Tag Archives: healthy eating

WIAW – a new schedule

Another day of eats coming your way. Don’t forget to head over to Peas and Crayons to see the entire link up!

Now that we are back from a little vacation in North Carolina and California, it’s time to settle into my new summer schedule. As you may remember, I made a big announcement that I was leaving my job to pursue a Masters in Social Work. I am really thrilled about this next step 🙂 I have a number of tasks for this summer prior to starting school full time. I am supplementing my time prepping for school with a number of exciting side projects that are a bit more “social work-y” (yeah I’m just gonna own that word) in nature. Here’s what my new schedule is like…

Like every good Tuesday, I started the morning with a cardio warm up and an AM session with my trainer. We were both traveling last week so we haven’t worked out together in two weeks! He definitely brought the pain  with a killer lower body workout. I was positively dripping sweat by the end of our session. I headed home to shower and enjoyed a breakfast of iced coffee with 2% milk and overnight oats in a jar! I finally finished my jar of sunflower butter (must get more ASAP I love it) so I made overnight oats with strawberry yogurt, oats, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, and raisins. So delicious and super filling. I had a really busy morning ahead so I didn’t want to get hungry!

P1000569

My project kept me out of the house until 2 pm! By the time I got home I was positively famished. I reheated a homemade black bean burger (recipe post coming for these because OMG they were so good) on a toasted english muffin with a slice of gouda cheese. I wanted some veggies on the side so I cut up some celery sticks. As a little treat, I turned three of them into “ants on a log” with peanut butter and golden raisins. I guess the golden raisins make them less ant like but that’s what we had open. They were DELICIOUS.

P1000570

I spent the rest of the afternoon working at home and taking a few phone calls. Suddenly I was totally in the mood to workout again! I am definitely enjoying the increased freedom of my new schedule so I decided to attend a 5:30 boot camp class at my gym I had never been able to get to before! Before heading out, I ate a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with almond milk. Glad I had it because boot camp was amazing and TOUGH. I don’t normally or always workout twice a day, but I love to exercise so I just do what I feel like doing!

P1000571

After gym round two, I came back home to work some more until Mike got home from work. We ran out to CVS to pick up some eggs / bread that I needed for our planned dinner. Totally impulse purchased a 99 cent pack of “Red Fish” because I was getting SUPER hungry. They were not as good as the real thing but for 99 cents I wasn’t too upset about it.

P1000572

With all the proper supplies in hand, I set to work making a frittata for dinner. I wrote a post about frittatas a while ago with more information. This one included eggs (duh), red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, yellow onion, shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and basil. Topped with some sliced avocado and served with a slice of sourdough toast. This dinner totally hit the spot! If you haven’t tried sliced avocado on your eggs before I highly recommend it!

P1000574

After dinner I wasn’t feel super hungry for a snack but I was having a little bit of a sweet craving. I realized I hadn’t had much fruit so I snacked on a gala apple. It was just ok… not the crispest apple ever. But that’s ok 🙂

P1000575

Questions for you guys:

  • What are your favorite ingredients to include in a frittata?
  • Favorite fruit? 
Advertisements

WIAW – a little lighter

Source

Sometimes after a really indulgent weekend, I can’t wait to have a day packed full of veggies, water, and slightly on the lighter side. Life is about balance, and this mother’s day weekend was wonderfully indulgent 🙂 Monday morning started bright at early with a 5 mile run in the brisk morning air. I’m really over 40 degree mornings here.. what the hell? Well actually, Monday started by chasing Little Mac around the apartment (have I mentioned how much Little Mac HATES to be picked up and he gets very suspicious if you try to touch him too much), trapping / swaddling him in a bath towel, and using a pair of scissors to cut a giant clump of cat poop out of his fluffy tail. All while Little Mac is howling and crying like we’re murdering him, and Fig is hiding under the bed crying because he loves Little Mac so much. These are the joys are pet ownership my friends. But I finally got out the door for my run! Upon arriving home, I made my standard glass of iced coffee with 1% chocolate milk. Delicious.

photo 1 (2)

I took my coffee into the bedroom, turned on the news, and stretched out. Fig is always really snuggly but for some reason when I get back from working out in the morning he is especially so. This is how we stretch…

photo 2 (2)

Breakfast was my favorite smoothie… frozen bananas (2), chocolate protein powder, scoop of peanut butter, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a TON of fresh spinach.

photo 3 (2)

I enjoyed it at my desk as usual with my vitamins and some water.

photo 4 (2)

Lunch today was a lightened up pasta salad I made on Sunday night. Included were multicolor pasta, a ton of zucchini, red bell pepper, tofu cubes, seasoning, and some Trader Joe’s Goddess salad dressing. It was DELICIOUS.

photo 1 (3)

I went with a couple smaller snacks throughout the afternoon including a really ripe banana (I love them when they’re this ripeness… the best) and a cup of decaf coffee. I’m trying to be mindful of my caffeine intake. I noticed that other day that I had a really ridiculous amount so I’m trying to decide when I feel like I actually want caffeine, or when I just want a warm cup of coffee.

photo 5 (1)

Also a mango flavored Trader Joe’s greek yogurt before I left work. I’m a fan of the very end of the day snack… that way I’m not cranky on the metro or starving when I walk in the door.

photo 2 (3)

I took the metro out to my brother’s apartment and met up with my mom for my FINAL wedding dress appointment. This has been kind of a crazy nightmare getting this one additional style into the store for me to try on. But finally… after three months of shopping and trying on legitimately over 30 wedding dresses… WE GOT THE DRESS!! Woo woo! Super exciting. To celebrate we went to the Cheesecake Factory for a glass of wine and some dinner. Unfortunately, it was like pitch black in the restaurant and I wasn’t about to be that girl taking flash photos of her dinner in a dark restaurant. I had a glass of Reisling and the “SkinnyLicious” Mexican Tortilla Salad. I can’t even bring myself to actually say the word “Skinnylicious” out loud because it is so embarrassing. I appreciate the lightened up menu but that name is ridiculous. I found this picture online so I’m borrowing it. I don’t know if I honestly believe the nutrition stats on this salad because it was way too delicious (and had way too many delicious things in it) to be 540 calories. But whatever, it’s what I wanted to eat so I ate it… no big deal.

Source

That was all from me on Monday!

Questions for you guys:

  • Do you like restaurants that have a “healthy section” of the menu?
  • How many wedding dresses did you try on total?
  • Any hilarious pet stories to share?

WIAW – low on groceries

It’s time again for What I Ate Wednesday! This week is a Tuesday’s worth of eats but I really need to stop doing this on days when we are tragically low on groceries. I’m a meticulous grocery shopper / meal planner. 99% of what I buy each week is fresh food (produce, meat, and dairy) with only minimal pantry supplies. I find it’s the best way to stay on budget, eat whole / healthy foods, and never have to throw anything away (wasting food makes my soul hurt). Therefore, by the time the end of the week comes, we are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Here’s what a Tuesday looks like when we desperately need a trip to Trader Joe’s.

Source

Tuesday started like every Tuesday starts for me… with a session with my trainer. My legs were still not 100% recovered from Sunday’s Broad Street Run so he graciously agreed we could do upper body and I would do my lower body on my own later in the week. Of course, he decided to absolutely kill me during our session… but that’s why I pay him, right?

photo 1

I wanted nothing more than a delicious fruit smoothie for breakfast, but sadly we are out of frozen bananas (smoothie disaster). In the mix was frozen pineapple, frozen mango, frozen blueberries, soy milk, chocolate protein powder, flax seed, and unsweetened cocoa powder. I finished off the soy milk and I could’ve used a LITTLE more. My smoothie was a little too thick, but that’s ok 🙂 I had a couple spoonfuls to tide me over and enjoyed the rest at my desk at work. Unpictures – cup of coffee and my vitamins, standard.

photo 2

Mid-morning I got a little hungry so I snacked on a mini-Luna bar I had stashed at my desk.

photo 3

I had this really awkward and LONG meeting at work. I wasn’t super hungry before the meeting but didn’t want to get hungry in the middle of it (since it was super long). I decided to split my lunch up into two parts. I was craving a veggie-ful salad so I grabbed a small one from the salad bar place across the street. I almost never eat there because they’re STUPID expensive (the pay by the weight places always are) but I made an exception and kept my salad simple.

photo 4
After the meeting was over, I was definitely hungry again for a little more lunch. I broke into a Diet Dr. Pepper that I brought as a “I have a 3 hour meeting today” treat. I also ate the most bizarre sandwich that tasted amazing. Two slices of Ezekial bread, a touch of wasabi mayo, a Trader Joe’s chili lime chicken burger, black beans, and a slice of gouda cheese. This was a completely random assortment of items and flavors we had in the refrigerator that ended up being delicious. Super score.

photo 5photo 1 (1)

On my way out of the office, I snacked on ye another mini granola bar. Apparently that’s a theme today? Got this one for free at the Broad Street expo… it was just ok. Mike and I had a meeting with our wedding coordinator last night and I knew we wouldn’t be eating dinner until late. This was a meek attempt to tide myself over.

photo 2 (1)

Our meeting ended up lasting a little longer than I thought because I had 100 million questions. Afterwards, we went right to Trader Joe’s to grocery shop, but of course at this point we were both starving. I don’t like grocery shopping while hungry, but I did my best just to stick to the list and get out as soon as possible. I managed only two impulse purchases and ate a little of both before arriving home. Chocolate covered, peanut butter filled pretzels and corn chips. Both amazeballs by the way.

photo 3 (1)

Since I snacked a bit on the way home from the grocery store, I kept dinner simple. English muffin pizzas! Whole wheat English muffins, pizza sauce, light mozzarella cheese, diced red pepper, and pancetta. OM NOM NOM.

photo 4 (1)

One thing I severely missed during this day? Fresh fruit. Whole pieces of fresh fruit are a DAILY occurrence for me so I hate when we run out. Don’t worry, I brought like two today 🙂

Questions for you guys:

  • Favorite thing you ate yesterday?
  • Thoughts on English muffin pizzas?

WIAW – An all around intuitive day

Thank you all so much for your kind words yesterday! You really are the best!

For right now, I’m kind of enjoying the idea of What I Ate Wednesday, so I decided to do it again and actually link up with Peas and Crayons.

This week I decided to cover my Monday eats! I really did not have my normal appetite on Monday. I don’t know if it was because I knew my parents were about to put Bernie down, gloomy crappy weather, or the fact that I didn’t work out first thing in the morning but I just was NOT hungry. Since I’ve been working on intuitive eating, I decided to just go with it! I didn’t end up eating breakfast until about 10:15 am but when I was finally hungry I ate a pomegranate greek yogurt with sliced almonds, chopped pecans, and flax seeds. Accompanied of course by a cup of coffee and my vitamins. I take a daily women’s multi-vitamin, Calcium, fish oil, and Biotin (for skin, nails, and hair – it’s awesome I love it!)

photo 1 (3)

I intended to work out on my lunch hour but I realized I forgot a towel to shower after… womp womp. Oh well, I just worked through the day and broke for lunch around 2 pm. I made a healthy version of shepherds pie over the weekend and brought leftovers to work. This recipe features tons of veggies (one bag of frozen mixed veggies, one bag of shaved brussels sprouts, and one half a yellow onion), ground turkey, and mashed garlic sweet potatoes on top. It doesn’t hold it’s shape well when traveling so it kind of turned into a mashed up pile but it was delicious.

photo 2 (4)

I’m normally a very committed afternoon snacker but didn’t get hungry until 5 pm for my normal snack. I decided to just listen to my body and eat if and when I got hungry. I finally broke into my afternoon snack which was (predictably) an apple, scoop of peanut butter, and a mini vanilla yogurt. Normally if I have yogurt for breakfast I bring something else for a snack, simply for variety. We were really low on groceries though, so I didn’t have a lot of options… a second yogurt it was! It was delicious though 🙂

photo 3 (4)

I stayed at work until 6 pm and then talked to my mom on the phone (about poor Bernie) until 7 pm. By the time I got home, I was really not in the mood to go work out. But Mike was heading up to the apartment building gym for a quick run and I decided I would feel better if I just moved my body in SOME way. I decided to practice “intuitive exercise” and see what appealed to me when I got up there. I normally follow a pretty strict training / workout schedule, so it was nice to give myself a little break to do whatever I felt like. I hopped on an elliptical, turned on Jeopardy (my favorite show to watch while exercising), and did a 35 minute hill climbing workout. I worked up a nice little sweat, did a good long stretch, and called it a night. Dancing with the Stars came on while I was cooling down so I watched the first dance. I can’t get into that show though… it’s too much of a time commitment!

photo 1 (4)
photo 2 (5)
After our workout I was FINALLY hungry but we really needed to go to the grocery store for the week. I knew I couldn’t shop super hungry so I threw together a really quick whole wheat wrap with horseradish hummus, a slice of cheese, and a ton of spinach. It totally hit the spot!

photo 4 (4)photo 5 (3)
After a quick trip to the grocery store, I unloaded our items and poured myself a little glass of sweet white wine. Got this bottle at CVS for $3.95. I am turning into QUITE the connoisseur of cheap wine…

photo 3 (5)
I was in the mood 🙂 I was kind of hungry again but didn’t want to start making a whole big dinner. Instead, I heated up some leftover brown basmati rice and black beans and topped them with one egg over easy. It was the perfect combination of protein and carbs to top off my hunger.

photo 4 (5)
And right before I brushed my teeth and got in bed to read I had two squares of a Ritter Sport we bought at Trader Joe’s. DELICIOUS. Most days should end on a slightly sweet note 🙂

photo 5 (4)

WIAW – Just a normal day

I’m intrigued by the concept of “What I Ate Wednesday” so I decided to give it a shot. Now I’m wondering though… should I have taken pictures of everything I ate on Tuesday to post on Wednesday? I took pictures of what I ate on Wednesday to post of Thursday. There are so many things in this life that confuse me. But I digress. This has been a crazy week at work so I’ve been chained to my desk all day long. Hence… almost all of these photos were taken at my desk.

I got up 5:30 to hit the 6 am boot camp class at the gym. 45 minutes of sweaty strength and cardio intervals, I finished up with 15 minutes of speed work on the treadmill and called it a day. I drank coffee at home (no picture… it’s not exciting trust me) and brought a smoothie to work for breakfast. I drank it all before I remembered to take a picture so it looks kind of gross but it was delicious. Here what was in the mix: frozen banana, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, chocolate protein powder, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and fresh spinach.

photo 1 (2)

I worked through the morning and wasn’t super hungry for a snack so I decided to just wait for lunch. I made salsa chicken in the crockpot for Tuesday night so I brought leftovers (with a little cheese duhh) with green pepper and onions and a whole wheat tortilla. I ended up tearing up the tortilla and making a couple bite sized burritos. It was messy but delicious.

photo (2)

Mid-afternoon I snacked on an apple with a spoonful of sunflower butter. I am obsessed with sunflower butter but Mike hates its. I secretly love that though because he plows through peanut butter. It’s nice to have it all to myself 🙂

photo 3 (2)

Before the end of the workday, I snacked again on a mini vanilla yogurt to tide me over. I went with a group of coworkers to play volleyball, so I knew dinner would be late. I love these little yogurts for snacks!

photo 4 (2)

After a couple hours of volleyball and getting home, I was more than ready for dinner. Mike was out running and I did not want to spend a lot of time cooking so I threw together two big veggie-ful salads (I simultaneously made 2 additional salads for lunch today… multitasking FOR THE WIN!) I have been craving veggies and healthy foods hardcore this week. Happy to oblige my body there 🙂 In the mix is some arugula, tuscan kale, grape tomato, celery, cucumber, red bell pepper, and (of course) shredded cheese.

photo 5 (2)

On the side was a Vegetable Masala Burger from Trader Joe’s topped with a slice of melted muenster cheese. God I do love cheese.

photo 3 (3)

After dinner, Mike and I settled in to watch Sunday’s episode of Mad Men (anyone else not loving Joan’s attitude this season? bleh) and I snacked on a bowl of Trader Joe’s kettle corn. I LOVE popcorn. My best friend and I have been known to go to the movies just to eat popcorn… and eat lots of it. I don’t always want kettle corn, but it was a great sweet / salty post-dinner treat. I may have (READ: definitely did) refilled the bowl.

photo 2 (3)

And finally, I ended the night (before brushing my teeth) with a couple Trader Joe’s dark chocolate Tahitian vanilla caramels. I can never resist these in the check out line because they are SO good.

photo 4 (3)

So that’s my day! I couldn’t imagine documenting everything I ate every single day (props to your bloggers who do that) but it was fun to do it for just one day. Maybe I’ll do it again on here 🙂 Feel free to let me know what you think about WIAW – love it or hate it?

Questions for you guys:

  • Thoughts on popcorn? Kettle corn?
  • Do you play on any recreational sports teams? This summer I’m playing sand volleyball AND softball… woot woot!
  • Thoughts on sunflower butter?

Turn a Shortcut Into a Meal

Before we get into the meat of today’s post I realized yesterday that I missed my one year blogaversary! For snicks… here’s a link to my first post EVER! A lot has changed in the past year. I ran a marathon. I moved to a new apartment. I got engaged to the most wonderful man on the planet. It’s also not been without its challenges. My knee injury flared up again causing me to not run my second marathon. Or even the half marathon. I’ve also been doing some hard work to improve my relationship with food. All in all… the last year has been nothing like I thought it would be. I am so thankful for the friends I have made through this blog and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings for Pennies on the Run!

On a normal week, I cook for two people. But when Mike is traveling for work… it’s just me and the felines. When Mike travels, I not only miss him terribly (we try to face time every night, which is usually me chasing the cats around the apartment trying to get them to “say hi to daddy”. They HATE this game) but I also have a renewed appreciation for how much he does around the apartment! I mean he takes care of the cats, does the laundry, takes out the garbage… and now I have to do all of that myself. Disaster. Sometimes, I like to keep meals really simple by taking an easy shortcut and modifying it to create a great meal. This week I found a box of Annie’s Organic Alfredo Shells & Cheddar in the back of a cabinet (this was in my stocking this Christmas from my future in-laws!) The box says it has 2.5 servings but one serving of this was definitely NOT going to keep me satisfied all night. I decided to amp it up and turn it into a meal.

P1000509

To me, one of the best ways to bulk up a meal is to add a ton of veggies. I found 1.5 zucchini and a bag of arugula in the refrigerator. I also had a pack of chicken sausage. Veggies? Check. Protein? Check.

P1000510

I sliced up the zucchinis and 2 chicken sausages to saute in a pan with just a little olive oil.

P1000511

After they had a few minutes to cook, I added two big handfuls of arugula. When cooking greens with other veggies, always add the greens last. They cook down MUCH faster and you don’t want them to get overcooked.

P1000512

After the macaroni and cheese was finished I added everything together and mixed it up. Voila!

P1000513 P1000514

Served in a bowl with a little extra parmesan cheese on top for good measure. By adding all these extra ingredients, I was able to turn this into THREE servings of a very hearty and delicious meal. It made for an excellent lunch the next day at work too.

P1000515

Questions for you guys:

  • When was the last time you ate macaroni and cheese from a box? I hadn’t had it in FOREVER.
  • What “shortcuts” to you use to make delicious meals?

Toasted Turkey Meatball Subs

Growing up, one of my favorite memories was making meatballs with my dad. I used to wake up on a weekend morning to the smell of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove and know it was time to make a huge batch of meatballs! To this day, I’ve never found a meatball that compares (and I’ve tried a lot trust me). I was curious to see if I could apply some of the techniques from those meatballs to a lighter / turkey version. Saturday night I decided to give it a shot (and turn them into some really delicious open face turkey meatball sandwiches). Here’s what you need for the meatballs (recipe is at the bottom!):

P1000479 P1000480

Very unscientific fact right here… it’s better to mix the meat by hand 🙂 Just make sure you remove your rings / jewelry (unless you like having raw meat stuck in the crevices!)

P1000481

Many people fry meatballs in a pan on the stove in oil, but we always baked them in the oven. I think they taste a LOT better and they’re not fried in oil… double win!

P1000482

My dad is a scientist, so cooking was always fun with him because he would teach us things in the process! You want to make sure your meatballs are equally sized to ensure even cooking. I always wanted to make HUGE ones when I was little but it’s better to keep them on the smaller end. You can really pack them into the cookie sheet though… no risk of spreading here!

P1000483

While the meatballs were in the oven, I prepped the ingredients for the sandwiches. We made pizza the night before so I used up the rest of the pizza sauce / mozzarella. I also decided to add a little extra basil to balance the thyme flavor of the meatballs.

P1000484

Flip your meatballs over halfway through cooking. They should get that nice brown mark on the bottom (that’s how you know they’re ready to flip!)

P1000485

I also sauteed up a bag of kaleidoscope chart with some coconut oil to eat on the side… DELICIOUS and so simple.

P1000486 P1000487

When the meatballs were done I transferred them to another plate and put the oven on broil.

P1000489

Prepped and ready for the broiler! Don’t forget about them while they’re in there though. Broiler is a fickle beast so you want to watch them carefully.

P1000491 P1000493

Anddd… VOILA! Perfectly browned cheese with a hefty portion of chard to accompany. These were absolutely amazing so I hope you enjoy 😀

P1000495

recipe

Questions for you guys:

– How do you make meatballs??

– What foods were your favorite to cook when you were little?

Ricotta Pasta

I.LOVE.PASTA. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would definitely be pasta (or maybe pizza… close tie). I am especially loving pasta these days since I’m not forcing myself to restrict it anymore! (I’m planning a summation post on my Intuitive Eating challenge later this week with many more details) I used to think pasta was “bad” so when I did “let myself have it” I always completely gorged myself on it. My mind was in that deprivation place of not knowing when I would ever be allowed to have it again. So when I was confronted with pasta… I ate ALL the pasta. Now that I know I can have pasta absolutely any time I want to have pasta, I eat a single serving in a bowl and walk away from the table completely satisfied (ok, ok, maybe one or two more bites as I pack away the leftovers).

Recently, I’ve been finding myself really favoring simple meals. We’re busy during the week so I have less time to cook elaborate dinners. This recipe requires 5 simple ingredients and hits 3 macro nutrients all in one dish (protein, carbs, and vegetables). Here’s what you’ll need (recipe / instructions at the bottom): You could substitute any kind of pasta (I chose brown rice fuscilli – but please remember I am NOT gluten free. I just like this kind a lot), meat (I used ground turkey but beef or chicken would be fine), vegetables (I ❤ brussels sprouts. End of story) and tomato sauce (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic is delicious and $1.95 – CHA CHING). The secret here is the ricotta (which in my world is pronounced with a G). Mixing it with tomato sauce gives you a slightly “creamy” sauce without a super heavy alfredo. mmmmm…mmm…. good.

P1000424

The other best part of this meal is that you can make the entire thing in the time it takes to boil the water / cook the pasta. I also was able to prep chicken noodle soup in the crock pot during this time.

P1000425

Mike is an excellent kitchen helper. I cut these brussels into quarters because they were really big.

P1000428

Fig kept a watchful eye on the whole process, but he doesn’t like vegetables (BLEH green stuff!)

P1000429

P1000430

After the meat was cooked, I moved it to a bowl and drained MOST of the fat. I left some (about 1 tbsp) in the pan to sautee the brussels.

P1000431 P1000433

For the sauce simply add your sauce and a dollop of ricotta cheese for a smooth and creamy finish.

P1000434 P1000435 P1000437 P1000439

Serve with a little extra ricotta if you like (I love cheese… so yes please) and any garnish you like! I used oregano and crushed red pepper.

P1000440

For being so quick and simple, this meal was a HUGE hit. Mike loved it.

P1000443

And so did Little Mac…

P1000451

recipe

Warm Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

One of the things I am loving the most about working through the 21 Intuitive Eating Challenge is rediscovering foods that I had made “off limits” for so long. One of those things? Caesar salad. I NEVER ate it for years because of the dressing, cheese, and croutons. Since I’m working on throwing out all my food rules and eating what I truly crave, I had my first chicken caesar wrap in years last week at work. It was… delicious. Sunday evening, I wanted to cook something warm and homey for dinner. I had a bunch of crap in my refrigerator and no plan. Intuitive eating perfection right there!

Recalling my extremely positive experience with my chicken caesar wrap, I decided to draw on that. I didn’t have lettuce so traditional salad or wraps were out. But I did have a nice amount of other delicious green veggies… so warm chicken caesar sandwiches were born!

P1000405

Here’s everything you’ll need (but the recipe with ingredient list is also below!)

P1000406

I’ve recently started using Trader Joe’s Olive Oil cooking spray and I’m enjoying it a lot! It’s not the BEST for non-stick properties (eggs particularly stick a little bit, but not terrible). I lightly coated my pan and browned a pack of chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are completely delicious btw. Much more flavorful than breasts so a great addition in simple dishes.

P1000407 P1000408 P1000412

While my chicken was cooking, I prepped the other pieces. I was getting hungry so trying to be as efficient as possible. I went with zucchini, green pepper, yellow onion, and leeks. I recently discovered leeks and I’ve been using them a lot. They are amazingly fragrant and a nice complement to onions. And of course hearty wheat bread, which we toasted as a sandwich base.

P1000411P1000415

I removed the chicken from the pan and threw the onions and leeks in first to “sweat down”. I heard that phrase on a cooking show once and I think it’s very accurate.

P1000416 P1000417

For the sauce, I decided to mix a vinaigrette caeser dressing with a dollop of tahini sauce to add some creaminess. They ended up blending together wonderfully!

P1000418 P1000419

And VOILA! served hot and topped with Parmesan cheese (because I don’t think many meals are complete without cheese!)

P1000420

Here’s my recipe in case you need it!

Warm Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Turn Leftovers into Black Bean Soup

I love cooking and overall find it to be the most economical way to eat during the week. I really enjoy undertaking a new recipe, trying a new skill, or spending time experimenting on my own. However, cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day is super daunting and tiring. Therefore, I enjoy an easy short cut just as much as the next person.

Last week, I made my favorite ten minute tacos for dinner one evening. Afterwards, I had several cans and packages open that I hadn’t finished. I was suddenly struck with an idea. What if I could turn these leftovers from tacos into another meal?? Everything is pretty much all ready. In fact, I had this meal prepped and in the crock pot before Mike even finished the dishes from dinner (Yes, my man does the dishes and I love him for that). I put the full recipe at the bottom for your reference 🙂

P1000395

You may want to adjust the green chilies and taco seasoning based on your heat preference. I like spicy but at the end of the day I thought this was even a little too hot for me. I might have scaled it back on the chilies and taco seasoning just a little bit.

P1000396P1000397

I always keep a box of chicken or vegetable stock in my refrigerator. It comes in handy SO often. I used to buy the low sodium version but I found that it was so bland I just ended up adding salt. I’d rather cook with the salt then add it after. I think it tastes better. Very unscientific information courtesy of Christina… you’re welcome.

P1000398P1000399P1000400P1000401

This provided several lunches for me and Mike throughout the week. Black bean soup is so hearty and filling, especially in this crappy weather we’ve been having!

P1000402

blackbeansouprecipe

Questions for you guys:

– Beans: love ’em or hate ’em? What’s your favorite one??? Personally, I love almost all beans except Red Kidney Beans. Those are really hit or miss for me. Consequently, I don’t love chili. I usually make white bean chili at home… which ROCKS.

– What recipes are you loving this week??