Sunday, September 11, 2011

The name says it all...

I have found the perfect food.

Seriously, this bar may have just changed my snack life. It's like a Reese's PB cup, only BIGGER (and minus the chocolate, but hey, you can't win em all).

The stats:

306 calories (yes, 306. This company must have a thing for precision)
18 g protein
No refined sugar and over 20 whole foods
Gluten Free

I'm telling ya, delicious. I savored every bite. I picked this up on a whim during my last whole foods trip, and now this bar my inspire it's own whole foods trip today.

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone is resting!!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Burgers for Two

Happy Monday friends!

Have I got a recipe for you. Last night the hubs and I got home from church and I could not wait to get in the kitchen and give this Cooking Light recipe for Chicken Parmesan burgers a shot.

1. Slice 2 3-oz ciabatta rolls and lay them face-up on a baking sheet. Broil for 3 minutes. After you take them out, spread a little minced garlic on them and set aside for future sandwich-building. Also, switch over from broil to bake at 375.

2. You'll need marinara sauce, thyme and rosemary (I used 1/4 tsp spices instead of fresh herbs), salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper.

3. Mix 1/3 cup marinara, 1/4 tsp each of thyme, rosemary and crushed red pepper, and 1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper into 1/2 pound of ground chicken.

4. Make 2 1/4-inch thick patties and heat on over-proof skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.

5. Flip burgers. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes. Remove, put 2 Tbs mozzarella on each burger and bake 1 additional minute.

6. To assemble sandwich, put 2 basil leaves on each half of the roll. Then layer burger and 1 additional Tbs of marinara.

7. Devour! Hubs and I enjoyed some roasted zucchini seasoned with salt and pepper on the side.

The hubs really enjoyed this meal! It was fun to make, quick, and easy to clean up. A winner, winner chicken-parm dinner in my book!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Adventures in Furnishing!

It's the age-old transformation story.

An old, tired, tattered, unloved chair....

Becomes the chair of my dreams!!

Last week, my mother-in-law (MIL) and I set off to fulfill the hubs' desire for a "comfortable chair" that also fit our budget. When we walked into a second-hand store, I was admittedly skeptical. The furniture looked tired, and although the MIL reassured me we would have any piece we found re-finished, I couldn't seem to visualize it.

So, knowing I am clueless when it comes to furniture selection, I asked her to select the chair she thought would be the best to work with. She decided on the gray striped one, with torn fabric and worn out arms, at the cost of $140. I wasn't feelin' it. However, after a trip to a discount fabric store, where I found a richly beautiful fabric on sale, I started to see the vision.

We hired a family friend to recover the chair, and viola! I never expected it to turn out this good! I am in love with this chair (never, ever thought I would say that...who am I and since when do I care about furniture?).

Workout + Breakfast

Before my super-exciting chair arrival, I tried a Body Step class at the Y. It was so high-energy and a great workout. I also went for a 4-mile walk on the treadmill after class was over. When I got home, I re-fueled with a delicious smoothie:

*strawberries & mango
*1 cup 1% milk
*1 T white chocolate wonderful PB
*Drizzle of agave
*Frozen banana

Off to lunch with a friend!

Q: What are your tips for furnishing on a budget? I am so glad to have experienced the world of buying something second hand and having it re-done. It was far cheaper than if we had walked into a store and bought something new!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Breakfast + Mocha on the Mount

Good afternoon!!

I officially had my first day of work for my new teaching job yesterday. After over a month of rest and relaxation (which although nice, was slowly turning into boredom), I was really excited to get back into a routine.

This week, I am being trained on the school curriculum, philosophy of education, and policies & procedures. It is so refreshing to be in a work environment with other believers who truly love the Lord and seek their approach to educating children from God's word.

My Favorite Summer Breakfast

My summer morning routine looks something like this: wake up, run, sweat enough to fill a pool, burst through the door famished and overheated. It's a doozy.

What is the best way to cool down from the Texas heat?

A delicious ice cold chocolatey smoothie! This is by far my favorite smoothie combination. The "backbone" of it looks something like this:

*1 cup milk (soy, coconut, 1%...whatever we have on hand)
*1 frozen banana (works best if you let it get really ripe before freezing, then peel and put in a ziploc bag to freeze)
*a couple shakes of ground cinnamon
*1 t xanathan gum for thickening
*2 T cocoa powder
*1 T nut butter (anything that floats my boat that particular day--almond butter, chocolate hazelnut butter, peanut butter, etc.)
*1/4 to 1/2 cup of cereal or granola on top

This combination never disappoints and always cools me down after a good run!

Summer Bible Study

I am participating in a summer women's bible study through our church, so my morning breakfast routine also includes a daily quiet time to go through the material for the day.

We are going through Mocha on the Mount by Sandra Glahn.

I love this study because each week's topic is easily broken down into six parts, so you complete one part every day from Monday-Saturday. This is a great study on God's word that truly extols His truth. It focuses on the sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), which outlines key principles to "kingdom living." It is a good length, the idea being that you can complete your daily study over a good cup of coffee (in my case, a smoothie!).

What does your summer morning routine look like?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Healthy Road Tripin'

Today was a whirlwind! I woke up bright and early for a 3 mile walk before saying goodbye to the padres and hitting the road to Houston. When I got back from my walk, the hunger beast was ragin', so I fixed a quicked yogurt bowl that sat like a rock in my stomach!
Caramel oikos, strawberries, blueberries, Kashi cinnamon harvest.
Eating Healthy on the Road
With my parents four hours away in Dallas, our family ranch seven hours way, and lots of college and high school friends all over the south, hubs and I take a lot of road trips together.
Road trips are always challenging for me in terms of sticking to healthy choices. For one thing, driving on highways can be both monotonous and boring. Sometimes the only "exciting" thing I can think of to do is stop for a treat. Secondly, no matter where I am headed, there are usually lots of tempting pit stops along the way. It's pretty easy to say no to Dairy Queen (LOVE me a blizzard) the first time I pass a sign for one, but by the fourth time? Combine frequency of temptation with increasing boredom, and I'm more likely to give in.
Over the years, I have found that these ideas help me stay healthy on the road:
1. Plan ahead for entertainment
Listening to music all day in the car simply doesn't do it for me. I do, however, love a good book on CD. I've invested in a few, including Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter. Although pretty pricey up front, I've listened to the whole book 3-4 times thise year, so to me it was worth the extra money!
2. Pack your own drinks and snacks

I find that it's much healthier (not to mention cheaper!) to pack my own lunch and snacks for the car ride. If I know I have a waterbottle and a larabar in the car, I am less likely to be tempted to snag a diet coke and a pack of Reeses on a gas stop. Today, I brought along my own lunch of a morningstar farms veggie patty with Mmm sauce and cucumber slices with spinach dip.
3. Don't be afraid to succumb to a craving every now and then!
There are lots of fun food indulgences along the road, so I try to think about what I really have a hankerin for. Chances are I don't need hree treats on the road--but what's wrong with one? Variety is the spice of life! Today, I decided to treat myself to a piece of heath bar fudge from Buccees. I didn't feel deprived, so I wasn't tempted to overdo it later down the road or when I got home.
When I arrived home, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the hubs had already taken the initiative to defrost some trout for dinner. We went to the evening service at our church, stocked up on groceries for the week, and then arrived home to cook up some dinner.

Thanks, hubs!
This guy is pretty great in the kitchen. He is one of those people who can smell spices to determine what will taste good together. Me, I have to follow a recipe at this point. But he can wing it.
Tonight he made a delicious marinade of lemon juice, dijon, basil, onions, and honey for the fish. This was melt-in-your mouth fantastic! Served alongside some sweet potato rounds and asparagus.
Something to chat about: How do you stay healthy on the road?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Mama doesn't drink or eat dessert by herself"

And who am I to break that rule? ;)

Today was all about spending some quality time with my precious peach of a mama. We have a very simple routine: shop, drink, eat. Check it:


We started out at Nordstroms Rack and Off 5th because they were having some good sales. And we scored big time! I found an Elie Tahari shirt that will be fun for a date night dinner for $30...


the answer to my prayers in boot form. In early January, I sent the hubs the following email from school:

"Sooo...I found the perfect pair of boots (teacher at school suggested-don't judge. I was not online shopping at work). And I want them more than I want to mother my own child. Well, maybe not that much. But I reallllyyy realllyy want them. I might even say that I need them. Put it in the budget? Thoughts? I love you...thinking of you...and boots."

Long story short, I didn't end up buying the boots. Practicality (and the hubs astute budgeting) won the day. But clearly these boots were destined to be mine, because I found them 50% off today! woo hoo!! Bring it on, fall weather!


The Mambo Taxi (margarita + sangria) is love.


We finished up our day at one of my favorite Dallas restaurants, Mi Cocina. It has a great atmosphere and delectable Tex-Mex fare.

We started with chips & salsa...

added some queso (NOT cheese dip people. In Texas we call it queso)...

and I ordered my favorite salad, the Rico. Highlights include grilled chicken, avocado and famous Mi Cocina dressing.

Bye Dallas!

I'm heading back to Houston early tomorrow morning. The padres and I ate some leftovers from last night's gathering for dinner. I ate my weight in spinach dip before dinner, so I stuck to one turkey slider and salad.

Before I turned in for the night, my parents did have a small request: "Can you make some of that dip?" Yep, I have made some Mmmm sauce believers out of them! I happily obliged and whipped up about 4x the normal recipe.

I've got an ice cold root beer float in my tummy (and perhaps the icing off the top of 6-7 baby cupcakes...whoops) and I think it's time to slip into a sugar coma.