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Honeymoon Mystery and Deliciously Simple Asian Tofu Salad

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Yesterday, Mom and I spent the morning driving up to Michigan to meet my dad and be with family for the morning.  On the way up there, we saw about a bazillion hot air balloons.  I know it’s hard to see in the picture below, but all those little specs are hot air balloons!  We had no idea why so many were out on a Wednesday morning, or even that so many people owned hot air balloons, but it gave us some nice scenery along the drive.

The trip to Fort Wayne and Michigan was short and sweet, so before I knew it, I was in the car and heading back to Indianapolis to meet with our Travel Agent to speak of honey moon plans.

It was a long day of driving, so I needed snacks in the car.  Mom packed up some cucumbers, radishes (yum!  I don’t eat these enough!), green pepper, and dried apricot.

It was great talking with the travel agent.  Brian and I just keep getting more and more excited about the wedding and our honey moon each day and can’t wait for next summer!

We haven’t booked anything yet, but hopefully soon we will have our arrangements all settled to travel to one of these locations…

Cinque Terre, Italy

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Negril, Jamaica

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The Bahamas

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Any guesses as to which location Brian and I are trying to make our honeymoon destination? We will let you know the answer once everything is all booked!

Dinner

When we arrived home, it was later than our usual dinner time and both of us were a bit hungry.  Luckily, I had prepped a meal on Sunday so we had to wait almost no time for dinner to be on the table.

Asian Tofu Salad

Yields:  2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup of cubed tofu
  • 2 cups of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped cabbage

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and olive oil.  Stir until combined.  Pour about half of the Asian dressing over the cubed tofu to marinate.  Spray and grease a baking sheet, and lay the tofu on the sheet.  Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir the tofu around and place in the oven for 10-15 more minutes until it reaches your desired crispness.

This tofu can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days so that you can have this meal later in the week, or you can serve it right away.  

Divide the lettuce and cabbage into two bowls.  Top with the tofu and the remaining dressing.  Eat and enjoy!

This meal was delicious and tasty, so simple, and we both cleaned every bite from our plates!

Hope you all have a great Thursday!

Of Possible Interest

 

High Protein Banana Muffins and My New Spin Playlist

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Last night, I made a pretty big accomplishment….

I took the pit out of an avocado…with just a knife for the first time EVER! Now, don’t get me wrong, as I have tried and failed many times before.  Seriously, it felt great to do that!!

Brian and I then enjoyed that avocado in some homemade guacamole in meatless Mexican salads.  I used the Morningstar Farms meal starters with some chili powder, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, and pepper (all unmeasured), and it tasted so good.

Snack Time

I am so excited for my snack today.  One of my favorite things ever to make is muffins.  I can remember being a little girl using the Jiffy Cornbread Muffin mix to help my mom out with breakfast (corn muffins are a guilty pleasure of mine!).  For some reason, muffins just have a special place in my heart.

On Saturday, I scoured the internet for some high protein muffin recipes, and found tons.  Many of the recipes were similar to each other, so I took some notes, put my creative hat on and came up with a delicious banana creation.  Keep in mind, they do have a slight “protein” taste, so I love them, but Brian thinks they need peanut butter on top 😉

High Protein Banana Muffins

Yields:  10 Muffins

Nutrition Information:  Calories-63.2  Fat-2.1g  Carbs-3.2g Protein-8.3g

Ingredients:

  • 1 large banana, smashed
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (oats ground up!)
  • 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.  Scoop batter into 10 paper lined and greased muffin tins.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  ENJOY!

Workout

This morning’s workout was my Tuesday morning spinning class followed by some shoulder and ab work.  I have been rotating the same three playlists and switching out various songs for quite some time now in my spinning class…so I decided to create a completely new playlist.

All of the songs totally got me pumped up and working up a sweat!  I loved it.  At the end of class, I asked for suggestions for next week’s playlist…so keep your eyes peeled for another great workout mix.

On that note, it is time for me to head into work, but first…

Question of the Morning:

  • What is your favorite workout song and why?

I LOVE the Black Pearl song from Pirates of the Caribbean.  For some reason, it just gets me pumped and thinking I can push through and do anything.  It also ALWAYS seems to play when I am getting tired and need that extra energy and confidence boost.

Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad and my First Encounter with Feta

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A couple of days ago, I showed you this tasty picture without giving you a recipe or even telling you what it was!

This meal of Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad is a fabulous week night dinner that is tasty enough to be impressive, yet simple enough that it can be whipped up in no time.

When I headed to the grocery store last weekend, feta cheese sounded delicious.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use the feta in during the week, but I knew it sounded great so I tossed some into the cart.

Whenever I think of feta cheese, I can’t help but think of my first encounter with feta.  When I was in high school, one of my best friends was very Greek.  On one occasion when me and our other friends were at her house hanging out, we were hungry and wanted something to snack on.  Upon opening the fridge, I saw a giant white tub with a clear lid full of some sort of giant white block.  I had no idea what it was, but I knew that I was not going to eat whatever that mystery block was.

The tub looked much like this, but with a clear lid.

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When I questioned what the tub was full of…FETA was the answer.  At that moment I simply knew that I did not like feta and I never would.  Well, I was wrong.  Because after actually tasting the salty, crumbly cheese I realized I couldn’t get enough of it!

So, after throwing the feta into my cart last weekend, I needed to figure out a meal to pair this delicious cheese with.  Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad fit the bill.

Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Yields: 2 servings of Chicken, and 2-3 servings of salad, can easily be doubled

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Greek salad dressing, can be purchased OR recipe follows
  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomato, quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat feta


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Coat the chicken breasts with half of the Greek dressing while poking holes into the chicken with a fork to get some of the dressing inside.  Place in the baking dish and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the quinoa salad.  The quinoa can be prepared at an earlier date or right before serving this meal, allowing that it has time to cool.  Prepare the quinoa according to package directions by placing 1/2 cup of the uncooked quinoa into a sauce pan along with 1 cup of water.  Cover the quinoa.  Allow the quinoa to come to a boil and turn the heat down to low for 12-15 minutes, or until the water is gone.

If preparing the quinoa right before the meal, stick it in the freezer to allow it to cool while the chicken is cooking.

Chop the tomato, onion, and cucumber.  Place in a large bowl with the spinach, feta, and the remaining Greek dressing.  Once the quinoa is cool, combine the quinoa into the feta and Greek dressing mixture.

Remove the chicken from the oven, serve along side the quinoa salad and enjoy!

Homemade Greek Dressing:

  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp evoo
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix until combined, and serve over salads or use as a marinade.

ENJOY!

*This recipe is being entered into the Mr. Food Ultimate Weeknight Meal Contest.  Keep your eyes peeled for voting opportunities!

What is Paleo…Have You Tried it?

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I tried something new this morning.

I had seen Clare from Fitting it all In try these a couple of days ago, and love trying new things and I was running out of eggs  to make for breakfast so I made myself a bowl of Oatless Oats.

They were surprisingly simple to make and really tasty.  In the picture above, they are just plain, but when I ate them for breakfast this morning I topped them with a bit of peanut butter, strawberries, and blackberries…oh so good!  I will be promptly adding this little meal to my list of “regulars.”

How to Make Oatless “Oatmeal” (original recipe from Fitting it all In)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 mashed banana (I took a frozen banana and thawed in the microwave so it was nice and mushy)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • shake of cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax meal

Directions

Mash the banana in a bowl.  After the banana is mashed, combine all ingredients in the bowl until mixed will.  Then, simply place in a saucepan and heat until the texture of the mixture becomes creamy.  When you get that creamy texture, you are finished!  Simply place in a bowl and serve with your favorite toppings (nuts, nut butter, berries, fruit, or plain!)

**I made mine the night before and ate them cold in the morning…they were delish!  Highly recommended!

Why Oatless and What is Paleo?

Some of you are probably wondering why anyone would want to eat oats without the oats.  One huge reason is because the “Paleo” or “Paleolithic” diet cuts out all grains.

Now, I am very new to this whole Paleo way of eating (you may have heard of it referred to as the “caveman diet”), so I have been doing a lot of reading on it lately, and I find it very interesting!

Basically, anyone following the Paleo way of eating guidelines eats anything that would have been available to a caveman and nothing more.  So, grains really aren’t an option.  The main foods that are eaten following this lifestyle are:

  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats, Eggs, and Fish

Things to avoid are sugar, legumes (beans), and basically anything that is processed and packaged, because that’s not what the cavemen ate!  There are many web sites outlining various details and health benefits of the diet.  To me, it all makes sense and sounds like a great plan to follow for some.  I completely believe that every person has different needs and will find a different eating plan and lifestyle that just works.  So, while I think that this whole “Paleo” thing is interesting, I don’t think it is something that I want to try full-out…but I will still sample a few of the Paleo recipes here and there!

Dinner

Moving on from the Paleo diet…(that was a smooth transition…)

I made a DELICIOUS meal last night, and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you.  Unfortunately, all I can offer you right now is a little tease:

 

It was as delicious as it is pretty 😉

Workout

As for my workout today, this is my last Cardio Intervals class of the summer.  In honor of the last class, I will be doing another mixed bag workout much like last week.  Also, to show my class their appreciation I made them some little goodies.

 

The special gift is a colorful workout towel with some homemade “Luna” Bars.   Next week, I will be starting a new boot camp class!

Wedding Update!

It has been a while since I have posted anything about the wedding, but never fear…it is still on!  Brian and I are meeting with the reception venue contact tonight.  I can’t wait!

Question of the Morning:

  • Have you tried a Paleo recipe?  What is your favorite?

This is my first Paleo recipe, but I plan on trying more in the near future!

*PS.  One of my co-workers owns a photography business called EBT Photography.  Recently, he has been nominated to win the Wedding Industry Experts Best Indianapolis Photographer Award for 2012.  So, share the love and click this link to vote for his company!

 

New Workout Page and Honey Peanut Buttery Granola

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Boy, oh boy do I have a recipe for you!

But first, I want to tell you about some updates I made to the blog yesterday.

After the usual Sunday grocery shopping and food prep, I got out of the house and headed to Starbucks to completely focus on getting some blog work done.

 

The end result was a mission accomplished!  I updated the workout tab on the top bar, and created a drop down list categorizing various workouts that I have created, my race stats, and I compiled all of my fitness related posts into one place.

So, if you are in need of  a workout routine, then head on over to the workout page to check it out!

Now, on to the important stuff…

Honey Peanut Buttery Granola

I had really been wanting to make a batch of granola recently, so I decided yesterday was as good as a day as any!  I looked at several of my usual recipes, took bits and pieces from each and threw in a little of my own flair.  The end result was completely tasty.

Ingredients (warning, this recipe makes a TON!! So you can definitely half it or even quarter it!):

  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 cups oats
  • 2 cups sunflower seed
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat germ
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, oil, honey, vanilla, and agave.  Place in the microwave and heat for about 1 minute, or until it is slightly bubbly and easy to stir and combine.

Place dry ingredients in peanut butter and honey mixture.  Stir until combined.  Place the mixture onto one or two greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir.  Reduce the oven temperature to 250, and place the granola back in the oven for 10-15 minutes removing it to stir and replacing it back in the oven until it is the desired brownness.

When it is done cooking, spread the granola on waxed paper to cool, then store in a sealed container.

ENJOY!!!

Something New…

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Happy Hump Day!

I always love Wednesdays because we are half way through the week, and almost to the weekend.

**Thank you to everyone who has entered yesterday’s One Year contest!! If you haven’t had a chance to enter yet, you have until tomorrow!!***

Yesterday, I had a very important errand to run while I was on my lunch break.  It was time for me to attend my eye doctor appointment.  I wear daily-wear disposable contacts, and I had literally one pair left….that I had been stretching for a couple of days.  I booked the appointment at the earliest possible time, and I was sooo thankful that it was yesterday, because my eyes were starting to notice that those contacts were gettin’ old.

The past couple of years I have gone to different eye doctors simply because of being in college, moving, and trying to find something near my current place of work.  That being said, I had a pretty good experience yesterday!

He helped me with all of my needs and gave me some daily-wear contacts to try, and is ordering me another type to try later this week so that I can get the most bang for my buck.  He also helped me with Brian’s problems…or at least attempted to.

Brian always complains that his eyes are burning and on fire due to his contacts by the end of the day.  The doctor explained to me that may be because he is reacting to the preservatives that he is keeping his contacts in at night.  I had never heard that before!  The doctor’s solution was to try preservative free storage with a hydrogen peroxide based solution.  He gave us a sample of Clear Care to see if that will help Brian’s burning eye problem.

I hope it works!

Ricotta Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip

In other news, on Sunday when I was prepping meals and snacks for the week, I created a delicious little fruit dip that I just can’t get enough of!

Lately, I have been trying to incorporate more fruit into my diet, especially during snacks and lunch time.  I just love dipping my apples into something and this dip is so perfect for just that!  I can imagine that it would be great with graham crackers too 😉

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese 
  • 1/2 cup lowfat ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 packets of Stevia
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • dash of cinnamon
Directions
Place all ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy!
Makes 8 servings of 2 Tablespoons each.
Nutrition per 2 Tablespoons:
Calories:  55  Fat:  3.3g  Carbs:  2.2g  Protein:  4.6g

Meals for Today…Trying Something New

I have been wanting a food scale for quite sometime, and although I know that I would use it most days, I have been having a hard time bringing myself to spend $20 on one.  Luckily, for the time being, I don’t have to worry about that, because Brian’s parents have one that they don’t mind me using!

I really started using it, because I started something new last week regarding my meals and my exercise. Sorry for not going into much detail right now, but I plan on writing a post about it later in the week.  For now, I will just give you a peek into my suitcase  lunchbox as a little tease…

I hope you all have a great middle of the week!

Now for some afternoon reading…

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Back in the Routine

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Last night, as soon as I got home I changed my clothes, laced up my running shoes, and headed out the door for a 3 mile jog.  I thought about doing 4, but with the heat being so hot I thought 3 today and 4 on Wednesday.

After taking a week long hiatus from running I was ready to jump back into a routine this week, heat and all!

I ran 3 miles with an 8 minute and 30 second pace, not too bad considering the weather!

Dinner

Dinner then came together in just 20 short minutes.  I simply roasted some green beans and reheated a salmon burger patty that my mom left me with from the weekend.

I topped the burger and dipped the green beans in a mixture of Greek yogurt, dill seasoning, and a little garlic salt.  The dill makes the dip taste so fresh and light!  Perfect for a summer meal after a hot and sweaty run.

Homemade Luna Bars (based on the recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie)

Luna bars have always been a favorite snack of mine.  Easy to throw in the bag and tasty.  I have been eyeing this recipe for a while now and I am so glad that I tried it!  The recipe is very simple, it comes together quickly and tastes amazing!  A perfect treat-like snack for anytime of the day.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups brown puffed rice cereal 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 2 Tbsp of protein powder
  • melted chocolate chips

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the vanilla, salt, agave and peanut butter and melt together in the microwave.  In a large bowl, combine the puffed rice cereal and the protein powder.

Pour the peanut butter mixture over the puffed rice cereal and mix well.  Use a potato masher to mash everything down, squashing some of the rice puffs.

Place a piece of wax paper down in a baking pan.  Spread the mixture in the baking pan and press down firmly.  Melt the chocolate chips and spread on the top of the bars.  Freeze for about 30 minutes or more before removing to serve!

Enjoy!

Nutrition (recipe makes about 20 bars)

Calories:  122  Fat:  6.6g  Carbs:  11.3g  Protein:  5.8g

Breakfast

This morning, I had a new flavor of baked oatmeal….

Strawberries and cream baked oatmeal!  It ended up turning out pretty good, but I had a little kitchen mishap so the measurements got kind of wacko…so no recipe. 

Over the weekend my mom gave me a kind of stevia that is extremely strong compared to the regular stuff.  In my recipe, I added 1 Tbsp for 4 servings not thinking that was a lot…well that was wrong, completely wrong!  So, I continued to add more and more of each ingredient in hopes to cover up some of the strong stevia taste.  Thankfully, I figured out a winning combo (not sure what it is though!) so I didn’t have to waste the entire batch of baked oats.

 

Question of the Morning:

  • What kitchen mess up have you had lately?