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. :-)