Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

What says Halloween better than Carved Pumpkins and The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Happy Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Today, I made two new dishes. :-) Pad Thai Clean Eating Style and Maple Ginger Turkey Breast. :-) Both turned out extremely well, though on the latter, there was hardly any trace of the marinade itself in the meat... Oh well. Still juicy and good!

I accidentally put in 2x the noodles... Oh well, it was super!!!!!

Not the prettiest photo... Oh well... It's proof that I actually made a Turkey.

DH just said as he saw me put up the photos, "You spoiled me today!" because I brought him the Pad Thai for lunch at the library while he studied for his actuarial exam and made the turkey for a late dinner. :-) I loved hearing that!! He even did the dishes (unloaded and reloaded) for me, which made my night even better. We'll be a little sinful later have some of Grandma Jan's famous Chocolate Herman bread, but all in all, I was very pleased with my eating today. :-)

OH and I was wrong about C25k! I do have planned walking breaks for W6D1 and W6D2... Thank you Lord!!! I am very nervous about tomorrow, but since I have been able to accomplish the days pretty well so far, I guess I am ready! If only all the hills would disappear before tomorrow morning!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Well, it's been a while... Sorry! It's been busy around here with DH studying for his next actuarial exam, church, new cooking adventures, shopping, and general merriment surrounding the celebration of my birth! :-) My mom got the swine flu (probably) and is getting over it, my ILs and Grandparent ILs came in, my Dad and his wife came into town too... We went to a great housewarming party for some new church friends... Let's see... Well, most exciting of all...

My birthday was just over a week ago and DH made it perfect in every way except one thing... He woke me up at 7 AM. Haha. He had to head out for some "last minute birthday stuff", which I knew meant breakfast and flowers. :-) He returned with both (Einstein Bros Bagels and Tulips, my favourite) as well as a cake. How sweet is he? :-) For lunch, we went to Maymont Park, which was lovely. After that we went shopping and I got my nails done (love that!). Dinner was the real treat, though; We went to The Melting Pot. YUM. The big night out was definitely that: BIG. I had to unzip my dress in the car in order to breath properly after expanding from so much food.

Lately, we've been experimenting with a few recipes. On Tuesday, we had Clean Eating Macaroni, a recipe I believe I got from TPOX, a wonderful clean eating blogger that I know of from The Nest Boards. Tonight we had Oatmeal Banana Pancakes with a Pomegranate Syrup, also courtesy of TPOX's blog. :-) They were a hit with DH, but I'm not sure I liked the syrup with the pancakes, though separately, each were very good. I get so many fun recipes from people's blogs! Tomorrow night I am making Maple Ginger Turkey Breast, which, if I am not mistaken, has ALSO been taken from TPOX's blog! Oh my!!! Thanks TPOX!

We are now about to finish Week FIVE of the C25k program. Today was 8 minutes of jogging, 5 minute rest, 8 minutes of jogging. It was hard, but at the same time, I did feel ready to run before the 5 minute walk was over. This is the scary point in the training though because now there are no more scheduled walks in the program!! YIKES! Sat/Sun (whichever day we can do it) is a 20 minute straight run! My oh my! At least it's something to counteract my sitting on my butt watching the first two seasons of Bones on DVD which we bought a week ago tomorrow. I finished two seasons of TV in 6 days. Holy mackerel I need a life!

I think I may have good news on the job front. At church last night, two separate people told me about opportunities in the county that we live in. One teaches for the county and said she'd look into the subbing situation for me and talk to some people and the other, our new friend Kim, told me about a job fair for the county schools coming up next month! Let's hope and pray that there's something GOOD out there. I had substitute "orientation" for the city schools a few weeks ago and it was AWFUL. When something like that is presented in such a disorganized fashion, it really makes me want to participate even less. So much time and energy could have been saved if there had been simple planning. I find that this is the case most everywhere I go, but being an organizer and someone who is fond of efficiency, I am bound to notice how things can be improved to be more time effective as well as just more effective in general.

Okay, that was the most boring paragraph EVER. I'm quitting now while I'm ahead.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Is it possible?

To love the Food Network Chefs any more than I already do? I don't think so.

Tonight's dinner was

Herb Marinated Loin of Pork

Courtesy of Ina Garten

(Sorry, I may have to post picture later because I accidentally took the picture on my camera's internal memory and not on my card, which I can stick directly into the computer and I don't know where the cord for my camera is since I never need it!)

Grated zest of one lemon
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
2 tbsp minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
3 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb each)
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 tsp salt in a sturdy 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze the air out and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
When you're ready to cook, build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill. Brush the cooking grate with oil to prevent sticking. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that cling to the meat. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. Grill the tenderloins, turning a few times to brown on all sides, for 15-25 minutes (depending on the heat of the coals) until the meat registers 137 degrees at the thickest part. Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be quite pink (it's just fine!) and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter.

I made a few changes... I used dried herbs (bad selection in produce dept!) and I used a George Foreman grill because we live in a tiny apartment and have no real grill. :-(


For dessert (okay and an afternoon snack) I made...

Ellie Krieger's Double-Chocolate Brownies (Almost-Clean Style) From Food Network Magazine

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used dark chocolate morsels)
2 tbsp unsalted butter (I used Country Crock)
1 cup whole grain pastry flour (or 1/2 cup each of whole-wheat and all-purpose flours) *I used 3/4 cup WW and 1/4 AP because my grocery store fails...
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs (I used egg whites)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil (I used applesauce)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350* and coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally; do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
3. Whisk flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and brown sugar until smooth, then add the yogurt, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.
4. Spread the batter in prepared pan and sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan or on a rack before slicing. (OR if you can't wait like ME, cut with a plastic knife... A trick my MIL taught me!)

They are pretty good for not the real thing and definitely satisfy the craving! Very moist!

Dinner RAVE and more

"What's cookin'?", you might ask... Well, I'll tell you.

Ellie Krieger's Crab Cakes and Ina Garten's Confetti Corn, that's what!

Crab Cakes

Courtesy of Ellie Krieger, The Foods You Crave

Cooking Spray
1 large egg, lightly beaten (I used Egg Whites)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Dash of hot sauce
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 scallion (white and green parts), finely chopped
1 lb lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I toast whole wheat bread and then blended them on "Crumb" to make my own!)
1/4 tsp sale
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400*F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix together the egg, mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, hot sauce, and Old Bay. Stir in the bell pepper and scallion. Gently fold in crap, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Put the remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds. Shape each mound into a round and coat evenly with bread crumbs. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and flatten the crap cake to form a patty about an inch high. Spray each crab with a little cooking spray.
Bake until golden on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Gently flip the crap cakes and cook until the second side is golden, 5-10 minutes longer. Serve hot.

She also included a recipe for "Smarter Tartar Sauce," but I opted to make my own sauce for the cakes... I just put equal amounts of honey mustard, dijon mustard, french mustard, and mayo in with a splash of lemon juice, parsley, and basil. It was delish.

The crab cakes did NOT want to stay together AT ALL... but they were VERY tasty anyway!

Confetti Corn

Courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

2 tbsp good olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 small orange bell pepper, 1/2 inch diced
2 tbsp unsalted butter (I used Smart Balance with Flax Oil)
Kernels cut from 5 ears yellow or white corn (I used 2 small packages of frozen Kroger Sweet Corn)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp julienned fresh basil, minced fresh chives, and/or minced fresh parsley (I used less dried basil and parsley as the grocery store I stopped at had a bad selection of herbs on Monday)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the bell pepper and saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Over medium heat, add the corn, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until the corn just loses its starchiness. Season to taste, gently stirring in the basil or other green herbs, and serve hot.

H LOVED this corn, as did I. There was a LOT of it, so we'll have it again with our pork loin and roasted potatoes and veggies tonight. :-) Yum!

Last night, two wonderful things happened.

1.) We FINALLY got cable. HELLO FOOD NETWORK, TRAVEL CHANNEL, LIFETIME, and MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Happiness! It's a SUPER deal with HD, a gajillion channels, AND a DVR!!!!

2.) We did Week 3, Day 1 of C25k and I ran the whole way and then some. This week is: 5 minute brisk walk warmup, 90 second jog, 90 second brisk walk, three minute jog, three minute brisk walk, 90 second jog, 90 second brisk walk, three minute jog, three minute brisk walk, 5 minute brisk walk cool down. We took a wrong turn in my map, so we did an 8 minute cool down walk, and I got a horrendous cramp in my right side AND one of my toenails stabbed its neighboring toe, which was also no fun, but I made it through. No walks on the jog, and I got confused about the times, so the second 3 minute jog was more like a 5 minute jog. :-) It was fun though. I did get scared half to death about 10 minutes in when a dog jumped out of NOWHERE and started barking at us... I totally screamed because it surprised me so much. He might have been right there, but I was focusing on my jog, so I definitely didn't see him. It was actually pretty funny. :-)

TONIGHT is marinated pork loin (it's been marinating since last night at about 5... YUM), roasted potatoes, red bell pepper (left over from crab cakes), and purple onion (left over from confetti corn), and left over confetti corn. YUM. I can't wait and neither can H!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's amazing...

... what a little fresh air and exercise will do for you! I was feeling a little blue this morning, so I said to myself: "Self, why don't you take yourself out for a walk. It's gorgeous outside!" So that's what I did. I walked about 1.75 miles in 25 minutes. I was going to walk 30, but I couldn't think of a creative way to extend my walk for 5 more minutes because I took a new path. I jogged a teeeeeny bit. It also started to get hot and I wore "warmer" clothes... so I was ready to be inside. Oh, and one more excuse... I had a strange dog following me for the last .25 mile or so... Strange in the sense that I didn't know him, not strange in the "weird" sense.

I enjoy the convenience of the Wednesday night suppers at our church, but I am SO excited about the dinners for the rest of the week that I just want to make them already! IMO, the dinners are also a little pricey, but they are good, though not clean, so I guess Wednesday dinner will have to be my exception and I'll just have to be careful!

I have been feeling a whole lot better about myself since starting both the c25k program and clean eating. I don't mind the image the mirror gives me so much anymore. Haha. My clothes still don't fit quite the same, but I'm sure that soon they will fit just fun. For the first time, I feel like I don't have to worry about it and as long as I keep doing what I'm doing and don't overdo anything, I will be fine, dandy, and very happy with my body again. I know everyone says you gain weight when you get married, but since when did that become any sort of excuse for putting on 7 lbs? For the past month, my weight has fluctuated a lot and I've been pretty angry with my Wii Fit for telling me that I weigh what it says I weigh, but I'm just going to roll with it. I only weigh once a week so that daily fluctuations don't get me down, but when I go from 118.5 down to 116.5 back up, then back down, then BACK UP AGAIN every flippin' week... stop... breathe... it's okay. This week I know why it was back up again and next week, it will probably be back down again because I won't be dealing with the same biological issues as this week. Okay... enough of this talk.

Speaking of C25k, I start W3 with H tomorrow and I am neeeervous!!! I mean, I'm gonna do it. I have to do it. I can do it, but it's going to be a challenge. I will definitely have to slow back down for the first day especially. I just have to keep telling myself... I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I've got to be crazy!

I have decided that my ultimate goal is to... run a MARATHON. Whoa. But Jessica, you can't even run. Well, I can't run yet. Today is W2D3 of C25k and my goal for the day is 2.5 miles in the 30 minutes. I've mapped out the course and I really want to do it, so I am going to do something new tonight: really push myself. That's not to say I haven't been pushing in this program, but so far, I've been taking it relatively easy, while still working hard... if that makes sense. Mentally, I know I can step it up a little more because I've been able to complete almost two weeks of training without walking on my runs. I mean, it's been a challenge, but at the same time, I've been able to do it and have felt pretty strong by the end, so why not step it up for the last day of the "week"? I CAN do it. I actually like this!

ANYWAY... Back to this marathon business. This is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever set my mind to. My sister-in-law is a marathon runner. I always thought "that's great, but not for me!" Well, now that I've started on this program, I really want to GO somewhere with it.

My Goal Map

First goal (short term, building goal): Complete the C25k program November 23rd, 2009.
Second goal (short term, culmination goal): Run a 5k in late November/early December 2009.
Third goal (mid term, building goal): Complete a 10k training program by the end of February 2010.
Fourth goal (mid term, culmination goal): Run a 10k in March 2010.
Fifth goal (long term, building goal): Complete a Marathon Mileage Buildup Schedule by the end of July 2010.
Sixth goal (long term, building goal): Complete a Marathon Training Schedule by December of 2010.
Seventh goal (long term, culmination): Complete the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2011.

Holy buckets, I must be crazy. Why would I ever want to do this???

Monday, October 5, 2009

Food Network Magazine's Three Cheese Macaroni

1 large egg (I used 3 tbsp egg beaters)
1 12 oz can evaporated whole milk
Pincg of cayenne pepper (I used cumin because I love the smoky flavour)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 cups grated muenster cheese (I used pepper jack) plus 1 oz for topping
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets  (4 cups)
4 cups medium pasta shells (I used Barilla whole grain)

1. Whisk the egg, evaporated  milk, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Toss the grated cheeses in a separate bowl.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until almost falling apart, about 7 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add the pasta to the same water and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Preheat the broiler.
3. Combine the egg mixture and the grated cheeses in the empty pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheeses melt and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and add the cauliflower. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth and light (you can also use a regular blender). Stir in some of the reserved pasta water until creamy (I did not have to do this).
4. Toss the pasta in the sauce; season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a shallow casserole dish and top with muenster slices. Broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

If made according to the recipe, Per Serving (about 1.5 cups):
Calories: 403
Fat: 17 g (Sat: 10 g)
Cholesterol: 85 mg
Sodium: 517 mg
Carbs: 41 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 20 g

Sorry about the picture. I got excited about eating it... Should have taken the picture before I indulged with DH.

And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly presents...

Your dinner...

Monday/Tuesday: Food Network Magazine's Healthy Mac and Cheese (OKAY not super Clean, but at least I can pronounce the ingredients!)
Wednesday: Church dinner (Meatloaf... guaranteed not to be clean, though I now have an excellent adaptable clean recipe!)
Thursday: Ellie Krieger's Crab Cakes
Friday: Ina Garten's Herb-Marinated Loin of Pork
Saturday: Cilantro Ginger Tilapia

Yummy week ahead. :-) I will definitely be posting any super successful recipes!

Switched Allegiances

I have been blogging on wordpress for a little while now, but now that I have started on this path of clean eating and the c25k program (as inspired by the ladies on the health & fitness board on the Nest), I have found that many of the blogs I like to read from said board are on blogspot, not wordpress. These ladies have such wonderful recipes for clean eating that I just had to have an easy way to follow their food experiments and try them myself. I am so excited about this new lifestyle and knowing others are doing it and succeeding and have such great things to say about it helps so much! So, here's to those nesties, thanks for the blogs; they have inspired me to really commit to this new lifestyle.

That being said, H and I ran W2D2 of the c25k program yesterday afternoon before church and I made it all the way through, despite feeling like death at some points! Haha. I find that the 5th and 6th 90 second runs are the hardest for me, but once I get to the 7th, I feel great. Right now, the 1st and part of the 2nd runs are up a large hill, which is challenging, but it makes me feel all the more accomplished for making it up the hill. The third and fourth runs are usually down a very nice hill, which I appreciate. :-)

I'm still putting together this week's menu, but I got my Food Network Magazine recently and there is a fantastic looking recipe for healthy mac and cheese with cauliflower in it! If I try it out, I will definitely post the recipe. I hope it is as fantastic as it looks. :-) Yesterday, I went to Border's and got two new cookbooks. Ina Garten's Back to Basics and Ellie Krieger's The Foods You Crave (I think that's the title!). H and I looked through Ellie's book last night and it looks faaantastic. There is a turkey recipe that spirals a butterflied breast with the stuffing and I am going to try that one for Christmas since we'll be in Disney World for Thanksgiving (only 50 days till I see my niece... oh, and my brother and sister-in-law).

Speaking of Disney World (one of my many obsessions), my brother and I spent a lot of time talking about our trip and the Disney Vacation Club this weekend while he was in town with my niece (the cutest little 7 month old ever). It would be so wonderful to be able to vacation with friends or family in the same 2 bedroom suite for 5 days or so. The newest resort, Bay Lake Towers (on the Contemporary property), looks fabulous. I've always thought the Contemporary needed a facelift... it's the vision of the future, but from decades ago... But now, Bay Lake has come along and redeemed the Contemporary in my mind. Though, don't get me wrong, I love all things Disney, even the Contemporary. :-)

Scary moment just now: Accidentally closed this tab and lost the post, but then finally found where my drafts were... Phew. Crisis averted.