Sunday, December 12, 2010

Had to make a quick post to say...

I got a JOB! I will be teaching 9th grade English at a school in Charlottesville! I am so excited!! :-)

Our working vacay to the Greenbrier turned into a celebration for me!
Us at the Greenbrier this morning!

Have a great night!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Well, the Christmas tree is up, the presents are bought and wrapped (all but a few), and I think I'm going to go crazy! But first...

I made my first Thanksgiving meal this year, and that was really fun.

The Bird

The Feast
 I made: Mashed Potatoes (olive oil, skim milk, herbs, salt and pepper), Turkey, Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole (recipe), Baked Apples (the one utterly sinful thing I made), and Green Bean Casserole (Mr. Discovery's favourite). My mom made sweet potatoes (she's the only one who eats them), stuffing (her mother's recipe), and the pumpkin pie. :-) It was a great little afternoon of gluttony all around.

So back to the crazy.

Friday morning, Mr. Discovery and I leave for The Greenbrier because he's second shooting on a wedding there, in addition to an engagement session and the rehearsal/dinner. I get to hang around the resort/casino for some amazing times with a girlfriend of mine. SO excited!

We will depart the resort on Sunday for the Lower School Christmas Party! This is pretty much the most fun you can have in a single night!

Thursday, we are co-hosting the Christmas Party for our Sunday School class. I say co-hosting because I'm making the arrangements, but someone else's house is the location. Our class has doubled in the past year, so I just can't accomodate the group at our tiny little apartment. What would I do without wonderful friends who will loan their house out for the evening and let me plan (I LOVE to plan things)!!!

Friday (17th) we head to Baltimore where I will assist Mr. Discovery in photographing a wedding for one of his co-workers. We will spend the whole weekend up there, including our anniversary, which is Monday, the 20th.

From there, we go to Lynchburg to be with Mr. D's family through Christmas, then we'll depart bright and early on the 26th for Charlottesville where I'll FINALLY get to see my precious, precious niece!!!!! :-) I can't wait to see that little one! She's be 21 months old in three days; the time flies too quickly! We'll finally get back into Richmond for the New Year, and then, it's back to reality.

O I say all that to say: If you don't hear from me, I'm terribly sorry. Not that I've been the best blogger in the world, but still... I do like to have a reason for my bad blogging habits!

Half training is going well, but I've had to rearrange a lot of runs because of all the Holiday festivities. I feel guilty for skipping runs early on, and I hope that doesn't come back to bite me in the butt. :-) I've had to do a lot of runs on the treadmill because it's been in the teens and twenties here with the wind chill this week. I hate the treadmill, but I really prefer running after dinner because I feel completely fueled and ready to go.

If I don't post between now and Christmas, a merry, merry Christmas to you all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Half Marathons, Recipes, and Life OH MY!

So, I started half training yesterday. 2.5 miles in 26 minutes. I was mentally preparing for that run all day- making myself get out there. The hardest step is the one out the door.

Well, I've made some pretty yummy things lately.

Spicy Shrimp Fettuccine

  • 9 ounces uncooked whole wheat fettuccine
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1-1/2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  •  2 cups reduced-sodium tomato juice
  •  1/2 cup tomato sauce
  •  1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup white wine or Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, saute garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the shrimp, tomato juice, tomato sauce, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and wine until smooth; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and sauce is thickened.
  3. Drain fettuccine; stir into skillet. Sprinkle with basil just before serving. 
Review: Mr. Discovery was not a fan the first night, but he liked it the second time around. I think the sauce was too thin the first night, but for lunch the next day, it was thicker. I loved it both times.

Favourite Skillet Lasagna

  • 1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed (I used Italian seasoned ground turkey)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jar (14 ounces) spaghetti sauce (I used about 16 oz because that's what I had left in the jar)
  • 2 cups uncooked whole wheat egg noodles (I used about 2.5)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, egg noodles, water and zucchini. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Combine the ricotta, Parmesan and parsley. Drop by tablespoonfuls over pasta mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese; cover and cook 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 5 servings.
Review: I licked the plate. It was that good.

Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette


  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 4 tilapia fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. For vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons basil, olive oil, garlic, capers and lemon peel; set aside 2 tablespoons for sauce. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of fillets with remaining vinaigrette.
  2. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Brush with reserved vinaigrette and sprinkle with remaining basil.
Review: Very good. Next time, I might make a little more of the vinaigrette, because it just didn't feel like there was quite enough of it to go around.

Well, there you go! I hope you find something in there! All of those recipes were from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking.

I've had a lot of subbing lately, which has been lovely. Big paychecks before Christmas! :-) I have today off, so I am finishing up Christmas decorating today before I have an Art class tomorrow and Band classes on Thurs/Fri. And of course HARRY POTTER comes out on Thursday night!!!!!!!! Totally going to the midnight showing.

Hope everyone has a great week!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good day to you!

Hello everyone out there in blogland! So sorry for my absence. I'm just not feeling the blog thing lately- I've not been eating well, I've not been running, and I've just come from the doctor to find that I now weigh the most I have in three years. Awesome. In the past two years, I've gained about 10 pounds. That's not cool. I keep telling myself "After my birthday, I'll start eating better," "After the weekend, I'll start eating better," "After I start training for my half..." and so on. You get the picture. Ugh.

I do start training for my half in two and a half weeks. I still can't believe I am going to try to run 13.1 miles. YIKES. We'll see what happens.

Lately, we've been working with the children at church for the upcoming Christmas musical. Can you believe Christmas is not even two months away? I can't. Haha. It's a crazy time, but they are so cute and we have a lot of fun with the little ones. I've also started helping a great lady with the organization of Operation Christmas Child at my church. Instead of having people fill boxes and then bring them in, we are having people bring in a lot of stuff and then the women of our church are having a salad dinner and box packing party in November to get the presents ready for the kids overseas!

No recipes today... Like I said, I've not been on my game lately... It's been pretty bad around the Discovery household. Sorry blogland!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


You'll never guess what I did.

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I registered for my first HALF MARATHON!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three Weeks!?!?!?

This is my life as I now know it (and LOVE it):

Crossley and me!
JCREW! (Some of us)
Our group of kids at the Middle School Retreat
Danielle and me at the Middle School retreat!
Change Matters!
Rebi and me at Homecoming!
This girl is awesome! She was one of my brother's youth way out in Texas! :-)
Friends! So good to see Mark and John!
Clean Eating Mag's Country Fried Steak with Rustic Mashed Potatoes
Mexican Casserole
Chicken Chili
As you can see, the Discovery household has been pretty busy! This past weekend, we went on a Middle School Retreat with 20-something of the best 6th, 7th, and 8th graders EVER! It was a great weekend. Mr. Discovery and I were able to sneak away on Saturday afternoon to go to our Alma Mater's homecoming football game, which was really fun. I mean, what could be better than lunch at Macado's, touring all the new and cool stuff they've put on campus, and seeing friends who we haven't seen in forever?

This weekend, Mr. Discovery (you like my new names for our little family unit?) will be photographing a wedding at the Greenbrier. Oh, but it's not just ANYONE'S wedding. It's the CEO of the Greenbrier. Um... yeah. That's pretty stinking amazing. Haha.

Now that work is back in full swing (well as "full swing" as I can manage), I have a new-found love for slowcooker recipes and casseroles. Actually, I've always loved casseroles, but I have only recently discovered the glory of the slowcooker. :-) I might have to create a new tradition, like "Slow Cooker Sundays" or something. :-) The mexican casserole above was really, really good, even though I accidently left out an ingredient! Haha. The chicken-fried steak was a remake, but I still am not thrilled with this recipe. I mean, it's good, but nothing beats the deep fried goodness that is Texas Roadhouse's chicken fried steak. The chicken chili was OK yesterday straight out of the crockpot, but it was great reheated. It thickened up overnight and really improved, though the chicken was a little dry. I feel like this recipe emulates Bruswick Stew, which is my favourite, but it just wasn't quite the same... Perhaps that's why I didn't care for it as much the first night.

I took TWO weeks off from running, which was a big mistake. I ran 2.75 miles yesterday, but I'm so ashamed of my time that I will not be sharing that with you. I took a 2 minute walk break halfway through, but yeah... It was abyssmal. I felt newly motivated by all the Nesties who just finished their MARATHONS!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"'Sup?" "Not Much..."

Any particular reason why I haven't posted many recipes lately? Well, I'm going to pass blame on to someone else. Actually, something else.

The dishwasher in our apartment.

And, what, you may ask, does the dishwasher have to do with my cooking lull? Well, I'll not only tell you, I'll show you.

Okay, so maybe you can't tell, but our cheap dishwasher stops working (right where the knob is stopped in the first picture) and a bunch of stinky, dirty dishwater is left in the bottom of my dishwasher. It also likes to emit a scent that is reminiscent of despair. Also known as a burned out motor.

We have asked maintenance to correct this problem three times now. They have finally decided to replace the dishwasher. NEXT WEEK. I. hate. dishes. HATE. Like, I even hate loading and unloading the dishes, but now I have to hand wash my dishes, which I have done enough in my lifetime. Ugh. I'd rather vacuum, dust, make the bed, wash the floors, and do laundry than hand wash ALL of our dishes.

Anyway, all these dirty dishes that seem to be constantly piled up on my counter because maintenance has failed to correct the problem three times now have kind of put a damper on my desire to cook in my kitchen. So there you have it. Tonight I am making a delicious little Disney World Recipe from the Polynesian Resort that you'll have to look for, but don't be surprised if you see it plated on paper plates... so I don't have to do as many dishes later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I am ashamed...

I've been a bad blogger. Really when have I been a good blogger? ;-) I've been cooking a lot of fun meals lately, but I've been apathetic about photographing my meals. I do have a few recipes for you all, though.

Not a whole lot has been happening around the house lately. DH hasn't had as many weddings to photograph this fall, which has been nice because it means we can spend more lazy weekends around the apartment. One miracle is that I've been a little better about staying on top of the chores around the house, which is nice. Now our dishwasher's being annoying, so we'll have to get one of the maintenance people out here to fix it. I cook too much not to have a working dishwasher.

We recently had the fall kickoff for our Youth Ministry at church, which was awesome. I am so looking forward to the things that God will do this year in our Lower (and Upper) School Ministry! A few favourite photos...

One of my favourite friends ever!

Two beautiful girls in my lifegroup!

Gonna miss these girls! (They are going up to Upper School) :-(

Two more girls in my lifegroup doing motions for Mercy is Falling

Worship led by Aaron and Jordan (and others)

I haven't been able to get in much substitute teaching so far this year, so I spend most of my days watching country music videos, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy, planning meals, and playing games on the internet. Oh what an exciting life I lead. I made a commitment to start running for real when September hit and I've been good so far about getting to the gym or on the road (it all depends on the weather). I've run just over 13 miles so far this month, which is not amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but it's pretty darn good for me just starting out again. I plan on doing at least 3 miles tonight on the treadmill (it's a hot one today).

Anyway... Some eats...

Basil Chicken in a Coconut-Curry Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 16 oz chicken breast
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 of a large red onion, cut into thin wedges (1 cup)
  • 2 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 13.5- or 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, low fat fine
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 4 servings hot cooked rice

  1. In a medium bowl combine curry powder, black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the chili powder. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Add to spice mixture in bowl; toss to coat. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours to allow spices to penetrate meat. 
  2. Spray oil into a wok or large nonstick skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Add onion, jalapeno peppers, and garlic to wok; cook and stir about 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove onion mixture from wok. Add half of the chicken to wok. Cook and stir for 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from wok. Repeat with remaining chicken. (I have a huge wok, so I cooked it all at once)
  3. Stir together coconut milk, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Carefully add to wok. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Return chicken and the onion mixture to wok. Stir in basil and ginger. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve over hot rice. Makes 4 servings.

Review: More like Curry Chicken in Coconut-Basil Sauce, but you can't taste the sweetness of the coconut... or the basil. Maybe my curry is too spicy. I still LOVED the recipe though. It was DELICIOUS. I can't wait to eat the leftovers in a couple of minutes.

Beef and Chipotle Burritos

no photo available

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless beef round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small)
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 9- to 10-inch tomato-flavored or plain flour tortillas, warmed
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
  • 1 recipe Pico de Gallo Salsa
  • Shredded jicama or radishes (optional)
  • Dairy sour cream (optional)

  1. Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 6 pieces. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker place meat, undrained tomatoes, onion, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, and garlic.
  2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Remove meat from cooker. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds. Place meat in a large bowl. Stir in enough cooking liquid to reach desired consistency. Divide meat among warm tortillas, spooning it just below the centers. Top with cheese, Pico de Gallo Salsa, and, if desired, jicama and sour cream. Roll up tortillas. Makes 6 servings.
Pico de Gallo Salsa: In a medium bowl combine 2 finely chopped medium tomatoes; 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion; 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro; 1 fresh serrano chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (see tip); and dash sugar. Cover; chill several hours.

Review: This was my second attempt at a slow-cooker meal after a miserable fail about a year ago. I LOVE this recipe. This will have to be a regular recipe. It was SO good. Very spicy, but not too spicy. We didn't use the jicama or the sour cream. It was sooooooooo good though. Yum.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


We are two-thirds of the way through this year, already! That is SO hard to believe.

I spend the "summer" (who really considers September summer?) doing my own little challenge. It was called the Sans Soda Summer. I went three months without soda. This was one of my 101 in 1001, though according to the list, I was not required to make the three months consecutive, so I feel even cooler that I did make them consecutive. So... this was a good challenge. Most of the time, I didn't really feel the desire to have soda, but there were a few times when I could have really enjoyed a good ol' Boylan Black Cherry soda. I mean, I like soda, it's good, but I've never been "addicted" to it. Before I did this, I had a soda maybe every 10 days or so. I plan on keeping the habit up, but I will probably indulge in sodas like Boylan or Curiosity Cola, not Coke or Barq's.

So... the eats.

Flank Steak Rollup, Clean Eating Magazine

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 cups whole-wheat panko
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 flank steak about a pound, trimmed of visible fat
  • 3 oz spinach leaves
  • kitchen string or skewers
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange a rack in a baking dish and coat with cooking spray
  2. In a small bowl, combine panko, nuts, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes. Set aside.
  3.  Place steak on a work surface. Holding a sharp knife, parallel to the work surface and positioned along 1 of the longer sides, cut the steak almost in half horizontally so it opens like a book. Spread steak open with “spine of book” parallel to you.
  4. Sprinkle panko mixture over steak leaving a one inch border along the farthest edge. Arrange spinach on top. Beginning with the closest edge roll steak up, gently pressing down on the spinach. Tie up with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals. Place steak in prepared pan and bake unto the meat thermometer reads 150 for medium and 130 for rare. Remove from oven, transfer to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil to rest 10 mins.
  5. Remove foil and string and carefully cut steak crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Serve drizzled with any juices that accumulated on the cutting board.


Homemade Pizza

I used my normal pizza dough recipe, and then I added red and green peppers, onions, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and some Jennie-O's Hot Italian Turkey Sausage that I removed from the casings and then cooked in my cast iron skillet.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers, Elly Says Opa


  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 4 slices mozzarella or provolone (or 1/2 cup shredded)
  • sauteed mushrooms (optional)
  • 4 buns (brushed with a little garlic butter, they are even better)
  1. Lightly mix together all the ingredients for the burgers. Form into 4 patties. I like to make them about 30-40 minutes ahead of time, to let the flavors meld a little bit.
  2. Preheat & spray the broiler with a little oil (or use the grill, or a pan). Broil the burgers for about 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and broil for 3 minutes. Top each chicken burger with 2 Tbsp. pasta sauce and a slice (or about 2T) of cheese. Place back under the broiler for 30-60 seconds, until cheese in melted and burger is cooked through. Top with mushrooms, if desired. Place the buns in the broiler for about 10 seconds, just until toasted.
I actually sauteed the mushrooms, then melted the cheese over them, then topped the burgers with the mushroom/cheese mixture, then added heated sauce to the tops of the burgers.

In other news, I tried my first green monster. It looked gross (thus no photos), but tasted delicious.

The recipe I used:
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Two handfuls of spinach
  • Ice to make smoothie of good consistency (10 for me)

 I enjoyed it thoroughly! :-) Well, I think I am going to go off to the gym... time to get some running done. It's September and it's time to run!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wow! 101 posts!

My last post was my 100th post! How cool (and appropriate that it was about Disney)!

I apologize for the lack in posts lately. DH's car gave us a LOT of trouble last week and $1250 later, it is almost all better. Sigh.

We've had some good eats lately, I tell you what.

Cajun Jambalaya, Clean Eating Magazine

  • 1/2 lb raw shrimp, 26/30 size, peeled and deveined, tail on
  • 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 all natural low sodium turkey sausage (I used two Jennie O's links), sliced
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 med green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and discarded, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt-free Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup all-natural instant brown rice
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 400* F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together all ingredients except cooking spray, mixing well until combined.
  3. Prepare 2 foil pouches. Spray each piece of foil with cooking spray. Divide mixture evenly between both pieces of foil and seal.
  4. Place pouches on a baking tray and slide onto middle rack of preheated oven for 25 minutes or until rice and proteins are fully cooked.
  5. Carefully open pouch and pour mixture into a large bowl to serve immediately.

Modifications: I don't actually own Cajun seasoning, so I made my own. I also added some red pepper flakes and used rice that was already cooked in my rice maker. My shrimp were not peeled, because unpeeled shrimp are cheaper.

The Verdict: I loved this dish! I thought it was delicious! I think DH enjoyed it too.

Sweet and Sour Chicken, Clean Eating Magazine

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more...)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (I added)
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 1 inch cubes (I omitted)
  • 12 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  1. In a small bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Place the chicken in a large shallow dish. Pour mixture over chicken, tossing gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. Add chicken and marinade and saute for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add bell peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add pineapple (if using) and cook for 2 more minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over rice for a complete meal, if desired.

Verdict: I LOVED THIS DISH. DH was okay with it. He wanted more sweet taste and a little more spice. When I make it again, I will add more spice for sure. I'll also experiment with other veggies, like broccoli, water chestnuts, et cetera.

I made another dish from Clean Eating Magazine this week, but it was a fail. Big time. It ranked in the bottom three meals ever. The worst was moussaka, next is the Tuna Nicoise Stovetop Casserole. I made cabbage wraps. The filling was good, which is why I'm glad I reserved some of that for lunches this week, because it made a good little burrito today; especially when paired with my homemade baked tortilla chips and Tom Leonard's FIRE salsa (I love the spice!).

In other news: I've been running TWICE since the last post!

Last Thursday I did four five minute runs broken up by 2 minute walk breaks. It went pretty well. Today I did a five minute run, two eight minute runs, and another five minute run broken up with 2 minute walk breaks. I did 2.75 miles in 32 minutes, which is pretty decent.I haven't had any knee pain yet, which is really nice, but I have been having pain around my rib cage where the shelf bra and sports bra end. Perhaps they are too tight, but it really hurts after a while. We'll see what happens. I hope everyone's having a lovely day and that you enjoy these recipes!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010



Let me clarify.

When I say I feel homesick, I don't mean for my hometown. I mean that I am pining to be in my favourite place in the world. I'm talking about... the World.

Walt Disney World!

My obsession with this wonderful, magical place began eight years ago last month. A family trip to celebrate my brother's graduation from college sparked one of the biggest passions (and expenses!) in my life.

I know that many people have many varied thoughts on Disney and all that it does, but I love it. I love being immersed in a completely different world. I love the theming and how everything in the World fits into whatever theme you happen to be experiencing at the time: even the trash cans! There is no other place that makes me feel like Walt Disney World. It's almost indescribable.

There are many ways to deal with Disney World homesickness. Some of these "solutions" include the Passporter Boards, different Disney Blogs, as well as Disney radio. I'm not talking about the Disney Radio that plays Hannah Montana/Jo Bros. I'm talking about an online radio station that plays music from the parks, resorts, cruise line, et cetera. Unfortunately, sometimes these pacifications can have the adverse effect. They can make you miss it even more. Right now, I am in the midst of an internal struggle. I smile as I listen to Illumnations via my Live365 radio station, but it brings about a lovely nostalgia, that then slowly, but almost always surely turns into a deep longing to not only hear the music, but to see the Spaceship Earth from the International Gateway at EPCOT, to smell the cinnamon and sugar pecans and roast turkey legs, to feel the mist coming off the giant water features of Fantasmic at Disney Hollywood Studios, and surely to taste that first bite of a Mickey bar...

I know I shall go back again, but not knowing when can be hard. Haha. I know this seems silly, but this is my literal happy place and my comfort. DH does not fully understand the true satisfaction and joy brought to me by this magical world... though my whole family is hoping that one day he will!

Alas... for now the boards, blogs, and music shall have to suffice.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So easy...

Well, Monday I opened my door to see a plethora of mail strewn about our stoop because it wouldn't all fit in our tiny and ineffectual mailbox. Included in this mail was a new Cricut cartridge, a new lens hood for DH's beloved camera, and...

Photo credit (also a link to subscribe!)

I have a slight love affair with Food Network so, when they came out with a magazine, I subscribed. For three years (it was only $30 for three years since the mag was so new!). Well anyway, this little beauty shows up and I look at the cover and say to myself "Self, this is what you are making for dinner." So I did just that.

I've decided that you can mix corn with pretty much any other veggies and it'll be delicious. The recipe is a succotash (always makes me think of Sylvester from Looney Toons), but I didn't have lima beans (nor does DH like them), so I don't know if this qualifies anymore.

Ingredients for my "succotash"

2 cups corn
1 cup cherry tomatoes (I think grape would be better)
1 medium yellow squash diced into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in pan and cook until squash is tender and begins to brown.

The other dish was a cheese stuffed chicken. The mag's was Pepper-jack Chicken. Don't get me wrong, I like Pepper-jack, and my husband LOVES it, so I made his with PJ, but I also had some goat cheese and dill that I was dying to use up before expiration, so I made myself...

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast with Dill

1 oz goat cheese
1 tsp dill
1 4 oz chicken breast
Cajun seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil for brushing

Mix goat cheese with dill. Cut a two-inch wide pocket in breast and stuff pocket with cheese mixture. Sprinkle with Cajun spices, salt, and pepper then brush with olive oil. Place on preheated grill until cooked through.

This was amazing. I made the same for DH but used PJ instead of goat cheese and dill. He said it was one of the best chicken dishes I've made... and it's not even that fancy or creative! Sorry for the lack of photographs. DH's camera battery was dead. :-( With this dinner, I also made Omaha Steak's twice-baked potatoes. Nowhere near clean eating, but SUPER delicious!


I had substitute orientation today with the school for which I had the English teacher position interview. They filled all but one class internally and then hired someone with coaching experience for the last one. If only I'd played sports in high school. I'd love to coach! (First I'd have to get back in shape!) Oh well. There's a new job opportunity in sight, but it's low on the possibilities totum pole, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up. At least the HR rep at this school said to each one of the heads of schools (lower, middle, upper) that she wanted to use me a lot. It helps that I live extremely close to the school and that I'm awesome.

Well, it is currently monsooning outside (which we desperately need) and I am currently being told by my stomach that it is hungry (which it shouldn't be). I hope all two people who read this have a lovely day!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Recipes and an update on a post from long ago!

Two more recipes from Real Simple Magazine...
Grilled Shrimp with Lemony Potato Salad

1 pound baby red potatoes (about 12)
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 pound asparagus (Pre-trimmed weight)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds medium shell-on shrimp
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)


1.Place the potatoes in a medium pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and cut into quarters.

2.In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the potatoes, celery, and chives and toss to combine.

3.Meanwhile, heat grill to medium-high. In a bowl, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a second bowl, toss the shrimp with the seafood seasoning and the remaining tablespoon of oil.

4.Grill the asparagus, turning occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Grill the shrimp until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve the shrimp and asparagus with the potato salad.
Review: WOW. This is a keeper. I mean, okay... the shrimp and asparagus are nothing fancy as far as prep is concerned, but the grilling brought out such great flavours! I only used 1 lb of shrimp, so DH and I ate... all the shrimp... Also, the original recipe calls for a 1/2 lb of asparagus, trimmed (I assume that means that it should be 1/2 lb after you trim...) for four people. Um... Yeah right. I bought a whole pound (pre-trim), which I assume works out to a bit above 1/2 lb trimmed, and we ate all the asparagus with no problem. In fact, I wanted more. Haha. This was my first time making potato salad and I loved it. Especially the second day!
Salmon with Dill Sauce
Photo by Romulo Yanes for Real Simple
(because mine was not photogenic)

Directions (Ingredients in bold)

1.Season 4 6-ounce pieces skinless salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Cook in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until opaque, 5 to 6 minutes per side.

2.Mix ½ cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons each lemon juice, chopped capers, and chopped dill; season with salt and pepper.

3.Serve the salmon with a vegetable of choice. (I chose steamed zucchini and Annie's Organic Macaroni and Cheese)
Review: This recipe was good: not okay, but not great. It was just somewhere in the middle. Also, I forgot to save a lemon for the sauce, so... that could have some bearing on the quality. It was missing some brightness, I will say. I like the Lee Bros.'s Salmon with Buttermilk Mint Sauce recipe better, which feels like blasphemy since I LOVE dill.

So... many a moon ago... 10 months to the day, in fact... I posted this blog about wanting to run a marathon. Well, amazingly, I have completed the first four goals that I wrote out for myself. Unfortunately, the other goals will have to be rewritten. I actually feel really good about having completed four of the seven goals. For me to have run a 10k is such an accomplishment, considering where I used to be with running. Unfortunately, I am almost back at square one again. I'm hoping that once I actually start running again, my legs will remember with some re-training, but having taken three months off... I don't know. Like I said in a post a few days ago, I went running with my sister-in-law in Texas and about died after a mile. So, it is now time to set new goals because I really do miss running (NEVER thought I'd say that!).

  • I really want to run a 5k. I thought my alma mater was having one for homecoming in 2 months, but I can't find any info on it, so they must not be having one this year.
  • I really want to run a half marathon sometime in the early Spring.
  • I really want to run the Ukrop's 10k again on April 2, 2011.

That's it for now. If I can make it through those three goals, then I will reassess and see if a marathon is really what I want to do. I still think it would be a wonderful, amazing, unbelievable accomplishment, especially for me, the girl who dreaded (unhealthily) running the mile in gym class in elementary, middle, and high school. We'll see and I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cajun Skirt Steak with Creamed Corn

accompanied by a delicious salad and homemade balsamic vinaigrette!

FYI: The steak and corn recipes are from Real Simple Magazine. I love that magazine!

Um... Yum? Yes. Yum.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, chopped

4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 8 ears)

1 cup half-and-half

kosher salt and black pepper

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 2 pieces

2 teaspoons blackening or Cajun seasoning
1.Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the corn, half-and-half, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and simmer until the corn is tender and the half-and-half is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, heat broiler. Season the steak with the blackening seasoning and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place on a broilerproof rimmed baking sheet and broil for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
In my salad, I used Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, chopped pecans, goat cheese, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette (1/2 tbsp EVOO, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, small garlic clove pressed through a garlic press, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, and a pinch of sucanat).
I really didn't feel like cooking tonight, since DH has to work late this week. I put together the salad, thinking that that was all I was going to have, but then I realised that there wasn't much to the salad because I didn't chop enough romaine, so I decided to stick to the meal plan, despite DH's absence. That way he can have super leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
I've put my new cricut to work today, experimenting with my cartridges. I also consumed 3/4 of a bag of chocolate Quakes. Oops. My other eats for the day: Whole wheat bagel with LF honey-almond cream cheese and a bean burrito (whole wheat tortilla, black beans, salsa, 1/2 serving Mexican cheese). :-)
I am currently watching The Sandlot. I LOVED this movie when I was younger. Well, I'm off to scrapbook some more... or just play with my cricut, since I'm mostly just cutting stuff out for fun! :-) Have a good night!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy August!

We spent this past weekend in Lynchburg for a wedding, which was so fun. It was such a joy to see our college friends again, especially since so many of them live so far away!
Us in our attire for the wedding

Having been out of town for soooo long, I've not been able to cook very much, but I will post some food pictures that I have from a bit ago!

Caribbean Catfish Po'Boys with a Greek Yogurt/Goat Cheese Spread 
(Clean Eating Magazine)

Me consuming said Po'Boy

Honey Mustard Chicken with Kale and Red Pepper Rice
(Clean Eating Mag)

This week, I have some very delicious recipes all ready to go! :-)

So... I haven't exercised in a thousand years... Until last week. I ran with my sister-in-law in Texas... more like I dragged myself across the pavement... I got through a slow mile, then decided that I was going to die. Haha. I would really like to get back into it now. My university has a 5k set for Homecoming, and I'd really like to do it!

In other news... I GOT A CRICUT! SUPER FUN shall ensue! :-)

If you desire the recipe for either of these foods, I will gladly post them, but I'm not in the mood to type them up right now. Haha. :-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Well hello there!

It's been a regretably long time since I've given any of you something to read. I am going to do a full blown post soon, but I'll just give you the run down of why I've been silent for so long.

1. Weddings! We are either attending or photographing weddings every weekend this summer (minus two, which are gone already!)

DH and me at the Homestead for a wedding that DH was shooting.

The Homestead... aka my favourite place second only to Disney.
(No, this is not a promo pic, DH took this)

Our friends leaving their wedding in VA Beach. (DH will hate that I put up these raw images!)

2. Youth Ministry Trip. I chaperoned a team of 22 6th and 7th graders on a trip to Louisa, VA for ImpactVA! It was crazy awesome.

Our church group at Lake Anna

My group put new skirting and a cool seal on a trailer, as well as helped build a deck and ramp on another.

The new skirting

Our group was called the Finishing Touches and it just so happened
that a church in the area was doing a sermon with the same name!

3. TEXAS. I HAD to go see this little one (my niece)
We just finished swimming in the fishy pool/playing Bocce Ball

My fave shot from the photo shoot DH did for my brother's little family. :-)

I have recipes and stories for later, but that's what I've been up to for the past three weeks!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fun kitchen experiments

Homemade Granola Bars courtesy of Alton Brown


8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup (I used slivered)
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3-3 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of cranberries, cherries or blueberries (recipe calls for 6.5, but I thought that was a lot)


Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week

Husband Review: Very, very, very good, and tasty.
Husband's Coworker's Review: If they each cost 3 cents to make, I'll give you 10 cents for one!

Homemade Crispy Brown Rice Bars courtesy of Alton Brown

3 ounces puffed brown rice, approximately 6 cups
3 tablespoons flax seed oil, plus extra for the pan
1 tablespoon orange blossom honey
7 ounces mini marshmallows, approximately 4 cups
3 ounces toasted slivered almonds, approximately 3/4 cup
1 1/2 ounces coarsely chopped dried cranberries, approximately 1/3 cup
1 1/2 ounces coarsely chopped dried cherries, approximately 1/3 cup
1-ounce dried blueberries, approximately 1/3 cup
*I added 1 oz (or more) of dark chocolate chips and combined in the big mix-in. Tasty.


Lightly coat the inside of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch metal pan with oil and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Spread the brown puffed rice evenly on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the rice is toasting, prepare the marshmallow mixture.

Place the oil, honey, and marshmallows in a large mixing bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Stir until the marshmallows are melted, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Once the marshmallows are melted, quickly add the toasted brown rice, almonds, and fruit and stir to combine. Coat your hands or a spatula with oil and spread the mixture evenly into the pan. Once the mixture has cooled completely, cut into squares and store in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days.

Husband Review: Very yummy!
My Review: A little too fruity for me, but I am not a huge fan of dried fruit in large quantities. Also, it tastes better than it looks. I'm too lazy to get a better photo!

Spicy Southern Barbeque Buffalo Burgers


1 lb ground bison
3/4 cup barbeque sauce (I used the delicious local barbeque sauce we picked up on our vacation to Pickens, SC) DIVIDED
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp barbeque seasoning
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Assorted mushrooms for 4 burgers (I used cremini, oyster, and shiitake), sliced
Slices of onions for 4 burgers
Baby Spinach
Plum Tomatoes
Cheese slices of choice
Arnold's 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins


Combine 1/4 cup barbeque sauce, ground meet, pepper, pepper flakes, and seasoning in a bowl. Shape mixture into four equal patties. Grill burgers until desired done-ness.

While burgers are cooking, heat oil in a skillet, add onions and mushrooms and cook until soft and browned. Add remaining barbeque sauce and heat, combining the ingredients.

About 1 minute before burgers are done, place portions of mushroom/onions/sauce and cheese on top of burgers, allow to melt, then place on buns/Thins with spinach and tomatoes.

Husband review: These taste like restaurant burgers!

Asian Infused Pork Chops with Asian Veggies

Sorry, no recipe for this one... I forgot what I put in this recipe. It was really good though. The veggies included water chestnuts, broccoli, four colors of bell peppers on brown rice, pork loin chops marinated in soy sauce, ground ginger, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, then breaded in whole wheat flour, egg, then panko and cooked in olive oil cooking spray in a cast iron skillet.