Friday, August 31, 2012

August Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

Here it is again! The last day of the month. Not only is August over, but Labor Day weekend is already here. Can you believe it? Luckily, one of the great things about living in the South is that just because Labor Day is here, we can still squeeze a little more out of Summer. The next few weekends are going to be busy and fun, starting with this weekend.

So since it's the last day of the month, that also means that it's time for my foodie pen pal reveal. This month, I was paired up with Stephanie from Munch I Munch. She was so sweet and really took the time to send things that she thought I would like. To be honest, she was spot on, too! Here's what she sent:








I may or may not have eaten two of the fruit strips right away. That's yet to be confirmed :-)

So I'm sure you're wondering how you can join this fun group. Here are the details:

- On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penapl and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

- You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

- The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what's in the box, to a fun recipe...use your imagination!

- You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don't forget about flat rate boxes!)

- Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you're a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents. Please note, Canadian residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, Lindsay will keep two separate lists and match US with US and Canada with Canada!

You can also head on over to Lindsay's blog by clicking here.

If you want to see what I sent out this month, check out Jill's blog here. I'm so glad she liked everything!

So it's the end of another reveal and the end of another month. Can't wait to see what September has in store for us!

So long for today...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIAW #6

Happy Hump Day everyone! I hope you all had a great day. My work day flew by so fast. One day closer to the weekend! Tonight, I made a new cupcake recipe. I haven't frosted them yet, so I'm hoping they turn out good. I'm sure I'll be able to find someone who will help me make them disappear.

So it's WIAW again. I did pretty very well with my eating, but not so good with remembering to take pictures of what I ate. I remembered everything except for lunch, so you'll have to use your imagination on that one. So here we go:

I didn't have my Decaf Chai latte today. I'm trying to drink more water, so I've been starting my day with distilled water with fresh squeezed lemon juice in it.

For breakfast, I had some frozen blueberries with 1/2 c. plain greek yogurt, 1/2 c. of Kashi Indigo Morning cereal and some cinnamon and vanilla (3 pts+)

My mid-morning snack was a banana (1 pt+)

For lunch, I had a tuna wrap, some cabbage, 1/2 serving of Special K Cracker chips and some grapes (6 pts+). I did remember to take a picture of the cabbage:

For my afternoon snack, I had some Light n Fit Greek yogurt with 1 T. of flax sed (3 pts+)

Dinner was a new recipe of Creamy Chicken Enchiladas that I made in the slow cooker along with some black beans and corn (15 pts+)

For dessert, I had a WW Double Caramel Ice Cream Cone (2 pts+)

EXERCISE:
Tonight will be the upper and lower body strength workout that is included on the Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout DVD. It's the first time that I've done it and I'm looking forward to it. Not only because I like to try new workouts but I'm curious to see what the calorie burn will be for the new workout. I'm aiming to earn myself 3 APs tonight. I'll let you know on FB how I do!
So long for today...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew


Holy moly did it rain today. Downtown Charleston was flooded. It's amazing what just a few inches of rain will do. I'm so glad that I didn't have to go anywhere close to the downtown area today. I kept hearing reports on the radio about how everything was closed. As much as I would love to live closer to downtown, it's times like this that I'm glad I live a little further North of the city.

I'm on a roll with my slow cooker. I've been loving coming home from work with dinner either almost or completely ready and waiting for me. Tonight's dinner was no exception. I saw a commercial over the weekend with Tyler Florence making beef stew. I'm always getting hungry for things and this is a perfect example of how it happens. I saw the commercial and was instantly hungry for beef stew. I know there are so many recipes out there that have tons of ingredients and all kinds of herbs and spices, but it can be such a simple dish while still being delicious. Here's my recipe.

EASY SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW
Southern Living Original
Servings: 4
Points+: 10


2 lb. beef roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
1/2 of a small bag of carrots
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into medium pieces
1 packet onion soup mix
2 c. warm water
1/4 c. flour

In the bowl of the slow cooker, mix onion soup mix and water together and stir until soup mix is dissolved. Add flour and stir again until all the lumps are dissolved. Arrange beef on bottom of bowl and top with potatoes, carots, onion and celery, in that order. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
I feel like I haven't had a real strength workout for a while, so I knew that I needed to get in a good workout tonight. I went back to the Biggest Loser Last Chance workout DVD. I'm still doing just the Last Chance Workout. I might start trying to work in some of the other workouts that are included with the DVD. We'll have to see how the rest of my week goes.

So long for today...



Simple Guacamole


Happy Tuesday everyone! Who else is happy that we have another Monday in the books? I'm so excited to have a short week this week, too. We have a very busy weekend coming up this week and having to work on Friday would really have gotten in the way of those plans. So I'm glad to have not only one extra day this weekend, but two because of Labor Day. Can't wait to get started on all the fun!

I think that guacamole is a love/hate type thing. People either love it or they hate it. I'm a recent convert. I used to hate it. Anytime I ordered anything that it came with, I always ordered it without. I didn't like the taste or the texture. Then I started hearing about how avocadoes have the good fats in them. So, a few months ago when we were eating at our local Mexican restaurant, I decided to try some. Surprise, surprise, I like it now! I'm not sure why, but it was so good. So I decided to try to make my own. Here is the recipe:

SIMPLE GUACAMOLE
Southern Living Yankee Original
Servings: 10
Points+: 3


3 ripe avocadoes, mashed
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 t. salt

Combine all ingredients together and stir until mixed well. Place plastic wrap directly on top of guacamole and refrigerate for about an hour. Serve with tortilla chips, veggies or as a spread on your favorite sandwich. Enjoy


EXERCISE:
Last night, my hamstrings were a little sore. I'm assuming it was because I ran a little harder on Sunday than what I'm used to, but it wasn't anything that bad. I didn't want to push it, so I decided to do Level 1 of Yoga Meltdown. It really helped to loosen me up and got a little bit of exercise in at the same time. It was a two for one deal!

So long for today...


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Bread


Well, this weekend is different than that past couple of weekends. It's Sunday evening and I'm actually kind of glad that the weekend is over. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my family and friend on the weekends. The thing is, I'm so tired of making lemonade! Life has been handing my so many lemons lately and I've been doing my best to make lemonade with all of the lemons, but I'm ready for something different. I'd really like for life to hand me some strawberries or something sweeter than lemons. I could make all kinds of things with strawberries if I just had the chance!

Today, I decided to make somthing with bananas. Life didn't hand them to me, I had to go out and buy them, but when they start to get a little dark for me, I either freeze them to make "ice cram" or I make banana bread with them. I really wanted to make some from scratch instead of using the quick bread mix. I found this recipe on a blog that I'm working my way through. it has all kinds of different ideas for eating real food. I do think that this recipe could use a little bit of sugar, but it was still good the way it was. So good that TC had two slices after dinner tonight. Here's the recipe:

WHOLE WHEAT BANANA BREAD
adapted from 100 Days of Real Food
Servings: 12
Points+: 5


2 ¼ c. whole-wheat flour
¾ t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
¼ c. plainfat-free greek yogurt
¼ c. honey
2 eggs
1/3 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl mix mashed bananas with yogurt, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla.

Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake large loaf for 40 – 50 minutes or until it comes clean with a toothpick.


EXERCISE:
I got in tons of exercise today. I got up this morning and went for a run through the campground and our corporate conference center area. They are both on the lake and have absolutely beautiful grounds. After that, we got packed up and headed back to the house. We unpacked, worked on laundry and went grocery shopping. I felt like I still had some stress that I needed to get out, so I went for another run. I've been taking it easy lately, but today I felt the need to get a pretty hard run in. I'm glad I did, because I felt a lot better after I got back. I never thought the day would come that running would be therapeutic for me, but it definitely has!

So long for today...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Grilled Potato Rounds


Good morning from the lake. We got here last night and enjoyed the cool weather. Apparently, its's also mayfly season, but hopefully, they will all be gone for today. These are something I never encountered in the north. They're really only bad around the lake, but when you're around the lake for that day or two they can be pretty annoying. Thank goodness they only live for one day. I'm planning to enjoy this beautiful weather while we're out here.

When we're cooking, we love to grill every chance we get. We decided on burgers for dinner last night and I finally got to make some potato rounds that I've been wanting to try. These can be changed up how ever you want to using what ever flavors you like. I know it may seem weird to use salt-free seasoning then put salt in them. I was going to try to leave the salt out, but when I tasted one, I realized they still needed the salt. So here's the recipe:

GRILLED POTATO ROUNDS
Southen Living Original
Servings: 4
Points+: 4


4 medium white potatoes
1 T. olive oil
1 T. salt-free garlic & herb seasoning
1/2 t. salt

Cut potatoes into 1/4 in. rounds. Place in bowl and pour remaining ingredients over top. Stir until all potatoes are well coated with the oil and seasoning.

Grill for 40 - 50 minutes, or until tender, turning every 15 minutes. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
After we got everything set up last night and had dinner, I decided to take a quick run. It was such a perfect evening for it, I definitely wanted to take advantage of it. The cool weather made it such a great run. Hopefully, the cooler weather will stick around for the rest of my weekend runs!

So long for today...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Italian Roast Beef Sandwiches


This week has been a very quick week, but it has also been very tiring. This coming weekend is going to be a short one, but I'm still looking forward to it. We're going to try to fit some camping in, but we have some other things to do, too. So we'll have to see how much camping we can get in. Even if we don't get much camping in this weekend, we can leave the camper on the campsite and might be able to get some in for Labor Day weekend.

I found another great slow cooker recipe and made it for dinner tonight. It was for these roast beef sandwiches that have some roasted red peppers in them. I was a little nervous about how they would turn out, but they were delicious! I loved them, TC said they were very good and Addison had two helpings. If that doesn't prove how good these sandwiches are, I don't know what will. Here's the recipe:

ITALIAN ROAST BEEF SANDWICHES
adapted from Crock-a-Doodle-Doo
Servings: 6
Points+: 5


1 can of beef broth
1 c. of water
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
3 T. italian seasoning
1 t. garlic salt
1 t. dried parsley
1 package Italian dressing powder mix
3 lb chuck roast or pot roast
1 hot pepper sliced (I didn't use)
1 jar roasted red peppers (by pickles), drained
1 bannana pepper sliced (I didn't use)

Mix all above together and pour over roast in the crock. Cook on low for approximately 7 hours. Pull meat apart with a fork and put back into crock. Serve on rolls and add cheese if you want. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
Since I didn't get a workout in again yesterday, I knew that I definitely had to get one in today. It's been a very busy week and today was no exception. When we finally got home for the evening, I was exhausted again and just wanted to go to bed. After falling asleep with Addison and posting on my blog, a workout just wasn't going to happen. Luckily, I had gotten in the 2 Mile Walk Away the Pounds video. Yay me!

So long for today...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken & Potatoes


What a very long day! I'm so glad it's finally over. It was so long, I didn't even do my workout. While I really would have liked to have gotten one in, when it came down to it, I was just too tired. I thought about not doing a blog post, but since I took last weekend off, I figured I could muster up the energy to post one for you all. Plus, dinner tonight was really good and I wanted to share it with you.

I've been trying to find more slow cooker recipes. I found this really great blog that has a ton of them. So be prepared to see lots of slow cooker recipes in the coming weeks. After I threw this together and had it waiting on me when I got home, I wondered why I don't use the slow cooker more often. Hopefully, I will use it much more in the future and not have to cook so much when I get home from work. Tonight's recipe really couldn't be any easier and it was so good, too! Here's the recipe:

SLOW COOKER ITALIAN CHICKEN & POTATOES
adapted from Crock-a-doodle-doo
Servings: 4
Points+: 10


4 4-oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
16-oz. bottle of fat-free Italian dressing
1/2 c. of Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning
4 medium potatoes scrubbed and cut in wedges (you can peel if desired)
1/2 bag of mini carrots

Spray crock with Pam. Squirt a small amount of Italian dressing at bottom of crock-pot. Place two chicken breasts in crock. Pour some of the Italian dressing on the chicken. Sprinkle half of cheese onto the chicken. Sprinkle Italian seasoning onto the chicken. Place next two chicken breasts into crock-pot, if possible not directly on top of the first breasts.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of chicken. Pour carrots on top. Pour more of the Italian dressing on top of chicken and carrots. Sprinkle Italian seasoning onto the chicken and carrots. Place potatoes on top.

Pour the remaining Italian dressing on the potatoes. Sprinkle Italian seasoning on the potatoes.Cook on low for 6-8 hours.


EXERCISE:
Sorry to report that I didn't get any exercise in tonight. I might have to do something extra sometime this week to make up for it. I have to keep telling myself that days of rest are good for my body. Maybe someday I will listen.

So long for today...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Slow Cooker Boiled Peanuts


All of my non-Southern friends are looking at the title of this post and asking, "What kind of peanuts?" You read right. In the South, they boil their peanuts. I don't know the origin of this, but they're really not bad and actually kind of good, Even my mother and sister who both said they didn't really like boiled peanuts said how good they were. The first time I tried them, I thought they tasted like mashed potatoes. Obviously, they have grown on me and I now love them!

I was always intimidated by having to have the perfect formula of salt and water and figuring out how long to cook the peanuts for. So it took me a long time before I tried to make them for the first time. Then, I heard last year that you could make them in the slow cooker. I was lucky that I got it right on the first try!


TC has been wanting me to make some boiled peanuts for a while now. So when I saw some good sized peanuts at the grocery store the other day, I made sure to pick some up. I also knew that my dad and brother-in-law really like them and would help out eating them. I started them Friday night when we went to bed and when we woke up Saturday morning, the whole camper smelled like boiled peanuts. We definitely had boiled peanuts for breakfast that morning! Here's the recipe:

SLOW COOKER BOILED PEANUTS
Southern Living Yankee Original
Servings: 8 - 10


3 lbs. raw peanuts
1/3 - 1/2 c. salt

Rinse peanuts and allow to drain. Place in slow cooker. Fill slow cooker with water to top. Add salt (depending on how salty you like them) and stir until salt is dissolved. Cook on low heat 10 - 12 hours. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
Even though this is my normal day of rest, I felt like I needed to get in just a litle bit of activity this evening. So while TC set up the camper on our spot for the weekend, I took a quick jog around the area. I only ran for about 20 minutes, but it was just enough to earn 2 APs. I know it doesn't completely make up for all the indulgences I had over the weekend, but it's better than nothing!

So long for today...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pineapple Soy Slow Cooker Pork Sandwiches


Why do I feel like I start most of my Sunday night posts asking if the weekend is already over? That's what I feel like again this week. I guess that's a good thing because it means that I have good weekends. This one was no exception. We had a great time camping at the state park. We floated down the Edisto River. It;s a nice relaxing float that lasts between 3 and 4 hours. Ours was a little less than 3 hours because I do relax easily and had to help us a long in a few places. But contrary to what my sister things, I still had a good time and might even do it again sometime.

Friday, I had some pork tenderloin sandwiches cooking in the slow cooker all day. The house smelled amazing! I couldn't wait to try these sandwiches for dinner. I definitely wasn't disappointed. They were so good! The bread and butter pickles as well as the mayonnaise really make these sandwiches. They're so easy. I love putting something in the crockpot and then hours later, it's done! Can't beat it! Here's the recipe:

PINEAPPLE SOY SLOW COOKER PORK SANDWICHES
adapted from Steph's Bite by Bite
Servings: 6
Points+: 14 (includes rolls)


3-4 lb pork tenderloin
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup pineapple juice
Light Wheat Rolls
Bread and Butter pickles
Light Mayonnaise

Spray the base of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the pork tenderloin in the slow cooker, then add in the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, water, and pineapple juice. Put the lid on top and set on LOW for 10 hours.

After pork is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and place on a cutting board. Using two forks shred the pork (the meat should just fall apart). Pile the pork on the rolls, then top with the bread and butter pickles. Add mayo to your taste. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
I am very happy that I got 3 runs in this weekend. They ranged between 3 and 4 miles. We had some pretty nice weather the last few mornings and I have taken full advantage of it by getting my runs in in the morning. Since it's Sunday night, I'm going to do some yoga as soon as I post on my blog tonight. It's been a few days since I posted something and I knew you all were waiting patiently for news from me :-)

So long for tonight...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Orange Sesame Chicken


So happy that I made it through another week! How true is the song, "Working for the Weekend?" Honestly, my job isn't that bad, but if I had a choice between going to work or staying at home and enjoying a day with my family, 100% of the time, work would lose. This weekend, we are going camping and once again, I can't wait! We're going back to the same State Park where we stayed a few weeks ago, but this time, we're tripling the amount of people going. It should be a pretty nice and relaxing weekend. I can't wait!

Dinner last night was a new recipe. I took a picture of it for WIAW, but I didn't say much about it. Everyone said they really liked it and there were no leftovers which tells me they really did! It's a really simple recipe, too which, as you know, gives it bonus points in my book! Here's the recipe:

ORANGE SESAME CHICKEN
Adapted from ABPetite
Servings: 4
Points+: 5


4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 c. teriyaki sauce
juice of 1/2 an orange
1 T. orange zest
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1 T. sesame seeds
1 T. wheat flour

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray and add chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add teriyaki sauce, orange juice and flour. Stir and allow to simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve. Sprinkle sesame seeds and green onion on top. Serve with rice and snow peas. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
Tonight I did level 1 of Jillian Michael's yoga. I didn't do it Sunday evening in lieu of going to bed, so my muscles thanked me tonight when I finally stretched them out some! I'm hoping to get up to do a run in the morning, but we'll see how cooperative Mother Nature is. Be on the lookout for any running posts tomorrow morning on Facebook!

So long for today...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIAW #5

Happy hump day everyone. I hope you're all having a great week. My week is flying by. Most likely because I am extremely busy at work. But I'd rather be busy at work than slow. It makes for a much faster day and week. I'm also looking forward to spending the weekend with my parents and my sister, BIL and niece. We're going to be camping for the weekend and once again, I can't wait! I will try to take pictures of everything and share it with you. Like I said, I will TRY. Sometimes I have the best intentions, but they just don't pan out. We'll see what happens.

So let's get down to what I ate today:

Of course, I started with my non-fat decaf chai latte: 0 Points+

For breakfast, I had one egg, plus one egg white: 2 Points+

and a packet of lower sugar oatmeal make with 1 cup water: 3 Points+

I had a morning snack of my typical banana: 1 Point+

For lunch, I had a chicken gyro on a fat-free tortilla with lettuce, tomato and some fat-free plain greek yogurt: 5 Points+

I also had 15 Special K Cracker Chips: 1 Point+

and some dark red cherries: 1 Point+

I had some strawberry Greek yogurt for my afternoon snack: 2 Points+

Dinner was a yummy new recipe, Orange Sesame Chicken on brown rice with some snow peas: 8 Points+

and some grilled pineapple: 1 Point+

I also had some of my mom's homemade wheat bread, that I didn't take a picture of: 4 Points+

I also had an unpictured Double Caramel Mini Ice Cream Cone: 2 Points+

Total DPs: 30

EXERCISE:
I earned 3 activity points tonight when I did the Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout. This video is led by Jillian with some of the former Biggest Loser contestants. I really like how it keeps switching back and forth between cardio and strength workouts. I think it's one step below the Shred videos that Jillian also has. But I still feel like I get a good workout.

Ok, so that's another WIAW. I hope these are helping you as much as they're helping me!

So long for today...