thing that kept me from completely berating myself was knowing that I’m not alone. Just last week, Caitlin posted about the first race in which she bonked. The week before, Allison posted about her less-than-stellar marathon training run. Granted, these ladies are running a LOT further than I am, but I admire both of them (through their blogs) and asked myself WWHLBD (What Would Healthy Living Bloggers Do)? Did they quit running altogether? Nope. Did they use that fluke run to define themselves as runners? Nope. They’re both still running…and kicking booty!

I very easily could have slipped into a funk over my lackluster run. Instead, I started my “rebound” as soon as I got home.

  • Positive Self-Talk: We are our own toughest critics, but we can also be our own biggest cheerleader. When I walked in the front door, I vowed to only say positive things to myself about the workout. I applauded myself for getting out the door and exercising in the first place. I mentally thanked myself for getting outside and enjoying the beautiful weather. I commended myself for how far I’ve come in the 7 weeks I’ve been back to running. “Remember when you couldn’t even run for a minute?”
  • Retrace Your Steps: While I was showering after my workout, I tried to think of anything I’d done differently that day that could have had an impact on my workout. The four things I identified were 1) not drinking enough water throughout the day; 2) eating lunch about 30 minutes before running instead of my usual snack before, lunch after schedule; 3) running in the late afternoon rather than late morning; 4) first day of 80+ degree temperatures rather than the 60ish I’ve been running in lately. I didn’t set out to find excuses for hitting my wall. Identifying these things just gave me an awareness of how my body might react to certain variables.
  • Look forward, not back: A funny thing happened when I started being nicer to myself. I started getting excited about going on my next run. The “bad” run was over. Done with. Finito. Dwelling on it would accomplish nothing. I laid out a complete workout outfit on top of my dresser (including my running shoes) for the next time. Because there would be a next time. I was NOT giving up.

That “next time” came yesterday and guess what happened? I rocked it! Not only did I run the whole route, I actually added an extra .25 miles or so to the end. I took hydration and eating schedule into consideration and ran at my more usual time of day. Those might have helped, but I know that setting out with a positive attitude was the most crucial key to my success.

Post-run lunch was a humdinger of a salad:

~organic greens
~cherry tomatoes
~1/4 cup Sabra Hummus with Roasted Pine Nuts
~1oz. President fat free feta cheese

The star of dinner was the spinach & asiago chicken sausage I reviewed yesterday. I cut the three leftover links into rounds, then cut those in half (to form crescents) and reheated them in a skillet with a little extra virgin olive oil. + a jar of spaghetti sauce + a handful of mushrooms = delicious spaghetti sauce! My husband raved about it’s deliciousness.

(Sorry for the blurry pics. My camera battery is going.)

Have you ever had a disappointing workout or race? What did you do to rebound?

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I wasn’t expecting to have my husband home on our actual anniversary because it fell on Monday and he would typically be at work. Well, he ended up having jury duty, being released early and calling to see if we wanted to meet him in town for lunch. Peanut and I were headed that way to run errands anyway so we met up for a bite to eat and then he went with us to pick up some things I needed for baby shower projects. Heck of a guy, my husband. He willingly went to Hobby Lobby and entertained Peanut while I hunted, compared and decided. By “entertained” I mean raced the cart around the store while she giggled uncontrollably. 🙂

No pictures of lunch. Just for the record though, the veggie burger at Max & Erma’s is NOT as healthy of an option as you would think. I asked ahead of time whether it was grilled or fried (It’s grilled.) and ordered it with no guac. I consider myself a fairly nutrition savvy person and I know what to look for when I dine out. It’s still so hard to know what you’re getting when you eat out. I knew it wasn’t going to be super low-cal or anything, but I was still shocked with the stats when I got home and looked it up online. I wish more restaurants would make their nutrition information readily available in the restaurant instead of just on their website.

We just hung out at the house for most of the afternoon, enjoying each others company. It was too cold to take Peanut with me on my run, but my husband volunteered to keep her and I took him up on the offer. No land speed records were set. Still, it felt good to move and the breeze, even though it was cool, was refreshing. My new shoes did wonderful on their maiden voyage. It felt like I had clouds strapped to my feet.

The fabulousness of my husband continued when he offered to prepare a special anniversary dinner. I knew it was going to be good when he fired up the grill. He put on quite the spread:

Grilled tomatoes & mushrooms:

Grilled shrimp, half with Old Bay & half with Tastefully Simple Grill Seasoning:

Whole wheat pasta:

All together:

I threw a little bit of everything together and topped it with some Colavita olive oil and fresh chopped parsley.

My posting and commenting may be sporadic (or non-existent) this week. The baby shower I’m hosting is on Sunday and I’m in full-on prep mode for the rest of the week. I’ll do what I can, but don’t be surprised if I disappear until Monday.

Giveaway Alert! – Holy amazing, Batman! Lindsey over at SoundEats is giving away 4 fantastic prizes from Beachbody. Check it out!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

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Outta Gas

Sorry to be a bad bloggie lately. The weather this weekend was gorgeous and I spent much more time outside with my husband than I did in the kitchen. Here’s a quick recount to catch you up to speed:

Friday: work, home, crash on couch, wake up to watch Friday Night Lights, crash in bed

Saturday: a little shopping (bought nothing), lawn & garden center with my husband to buy landscaping materials, lunch with my husband, grocery, home, work in yard all day, have grill mishap, recover, eat, chat with sister-in-law, sleep

So, about the grill mishap and the post title. My husband loves to play Grill Master and he’s really good at it. He wanted to make pork and veggie kabobs so I bought zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes and pork loin at the grocery. He started the grill while sister-in-law and I did the cutting and skewering in the kitchen. As soon as we got everything on the grill, the burners started going out one by one and wouldn’t relight. Our grill did flip over during a windstorm this winter so we were worried that maybe it had done some damage that we didn’t originally notice. The good thing was that there was no damage to the grill. The bad news was that we were out of propane and the grocery in our town isn’t refilling them yet because it’s “too early in the season.” Pshaw! It was either a 30 minute drive to the nearest city or getting creative and cooking in the kitchen instead.

We chose the latter, broiled our kabobs and cooked the sliced eggplant in a grill pan on the stove. I also made some whole wheat thin spaghetti. My serving was a piece of sliced eggplant, two pieces of pork and lots of veggies.


Sunday: lots of house cleaning, read a little for Nutrition & Wellness, admired my husband’s finished landscaping projects, laundry, took recycles to bins and prepped for the week

Monday = dead camera battery, but I’m all charged up and back on track today.

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So yae…about that contest I was going to have last week. I’ve been having camera issues since my last post. They weren’t downloading to my computer correctly and several ended up being deleted between the camera and the computer. Everything appears to be corrected now and my first giveaway will be in tomorrow’s post!

Yesterday was an uneventful Monday. The only real thing of note was the temperature (with wind chill) was below 0. Soooo cold!

I started the day off with a bowl of Cascadian Farms Multigrain Squares. This is one of my go-to cold cereals. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. They have a very nice texture and are extremely filling. I eat them plain right out of the box sometimes, but this was a “with milk” day. Organic skim in case you were wondering.


My morning beverage of choice is my newest addiction. The wonderful folks from POM Wonderful sent me a box of their delicious pomegranate juice to sample and review. Two thumbs way, way up on this one. It’s delicious! I love the perfect balance between sweet & tart. Combine that with all the health benefits and it’s a clear winner. I like it straight up, but I’ve also been mixing 8oz. of juice with 16oz. of Perrier for a pomegranate spritzer. Or, as my husband calls it, a “pregnant lady cocktail.” LOL


The drive to work flew by. I’ve been whipping through audiobooks lately. If I find one I really enjoy, it seems to make the drive go faster.

My morning snack at my desk was a Baybel Light cheese wheel & a big, hot mug of Lipton Black Pearl tea. I made the mug myself. Well, just painted it. My friend and I went to one of those paint-your-own pottery studios a couple years ago and this is the fruit of my labors there. I am by no means artistic, but I love pretending to be. 🙂

Lunch was exactly what I was craving. Light Cheese ravioli with homemade tomato sauce. I’ve been in the mood for spicy lately so I added some crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce. Whoa Nelly! It didn’t taste nearly that hot when I sampled it from the saucepan. It was still really, really good.


The afternoon was a typical Monday. Uneventful and booooring. My husband sent me a text message saying he was making dinner, but wouldn’t tell me what. I assumed omelettes. Wrong. He pounded out some chicken breasts, seasoned them and cooked them in the grill pan. He also made steamed broccoli & egg noodles. While he ate his as three separate things, I threw all three of mine in a bowl and stirred in a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. Everything was cooked to perfection and a simple meal turned out to be extremely yummy. I think having someone else cook for you always helps.


Everyone have a fabulous Tuesday! The weather here is still extremely cold, but the sun is shining which makes it easier to handle…at least when you’re inside. We’re supposed to be in the 60’s this weekend. Rainy, but warm. Spring is slowly but surely making it’s way to Ohio!

What’s your favorite season?

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It seems like my days off are super short. I feel like I just woke up and now it’s almost time for bed. I did have a productive day which makes me feel good.

One of the productive things I did was make this Quick Quiona & Turkey Stew from GreenLiteBites. Holy yumminess! It was really easy to make and tastes amazing. The only modifications I made were that I left out the onion (because I hate it) and used chickpeas instead of pinto beans because it’s what I had. After a couple of bites I divided the whole batch out into individual servings and popped them in the fridge. Ta-da! Lunches for the week are now taken care of.


After that I worked around the house (laundry, dishes, prep for the work week) and watched an episode of Jon & Kate + 8. Love that show! Those kids are just so stinkin’ cute. I know a lot of people say Kate is out of control and I agree that she has her over-the-top moments. All in all though I really admire her because of her planning and scheduling skills.

I wasn’t hungry right after my workout. It just hit me all of a sudden that I was starving! My late afternoon snack was a small glass of organic skim milk and a chocolate VitaTop. My grocery FINALLY started carrying these and I’m ridiculously excited.


My husband called as he was leaving work and I popped the pork chops and baked potatoes in the oven. The timer went off at almost the exact moment he walked in the door. How’s THAT for timing? 🙂

I wasn’t really in a meat and potatoes mood so I fixed myself an alternative. I had a salad of romaine lettuce, black olives, whole wheat croutons and a little drizzle of Annie’s Goddess dressing.


I also sliced up a tomato and topped it with cottage cheese and freshly ground black pepper.


After dinner I just relaxed and read my book for a while, dreading going back to work tomorrow. Oh well. Just gotta do it. I am excited to try new oat concoctions starting tomorrow. Stay tuned for the results!

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Happy Sunday! Today was a pretty lazy day. My husband was up all night with restless legs & a couple nosebleeds (lovely) so he was going to bed as I was getting up.

I started the day off with some Kashi 7-grain waffles topped with maple syrup, a little bowl of blackberries and a cup of coffee with Pumpkin Spice creamer. I don’t really like creamer in my coffee except for some of the seasonal flavors that are only around this time of year.


That was follwed by more coffee (sans creamer), coupon clipping and catching up on some reading. This picture sums up the morning pretty well:


I saw this post over at The Fitnessista earlier this week and re-discovered an old favorite food. I’d forgotten all about my love for tomatoes and cheese topped with balsamic vinegar. In my version today I used fresh mozzarella instead of goat cheese and added some of the leftover polenta from yesterday. Delish! Pardon the wimpy tomatoes. It’s winter in Ohio and the produce selection is quite lacking.


After lunch it was back to reading for a while and then watching part of a Real Housewives of Orange County marathon. That show (along with the NY & Atlanta seasons) is my guilty pleasure. I know I shouldn’t watch, but I can’t help myself. 🙂 I started to get a little stir crazy midway through the second episode. We’ve been inside a lot the last few days because of the cold so I really wanted to do something. I decided to make the easiest muffins in the entire world: Pumpkin Spice muffins.


I can’t say that they’re pretty. They are quick, simple to make, require few ingredients, very filling and fairly healthy.

  • 15 oz. can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 box cake mix of your choice (I used spice this time, but I’ve done yellow cake before and it’s good, too.

Stir both ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. It is very thick and sticky so use your muscles! Divide the mixture into two 12-cup muffin tins sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with cupcake liners. Bake according to the directions for the cake mix. Makes 24 muffins.

…and then I ate one. 🙂 It was a perfect pre-workout snack. Today was the beginning of my last week of the 12-week plan from the book Buff Brides by Sue Fleming. I did the 24-week workout plan from this same book before my wedding and it really toned me up. The workouts aren’t especially difficult, but they’re easy to step up a notch by adding more weight or doing more reps. I also add cardio bursts between each set for extra burn. Roughly 45 minutes today = 363 calories.

Afterwards we headed home and made some pizzas using pre-made crusts. I had two slices of the taco veggie pizza topped with shredded romaine lettuce and reduced fat sour cream. This meal doesn’t top the “healthy” scale, but it wasn’t horrible and tasted really good.


We had an in-home vaccuum sales demonstration tonight so we hurried to shower and straighten up the kitchen. The sweeper was amazing. It doubles as an air purifier and uses water to clean rather than a bag or canister. It also does about a bajillion and one other cool things. Being the neat freak that I am I was in complete awe and ready to write the check…until we saw the price.: $1,800. Oh, and that’s after a $300 discount if we bought within a week of the demonstration and a $200 discount because we don’t have any carpeting and thus don’t need the special attachment for that. Maybe someday, but not today.

Now we’re watching football (GO STEELERS!!!) and praying that the guy from Baltimore team is okay. That was a rough hit.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and those who go back to work tomorrow are well rested. I’m off for the holiday and looking forward to some cooking, an extended work out session, Australian Open tennis and more reading.

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