Category Archives: Being organized

100 Day Challenge

February 27, 2014

What, you ask, is the 100 Day Challenge?  Well, it is just that!  It is a challenge to myself to complete 30 different things on my “life list” in the next 100 days.  This idea was shared with me from my friend, McKenzie over at Our Honest World, and when I read about her challenge… and her request for others to jump on board, I knew I was in!  So, with pencil in hand, I set about making my list.

I’d love for others to join us, whether it be fellow blogging friends to keep in contact with, or through facebook, text, or email… just think about the things you could do in 100 days!  The possibilities are endless, right?  I promise it’ll be fun, and that we’ll have a lot of laughs.  We may even discover new things about each other and ourselves. 

Now, some of these items are small.  Some are quirky, and somewhat trivial.  Others are rather large, and even more important to put into my life in the next 100 days.  The point is to do them. To commit to living my life, and to allow myself the time to explore these ideas.

SO- here it is!

1. Blog at least 2 times a week, and have at least 1  be an original recipe.

2. Learn the craft/ practice of yoga. NOT Jillian Michaels yoga, which I love, but kicks my butt.  I’m talking SLOW, methodical, spiritual yoga.

3. Host a Pinterest party.  (for all those DIY things that we pin, but never make)

4. Make a budget and really stick to it.  I was so great at this, but then we moved, and our bills and due dates for them shifted, and well.. my budget kind of died a slow death.  It needs updated.  I’d love to share some of the apps I’ve found and LOVE.  It’s just a matter of sitting down and doing this one.

5. Organize my family recipes.

6. Coupon like a champ.  Again, I use to do this, and then life happened.

7. Learn what all of the settings and buttons on my camera do.  Fancy camera, and all I do is point and click. Pathetic, right?  No more. Time to learn.

8.  Learn to truly meditate.  I like to SAY I’m meditating, when really my mind is going a thousand miles an hour in 50 different directions.  It’s really annoying at the end of the day to be exhausted, lay down, and still be awake for about 40 minutes until I sort through all of the RANDOM thoughts that run through my head.  Meditation. MUST LEARN.

9. take a photography class and read my Plate to Pixel book about food photography

10. make/ paint my own pottery

11. Really take stock of and organize my school class library

12. catch up on Grey’s Anatomy.  Seriously. I am about 5 seasons behind, and the previews still kill me every week. Indulgent? absolutely.  Needed? you bet.

13. organize my pantry so that it stays organized and functional (side note- train husband as to where things go in said organized pantry)

14. restain the deck

15. make Kevin’s brewery tours collage

16. master the “smokey eye” look

17. redesign my blog, or pay someone else to do it

18. keep a journal, including pictures.  note the little things and focus on gratitude

19. find a church we like

20. grow my relationship with God

21. get my passport

22. plan out the trip to Niagara Falls to spread my mum’s ashes-  we promised, and haven’t done it yet…and it bothers me every spring

23. treat my husband the way I did when we first started dating- meaning… send brownies to work, inner office little notes, hide love notes in his pockets… let him know how much I truly love and appreciate him.  We do dates, but I think I could do more of the little affections

24. actually download the fonts that I pin on Pinterest

25. can or pickle something

26. plant a beautiful garden and actually keep it alive

27. reconnect with childhood/ high school friends

28. buy something from an antique store

29. make my own fruit snacks

30. spend a day alone with my mother in law, learning more about her, and her life in younger days

Those are my 30 things.  Not sure which one I want to start with, but it’ll probably be a small one to get me on my way!  I’ll keep you posted how this all goes!

Be sure to swing over to McKenzie’s page too- I should add “Make McKenzie’s laundry soap” as number 31.

Until next time,

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday

January 1, 2014

Wow!  Welcome to 2014… It’s so hard to believe how fast the past year went, and even crazier to think how my 2014 is starting off!  The big news is… We’re moving to a new house!  And with a new house, comes a new kitchen!!!  I am SO THRILLED to be moving into my new kitchen, and have been busy all holiday break thinking about how to decorate.  Thanks to Pinterest and some clever bloggers, my What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday is some delightful art for my new digs!

First things first, this is my new kitchen:

Their stuff- not mine, yet!

We’re planning on painting things a light grey, so with greys and whites as my color palette, I set off on my quest.  I wanted cozy, classic, and a little bit quirky.  I knew I’d need to make a new “meal planner” board because the one I made previously just wouldn’t match.  Drat. 

So I set off to scanning pinterest, and the first little gem that I found was from  One of her posts for “Make it Monday” made me swoon. 

property of Lizzie Roe 

Her post for this ADORABLE FREEBIE is here:  Lizzie Roe’s adorable kitchen art Freebie
I’ve never met her, but we might be kitchen style soul mates.  I idolize Julia Child, love all things that look “chalkboard”, and the fonts… I die. I HAD to have it.  I immediately came up with a million ways that I wanted to use this print, but couldn’t decide…so I thought about it for a while.

Next, I found this little guy:

His picture was kind of everywhere… I credit google images?

How cute is he, right?  I decided he needed to live in my kitchen too and bought a white frame from AC Moore to feature him in.  He’s going to live above the pantry where that Coke sign is currently hanging out.  I love him, and think I shall name him Fredrick. (Like I said, a little quirky)


Back to my super cute Julia Child quote print.  I finally decided to put it as part of my meal planner board, and my goodness- the finished product makes me giddy!  Here’s how it all came together:

1) get an 8 frame collage style frame, such as this one: Collage Frame
(I got mine at AC Moore- they are almost ALWAYS on sale, and you can use a coupon!)

2) Pick out your background paper- I used the ministacks of scrapbooking paper in neutral tones.

3) Pick out a super cute picture

4) Print out days of the week on CLEAR Avery Address Labels.  I used the font “Skinny Jeans” found here from

5) Put it all together!

Now I feel like my kitchen will be my dream room!  I can’t wait to move on in, unpack, and start whipping up some new TwiceAround recipes!

What are you LOVIN’ today??

Meal Plan Monday!

August 12, 2013

A lot of posts on Pinterest are all about meal planning, and making your life easier.  I am ALL for meal planning, and here’s why:

1) It keeps me organized
2) It keeps us making healthier choices
3) It keeps us in our budget

There are probably a ton more reasons why I like meal planning, but those are my big three.  That being said, I started out planning a bit hap-hazard.  I’d write lists with the days of the week and start filling them in.  And that worked- sort of.  Then, I attempted to use other people’s templates, and I found that while there were parts that I liked, they just didn’t flow with my natural progression of meal planning.

So, today I am sharing my template with you, along with my thought process on why it is set up the way it is.  If you want to skip ahead, and just get the planner- by all means, scroll on down to the bottom!

I try to be a “twice- a- month” grocery shopper.  That means, we make our large shopping trips around our pay days. This works for us because the money is in the budget during those times, and generally speaking I can get everything we need for 2 weeks, except for fresh produce.  Money saving tip- when doing this “twice a month” plan, we buy a lot of our meat in the family value packs.  A lot of higher cuts of meat are more cost effective this way.  Once home, I portion them out into sets of 2 (since it is just darling husband and I) and put them into a small freezer bag.   Then, several of the small freezer bags containing the same type of meat go into a larger freezer bag.  I highly recommend the double freezer bag plan- your food will be protected from freezer burn, and it’s just easier to have it all contained in a nicely labeled bag.  **Editor’s note:   Darling husband decided to combine bags the other day- We ended up having meat medley for dinner because what we thought were 2 steaks turned out to be 1 steak and 1 pork chop.  oops!**  At any rate, it’s not unusual for me to come home with 10 chicken breasts and 14 pork chops.  This is magnified even more if there are BOGO deals.  Seriously- you may as well get 2, and freeze those suckers.  A lot of times, cashiers ask me if I’m having a party.  Oh honey, it’s always a party at my house!  

To answer what you must be wondering… “How big of a freezer do you have?”  UM, just a regular freezer in my side by side standard fridge.  BUT- when packing in freezer bags, those suckers are primarily flat.  and flat- STACKS.  We’re coming up on a pay period, so my freezer right now doesn’t show the justice of this statement, but I’ll take a picture after pay day to show my stacked and stocked freezer.

Anyway, back to business.  I start off my meal planning by filling out my “What’s on Hand” box.  For this box, I open up the freezer, the fridge, and the pantry and make note of what we have-  like I said, when you buy meat in bulk packs, you tend to have some around.  This makes up the base of my meal planning, but if you aren’t a stockpiler like me, look at your local grocery ads. “What’s on Sale” is an easy substitute for the “What’s on Hand” section.  I do this first, because that way, I know what I’m workin’ with. 

Next, I look at our weekly calendar.  I’ve found that this is crucial because I use to go to the trouble of planning out really great meals for the week, only to be totally derailed by a hectic schedule that ultimately resulted in us ordering a pizza.  Coming home after a busy day and seeing a meal requiring a lot of effort just isn’t going to happen, so plan

Then, I make my preliminary grocery list.  This is the list of items I KNOW WE NEED prior to even planning any meals.  Usually this includes fresh items that we constantly use, and constantly need.
accordingly.   Some weeks will be crazier than others.  During those weeks, I rely on tried and true 30 minute or less meals. 

Finally, I get down to the bottom section with the days of the week.  Generally, I will put a star or a note by those days that I mentioned in the Weekly Events section.  Just for a visual reminder.  A lot of this is pairing up my “what’s on hand” with what we’re in the mood to eat.  Sometimes there are some new creations, but a lot of times, we have “rotation” meals that frequent our kitchen once or twice ever 2 weeks.  I try to throw in a meatless meal when I think I can pull a fast one over on my sweet husband, but sometimes that just doesn’t work out.  Once meals are on the calendar, I think about the non-staple ingredients I’ll need to pick up at the store, and add it to the grocery list section!

And that’s it really!  The only other thing, is following through.  To help with that, I post the meal plan.  It keeps everyone in the house aware of the plan, and reminds us to thaw out any meat that we may need in the upcoming days.

I made my weekly meal board by using scrapbook paper, and a collage frame from A.C. Moore.  Best $20 craft ever. 

I hope you’ll find this useful, and start to add meal planning into your life!  After a few weeks of practice, you’ll be SO surprised with how much time and energy it saves you!

Weekly Meal Planner Document

Until Next Time,

Healthier Bacon Onion Fettuccine

March 26, 2013

Truth be told, I think I was Italian in a former life.  I love their beauty, their fashion, The Godfather, their cars (oh how I love their cars!), but most importantly, their food.  I truly think I could eat pasta every day of my life and  be completely content.  ‘Fat and Happy’ as my sweet husband would call it.

However, that fat part just doesn’t sit so well with me, and reality tells us that pasta every day is probably not the best idea.  Nowadays, when I make pasta, I tend to lean towards a wheat pasta and load it up with roasted veggies in my sauce.  The good thing about pasta, is that there are endless possibilities, and if you make it healthy- you’ll be able to whip up a great meal.  The other great thing- It’s super quick, and generally speaking, super cost effective. 

Have I mentioned, I love pasta??

Tonight’s healthier version of Bacon and Onion Fettuccini comes courtesy of my sweet mother, and while she didn’t call for wheat pasta, feel free to sub it in and make this dish even better!  She even give some of the Weight Watchers breakdowns, friends!  Best of all, this cooks up and makes it from skillet to table in about 15 minutes.  Manga!!

Momma’s Bacon Onion Fettuccini

1 cup finely chopped red onion
2 cups hot cooked fettuccini noodles
1/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup grated fat free Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bacon bits (I use turkey bacon or soy- don’t tell my husband!)
1 tsp italian seasoning (optional, but do it!)

Go ahead and start by cooking your fettuccini noodles as directed on the box.  It should take them about 12 minutes to get to ‘al dente’.  Once your noodles are about done, coat a large skillet with cooking spray, and add your chopped onion.  Saute until tender, about 4 minutes will do it, depending on how small you chopped!  Stir in your noodles, and keep everyone happy on low. 

Next, mix up the dry milk, water, cheese, bacon bits, and seasoning in a small bowl.  Stir it on in with your onions and noodles, and let everyone get happy in the skillet.  Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.

Voila!  It’s as simple as that!

Here’s the WW breakdown, for anyone interested:
(per half cup serving)
174 Calories
2 fat
2 Fiber
1 1/2 Starch
1/2 Veggie

Breakfast Egg Biscuit

January 19, 2013

Today’s recipe credit goes right to my darling husband.  About a week ago, I had made cheddar biscuits to go with dinner.  You know the ones- the little bisquick pouch where you just add water, plop them on a baking sheet, and 8 glorious minutes later, you have biscuits!  It had made 6, and we had leftovers.  Wouldn’t you know it, the best breakfast sandwich was born… He took those leftover biscuits, added an egg, topped it with some guacamole, and wham! It’s breakfast.

Now, I will say, I’ve gone back and doctored these up a little since that first day.  Kevin likes his eggs over easy, and I only eat mine scrambled- however you like your eggs, this sandwich is a winner.  AND, if you make a batch of biscuits in advance (We now make them on Sundays and Wednesdays) you’ll really cut down your prep to plate time!

Breakfast Egg Biscuits

You’ll need:
1 pouch of bisquick cheddar garlic biscuits (or 3 cheese… They were out of those at our store, rats.)
1 100 Calorie pack of Wholly guacamole
1 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 slice canadian bacon, ham, bacon, or sausage patty… your choice (go with the pre-cooked- saves time!)

If you haven’t premade your biscuits, then you’ll need to preheat your oven to 450.  Mix 1/2 cup of water with 1 pouch of biscuit mix and stir.  Plop them onto a greased/ sprayed baking sheet.  It should make 6- sometimes, I get carried away with how much to spoon out, and I only get 5 and they are HUGE.  6 is the way to go.  Anyway, pop those in the oven for 8 minutes and then let them cool for a minute or two after they are done.

Now that you have biscuits ready, this gets so much easier.

Whip up 1 egg, and scramble in a skillet over medium, stirring as you go.  Generally, this takes about 2 – 3 minutes for one egg.  In the final minute, top with 1 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese, so that it has time to get a smidge melty.  (Such technical terms today)

Turn off the heat and let your egg sit for a moment while you split your biscuit.  Spread a spoonful of guacamole onto the top of your biscuit.  I like Wholly Guacamole’s 100 Calorie packs because 1 pack is just about perfect for 2 people or 2 biscuits.  Today, we used the spicy guacamole- it packs a nice little kick!  If you’re on your own- no worries… use a spoonful and then pack the rest into a container with a tiny splash of lemon juice- the lemon juice will keep it from turning brown, which only means that your guacamole got oxidized- not a big deal.  I’ll take the extras sometimes with some carrot sticks for lunch or a snack.

Transfer your egg to the bottom half of your biscuit and top with your meat selection-  I chose ham today, and no- I didn’t intentionally cut it to look like a heart, that was just by sheer dumb luck!  Cute, right?

Plop your guac. coated biscuit top back onto your bottom half and dig in.  The slight crunch to the biscuit combined with the creaminess of the guacamole and soft, cheesy egg… one perfect bite.  Match it up with a hot cup of coffee, and you are sure to have a great start to your morning.  Plus- it’ll keep you filled up til lunch!

I’d love to stay and chat more about breakfast, but my sandwich is calling my name- and if I don’t dive in soon, the puppy will find a way to make my sandwich his!  

Until next time,

Crockpot Tuscan Tortellini Soup

January 12, 2013

Can we just take a moment to enjoy the fact that this FINALLY looks like it’s suppose to?! 
Okay, I’m alright now…moving on…

This week proved to be a busy one, and like most busy weeks, I find myself longing for an easy, yet comforting dinner.  This week, that answer was in our crockpot – a good, old-fashioned “dump it all in there” recipe that is sure to please… and sure to give you enough for leftovers!  I love when dinner provides lunch for the next day!

I’m talking about Crockpot Tuscan Tortellini Soup.  So easy, so tasty, so going into the normal dinner rotation plans.

You can’t smell it through this blog, but trust me, the moment you walk in the house… heaven.

Grab your crockpot and let’s boogie down!
You’ll need:

1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of diced chicken in water – that sounds gross, but it’s not. I promise.
1/3 bag of baby spinach (about 2 cups)
1/2 bag of shredded carrots ( about a cup and a half..I don’t know, eyeball it)
1 can of diced potatoes
8 cups of chicken stock
2 tbsp italian seasoning

2tbsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan/ Romano/ Asiago blend
1 bag frozen cheese tortellini- you’ll need these later…

Dump it all into the crockpot and heat on LOW for 6-8 hours.
When you come home after work, remove the bay leaves, and dump the bag of frozen tortellini into the soup.  Give it about 10 minutes… 15 if you are patient, and then dinner is ready! 

I serve it up with cheddar biscuits and garnish the soup with extra cheese.  This dinner is amazing, and the left overs- even better!

Happy Eating,

Note: I loved this with the potatoes, however, in the future I might try a variation by replacing the potatoes with white cannelloni beans.
Talk amongst yourselves…

Build a Better Breakfast- Quick Fixes!

December 30, 2012

Breakfast- dubbed the most important meal of the day, and yet, also the most skipped or hap-hazard meal of the day.  Why?  Because for most of us, it’s hard enough to get out the door on time…let’s be honest.  That being said, please consider the following before looking at some quick, tasty, and healthy options to start your day.

Consider this- the average adult stops eating for the day around 7 or 8pm.  You relax, sleep, wake up, get ready, and then zoom off to work with only a coffee in hand.  No breakfast.  “No problem” you tell yourself, “I’ll grab a snack mid morning, or probably won’t even be hungry til lunch.”  Let’s assume you have that snack mid-morning at 10:30am.  Your body has gone about 15 hours without food!  15 hours!  Not only is your blood sugar level totally wonky, but your metabolism is grinding to a screeching halt and your body is in starvation mode.  You’ll be more likely to eat a ton more by lunch…but your body has decided to not give up any of your fat stores for fear that you won’t feed it.  Thus sabotaging any plans for weight loss.

So, what can you do?
The obvious answer is EAT SOME BREAKFAST…  but it’s easier said than done, right?  That is, until you try some of these…  Most of these are things put together over the years, and a few are from different recipe guides from fitness programs (ChaLEAN Extreme, for one!)  Most are pretty healthy, and all are QUICK!!  Here are my weekday breakfast GO-TO’s:

1.   Flat Belly Pancakes- I LOVE these little babies.
     2 frozen oatmeal pancakes
     1 TBSP Almond butter
     1/2 cup fresh berries, rinsed.

Toss your pancakes in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Top with almond butter and toss back in for another 30 seconds.  Take out of microwave, throw your berries on, and eat.

(286 calories, 12 g fat, 4.5 grams protein)

2.  Mug O’ Eggs- You can do these so many ways, and they are ready in 1 minute flat…who doesn’t have a MINUTE to make some eggs?  Here are 3 of my favorites from Hungry Girl’s 300 Under 300: ( Add a piece of fruit for a filling breakfast!

Bacon, Tomato, Avacado Egg Mug(175 calories, 7.25 g fat, 3 g fiber, 19.5 g protein)
1/2 cup fat free liquid egg substitute  (I’ll admit, I usually use just a real egg…)
2 tbsp real crumbled bacon bits
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes, patted to remove excess moisture
1 ounce diced avocado (about 1/4 of an avocado)
2 tbsp salsa

Spray your mug with nonstick spray, add egg substitute. Microwave for 45 seconds, then add bacon and tomato.  Microwave for 45 seconds more.  Top with avocado and salsa- Dig in!

Greek Style Egg Mug
(117 calories, 2g fat, 1 g fiber, 16 g protein) 
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp diced tomato – patted to remove moisture
2 tbsp reduced fat feta, crumbled
1/2 tsp chopped basil
1/2 cup FF egg substitute

(TIP:  If you take a few minutes to chop and prepare the veggies/ cheese on Sunday and put them into measured baggies, you can just dump it all in)

Spray mug- add egg substitute, add veggies and cheese…mix.  Microwave for 45 seconds, stir, 45 seconds more- Dig in.

Taco Egg Mug (168 calories, 1 g fat, 2 g fiber, 26.5 g protein)1/4 cup frozen ground beef-style soy crumbles (They really aren’t bad, I swear!)
1/4 tsp taco seasoning
3/4 cup ff egg substitute
1 tbsp ff shredded cheddar cheese
4 multigrain tortilla chips, crushed
1 tbsp salsa
1 tbsp ff sour cream

Spray mug, add soy crumbles and microwave for 45 seconds til thawed.
add taco seasoning, mix.  Add egg substitute, stir and microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and add cheese,  Microwave for about 45 seconds to a minute more.  Top with crushed chips, sour cream, and salsa. YUM!

3. It’s Breakfast, Aye?- Canadian Bacon Breakfast Scramble! (285 calories, 3 g fat, 31 g protein)
(WARNING: This one takes a little time!)
    3 slices chopped Canadian bacon
   1/2 cup frozen shredded hash browns
   1 cup chopped bell pepper
   1/2 cup chopped red onion
   1/2 cup egg substitute (again, a lot of the time I just use real eggs)
  2 tbsp ff shredded cheddar cheese

Spray skillet and bring to medium high heat.  Add bacon and hash browns and cook about 2 minutes- stir it now and then.  Add peppers and onions to the party… stir and cook another 4 minutes.  Toss in your eggs (substitute or whisked)  and scramble it all up for about 3 minutes.  Top with your cheese and let it melt.  Eat up!  OK, so it took like 10 minutes… some mornings that just won’t work, but if you have the time- try this one, it’s tasty!

4. Make Ahead Pumpkin Spice Muffins
These are seriously easy. 2 ingredients…12 muffins…duh.
Literally- 2 ingredients.  A lot of the versions of this recipe don’t specify what kind of cake mix, so I will just tell you through my trials and tribulations with making this as tasty as possible, USE THE SPICE CAKE MIX.  I’ve done chocolate, I’ve done yellow, I’ve done angel food (which turned out REALLY wrong) – use the spice cake mix.

Alright so you dump your boxed spice cake- DRY- into a bowl. Then you dump 1 15 oz of canned pumpkin in, and you stir like hell.  If you want to avoid dry little lumps, I recommend dumping 1/2 the pumpkin, then half the cake mix, STIR LIKE HELL, and lather, rinse, repeat with the second half of both the pumpkin and the cake mix.  When it’s good and mixed, it will be really thick and kind of sticky- thats why we sprayed the tin, my friend… make it easy on yourself and spray your big spoon before you scoop these into the muffin tins- helps the batter slide off easier! Pop them in @ 350 for 22 minutes. 

That’s it- thats all you do. If you feel so inclined, add some powdered sugar on top!

5. Breakfast Burritos to Go!
Another one of those “make a huge batch and freeze them” meals.
1 pack of white flour tortillas (unless you want to be crazy healthy and go whole grain- good for you!) 
1 cup LF or FF shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked cubed hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup diced onions (sauted for a few minutes)
1/2 cup diced peppers  (Sauted)
1 cup Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage crumbles
10 large eggs, scrambled.

Divide ingredients among your tortillas, roll up, wrap in wax paper, and place in freezer baggies.  I usually do 2 per baggie because usually Kevin wants one too.  You can also substitute in a slice of precooked turkey bacon if you prefer.

To thaw and eat- Take out of freezer, remove from baggie and wax paper, pop on a paper towel lined plate… heat for 1 minute in the microwave, flip, heat for 1 minute.

6. Goat Cheese and Tomato Omelet- from ChaLEAN Extreme food guide! (250 calories, 16 g fat, 18 g protein)

2 whole eggs, whisked with 1 tbsp fat free milk (or skim- whatever!)
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 oz crumbled goat cheese

Heat skillet over medium and coat with nonstick spray.  Add eggs and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.  add goat cheese and tomato and fold over into an omelet.  Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.  Top with green onion or scallions if desired.   Freaking delicious.

7. Cinnamon Ricotta Crunch (I use to make this in college- little did I know it’s a ChaLEAN recipe too!  200 Calories, 6 g fat, 12 g protein)

1 cup skim ricotta cheese
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp slivered almonds
1/2 cup mixed berries

Scoop ricotta into a bowl, mix in cinnamon and berries. Top with slivered almonds. 

8. 90 Second Egg Sandwich
Remember how we made mug cups?  Well, you can do that for a sandwich too.

1 egg, cracked into microwave safe ramekin
1, 100 calorie sandwich thin- toasted
1 slice low fat or fat free cheese of your choice
1 slice Canadian Bacon

Crack your egg into the ramekin, pop in the microwave for 1 minute (don’t whisk it)
While that’s cooking, throw your sandwich thin into the toaster.
Assemble your sandwich.

9. Smoothies- Always a good “on the go” go to…
I use Shakeology ( but whey protein powder or yogurt works too.

My favorite is this:
3/4 scoop chocolate shakeology
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup orange juice.

Blend in Magic Bullet blender, dump into To Go cup.

10. Waffle with Ham and Egg (from Cook This, Not That)
1 frozen multigrain waffle
1 slice Canadian Bacon
1 egg
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp shredded cheddar

Spray a skillet and heat over medium- cook Canadian bacon for a few minutes each side until browned and a bit crispy. (yum!)  Remove.. coat same pan with another quick spray of cooking spray.  Cook your egg sunny side up til whites have set but yolk is still runny.  Meanwhile, toast your waffle.  Top with your bacon, maple syrup, cheddar cheese, and your egg.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper…and parsley if you so desire.

(Calories- 270, Fat- 11  grams)

There you go!  10 breakfast ideas to get you started for 2013…I hope you find a few that work for you.

Until next time,
Happy Eating!

Sorry for the lack of pictures… I swear, I’ll post some from the new camera soon!

2 weeks of dinners- 14 meals!

December 9, 2012

Two weeks’ worth of healthy meals are in today’s post- that’s right- TWO WEEKS.  I love when I know what I’m eating, and what to plan for, so this week, I decided to share some of these options with all of you.  Additionally, I’ll throw in a few tips to make your weekly meals run smoother. 

For me, Sunday is always my meal planning day.  It’s the day that I sit down with my notebook, my recipes, my coupons, and ads, and plan out our week accordingly.  It takes a bit of time – maybe an hour, but then I know what to shop for, what to prep, and generally, just feel way more relaxed.

Then after I grocery shop, I come home and start to prep some things to save time later in the week.  Sometimes that means roasting a big bunch of vegetables, sometimes it’s dividing up a rotisserie chicken into baggies for meals, and sometimes it’s chopping various things for meals throughout the week.  Everything gets baggied, and some things get frozen.   It never takes very long, and then, it’s done.

Here are some dinners to try out (for the record, this isn’t my personal meal plan for the week, but a combination of some of our favorite  healthy “go to’s”.  I’ve included some of the nutritional breakdowns, just so you have an idea if you are keeping track.  A lot of these have come from Hungry Girl’s 300 under 300 cookbook, some from on my own, others from the TurboFire or Chalean Extreme cookbooks, and a few from Pinterest.

1. Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes  seriously, one of the easiest meals ever.   Start to finish in 10 minutes flat.  This serves 4.
4 sweet potatoes
1 can of sweet corn, drained
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatos, drained
Chopped green onion, optional
1 dallop low fat or fat free sour cream per potato
1 tbsp low fat cheddar cheese per potato

Poke your sweet potatoes with a fork, and microwave for 7 – 8 minutes.
While they are baking, combine your corn, beans, and tomatoes and give them a little toss in a bowl.
Let your potatoes sit for a moment after being microwaved, and microwave your corn, bean , and tomato mixture for 2 minutes.  Cut open your sweet potato and give them a good fluff with a fork.  Top each with ¼ of the corn, bean, and tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with low fat cheddar cheese and top with a dallop of sour cream.  If you so desire, add some chopped green onion on top.

The breakdown- 257 calories; 6.5 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 298 mg. sodium; 39.8 g. carbohydrate; 8.2 g. fiber; 11.3 g. protein

2. Chicken Ratatouille- A good “stick to your bones” meal (serves 2)  This is one that I try to pre-prep my veggies for…it’s nice to able to toss it together and toss it in the oven
8 ounces raw, boneless chicken- cubed
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 and ½ cups cubed eggplant
¾ cups cubed bell pepper
¾ cup sliced and halved zucchini
¾ cup chopped onion
1 cup canned fire-roasted diced tomato, drained
½ cup canned tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

preheat oven to 375 degrees
place chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  In a bowl,  combine the diced tomato, tomato paste, basil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Add eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, and onion- Give it a toss to coat  the center of the foil.  Place another sheet of foil over the top and seal the edges, forming a packet.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few moments before cutting the foil to release the steam.  Eat up!

The breakdown- (½ the recipe) 300 calories, 2 grams of fat, 660 mg sodium, 32.5 g carbs, 9.75 g fiber, 18g sugar, 37.5 g protein

3.Southwest BBQ Chicken Quesadilla (serves 1)
1 tbsp bbq sauce (try for one that’s about 45 calories per serving)
1 wedge Laughing Cow light creamy swiss cheese
1 medium-large high fiber tortilla (about 110 calories)
2 ounces cooked and shredded boneless, skinless chicken (A rotisserie chicken works well for this)
1 tbsp canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp corn kernels, thawed from frozen
2 tbsp shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese
1 tbsp chopped green onion
Optional dips- bbq sauce, salsa, fat free ranch dressing

In a small bowl, mix bbq sauce and cheese wedge until blended- spread over ½ the tortilla.  Top with all other ingredients and set aside. 

Spray a pan with nonstick spray and heat over medium high.  Place the half-loaded tortilla flat in the skillet for about 2 minutes.  Carefully fold up the other half and gently press down with a spatula to seal.  Flip, and continue cooking for 3 minutes, until both sides are crispy.  Once cool, cut into wedges, and dunk into dipping sauce of your choice! 

The breakdown: 1 quesadilla- 300 calories, 7.75 g fat, 940 mg sodium, 35g carbs, 7g fiber, 7g sugar, 27g protein

4. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with wilted spinach-  serves 2
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup white flour
swirl of olive oil
2 tilapia filets, thawed from frozen

Set up a breading station (I use paper plates for easy clean up) 1 with the flour, 1 with the egg, and 1 with a combined mix of the bread crumbs and your parm cheese.  Take the tilapia through each step- flour, shake excess, egg, and then bread crumbs on both sides.  Coat a pan with a swirl of olive oil, and toss your tilapia in- Cook for roughly 3 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for 4 minutes.

While that is finishing, in another skillet, toss a tiny bit of olive oil in a pan with about 1 tbsp minced garlic.  Add an entire bag of baby spinach and give it a toss over medium heat- add 1 tbsp lemon juice ( just a good hearty squeeze and swirl will do)  and continue to toss as the spinach wilts.. the whole process will take about 3 minutes… it’s good to start it when you flip your fish- they’ll finish at the same time that way.

The breakdown: Fish-  167 calories, 6.5 g fat, 275 mg sodium, 26 g protein
                              Spinach- 45 calories, 4 g fat, 303 mg sodium, 12 g fiber, 4 g protein

*note- we often eat this with a dinner roll as well.  I like Alexia’s Ciabatta Rolls- the breakdown for the roll is as follows:  1 roll – 120 calories, 1.4 g fat, 230 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein *

5.Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken with Baked Sweet Potato
(yes- I said bacon… )
1- 5 oz boneless skinless lean chicken breast cutlet
2 tbsp bbq sauce (look for about 45 calories per serving- I use Stubb’s which is 30 calories per 2 tbsp)
2 slices turkey bacon
1 sweet potato

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray.  Season chicken with a dash of salt and pepper and coat with bbq sauce.  Wrap bacon around chicken and place in pan.  Bake about 20 minutes, then set oven to broil and broil til bacon is crispy- about 4 minutes.

While cooking, bake your sweet potato in the microwave during the last 8 minutes.  Be sure to poke holes, or it will explode!

The breakdown-   Chicken- 267 calories, 7 g fat, 802 mg sodium, 11 g carbs, 10g sugar, 37 g protein
                                Sweet potato- 102 calories, 0 fat, 40 mg sodium, 24 g cabs, 4g fiber, 2g protein
                               (if you add butter, add 100 calories and 11 g of fat)

6. Microwave White Chicken Chili
(A hearty meal from start to finish in about 10 minutes…1 bowl, and 1 microwave.)

2 spoonfuls minced garlic
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 poblano peppers
1 medium onion
2 packs of tyson’s precooked diced chicken breast (or about 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken)
1  16 oz jar salsa verde
2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp taco seasoning

Mix all together in microwave safe bowl, heat for 7 minutes… stirring halfway through- top with your favorite chili toppers such as tortilla strips, sour cream, quac, salsa, or cheese.
Yep- that’s it.

the breakdown- (per 1 cup) – Calories 230, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 70 mg, Carbohydrate 21 g, Protein 21 g, Sodium 750 mg, Fiber 4 g

7. A+ Avacado Burger
1 100 calorie bun
1 wedge laughing cow light creamy swiss cheese
¼ cup shredded lettuce
1 slice tomato
1 slice red onion
1 frozen meatless hamburger style patty- about 100 calories
1 ounce sliced avocado (about ¼ of an avocado)
Optional- BBQ sauce- I LOVE mine with BBQ (30 calories per 2 tbsp- so about 15 worth it!)

Split bun in half and lightly toast on a medium hot skillet.
Spread bottom half with cheese wedge and top with lettuce, tomato and red onion.
Bring skillet to medium and add the “hamburger” patty.  Cook 4 minutes per side and place over veggies.  Top with BBQ sauce and sliced avocado.  Top with your other bun half!

I like my burger with fries- lets be honest…

the breakdown-
burger- 292 calories, 9.2 g fat, 728 mg sodium, 33.5 g carbs, 11g fiber, 5 g sugar, 19g protein
fries- (3 oz- about 30 fries) 150 calories, 6 g fat, 440 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein
(sometimes, a girl just wants FRIES)

8. Sausage- Spinach Rice Bowl
1 pouch precooked brown rice (think Uncle Ben’s microwave pouch)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage, casing removed (I’ll be honest, I often use Jimmy Dean precooked turkey sausage crumbles)
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1tbsp minced garlic
1 6 ounce pack of fresh baby spinach
¼ cup parm-reggiano cheese, shaved

Heat rice.
Heat large skillet over medium-high.  Swirl with oil and add sausage and red pepper.  Cook about 4 minutes, add garlic, and cook an additional 30 seconds, stirring.  Add spinach, cook a minute more- still stirring.  Add rice, toss, and sprinkle with cheese.

The breakdown- (per cup) 333 calories, 15.4 g fat, 17.5 g protein, 33g carbs, 4 g fiber, 610 mg sodium

9. Broiled Tenderloin Steak with Ginger-Hoisin Glaze- serves 4
(serve with wilted spinach, balsamic marinated tomatoes, asparagus, or over top a big salad)

1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
1 ½ tsp grated ginger
1 ½ tsp honey
1 ½ low sodium soy sauce
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
4- 4 oz beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (1 inch thick)

preheat broiler to high
combine your first 5 ingredients and stir with a wisk (or fork)
Place steaks on a foil lined broiler pan coated with nonstick spray; sprinkle with salt and broil steaks 5 inches from heat for 2 minutes, flip and brush with half the glaze mixture.  Broil 1 minute.  Flip once more and brush with remaining half of glaze- broil 2 minutes, or to desired degree of doneness.  ( I like ours medium rare)

Breakdown Per Steak- 194 calories, 7.8 g fat, 24.5 g protein, 4.9 g carbs, 278 mg sodium

asparagus with balsamic tomatoes
1 pound of asparagus, trimmed
2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cups halved grape tomatoes
½ tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
½ tsp black pepper

cook asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain
heat oil in skillet, add tomatoes and garlic- cook 5 minutes.  Stir in vinegar, cook 3 minutes.  Stir in salt.  Arrange asparagus on plate and top with tomato mix- sprinkle with goat cheese and pepper.

(serves 4, per serving: 69 calories, 4 g fat., 3 g protein, 6.5 g carbs, 181 mg sodium)

10. Country Style Pork Chops with Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes
5 oz center cut lean, boneless porkchop (or 2 smaller thin boneless chops)
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
2 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 tbsp country style mustard
4 cherry tomatos, halved
2 cups spinach
2 tbsp chicken broth
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
Season pork with salt and lemon pepper, and sear in a nonstick skillet for about 5 minutes per side.  Remove from pan.  In the same pan, sauté shallots for about 2 minutes.  Add mustard, chicken broth, and water… reduce until thick.  Top the pork with the sauce.  In same pan, sauté spinach and tomato for about 2 minutes. Spoon alongside pork and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

The breakdown- 382 calories, 14 g fat, 49g protein, 14 g carbs, 9.5 g fiber

11.  MA! The Meatloaf!
1 and ¼ pounds raw lean ground turkey
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
¼ cup shredded carrot
tiny bit of oil
2 tbsp bbq sauce

Heat oven to 375
Chop and Saute your onion, peppers, and carrot- about 3 minutes.
Cool the veggies a smidge, then mix in a large bowl with your ground turkey. 
Form a loaf, top with BBQ sauce, and bake in the oven for about an hour.

OR if you’re like me, and you don’t have that kind of time… MUFFIN PAN TO THE RESCUE!
Spray your muffin pan, press your meatloaf mixture into each cup (you should get about 6), and top each with a tiny hit of bbq sauce.  Those babies will bake in 15 minutes instead of an hour. 

The breakdown per “muffin” – 200 calories, 8 g fat, 436 mg sodium, 10g carbs, 2 g fiber 3.5 g sugar, 25.5 g protein

12.Skillet Lasagna- Adapted from Weight Watchers
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
About 6 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds & fully cooked
2 tablespoons parsley (dried or fresh)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, salt and pepper. Cook mixture until it thickens up a bit, around 5 minutes.  Add noodles to skillet and stir into the mixture well. Add scoops of ricotta cheese over the noodles; add in mozzarella and Parmesan. Stir in parsley.  Cook about 2 more minutes, or until mixture is thick.  Serve immediately with additional basil or parsley.

    The breakdown: per 1 cup:  275 calories,  3 g fat,  42 g carbs,  9 g fiber,  15 g protein
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 7

13. Eat This, Not That- French Onion Soup
1 Tbsp butter
5 medium onions, sliced ( I like to mix yellow and red for flavor profile)
½ tsp salt
2 bay leaves
6 cups low sodium beef broth
½ cup dry red wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 slices of baguette or sourdough
½ cup shredded swiss cheese

Heat butter in a large pot over low heat.  Add the onions and salt.  Cover and cook, about 30 minutes until caramelized.  Add the bay leaves, broth, wine, and thyme.  Simmer on low for 15 minutes.  Season with pepper, discard bay leaves.

Preheat broiler- divide the soup among 4 oven proof bowls.  Top each with a slice of bread and some cheese.  Broil until cheese is bubbly (about 3 minutes)

The breakdown- 230 calories, 8 g fat, 720 mg sodium 

14. Steak Fajita Pile-Ups
2 tsp oil
¾ pound beef top sirloin steak, trimmed, and cut into thin strips
½ medium lime
2 medium bell peppers, one red, one green- cut into strips
1 large onion, cut into ½ inch wedges
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ tsp cumin
4, 6 inch corn tortillas
½ cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Heat 1 tsp oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add steak and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until slightly pink.  Transfer to a plate and squeeze ½ a lime over the steak.  Add remaining tsp of oil to the pan along with bell peppers, and onions.  Cook for about 8 minutes or until tender.  Add tomatoes and cook another minute.   Return steak to the skillet for an additional minute.  Warm tortillas, and top evenly with fajita mixture.  Top with sour cream and cilantro, and garish with lime wedges. 

Great with black beans or Spanish rice.

The Breakdown per tortilla pile up- 252 calories, 7 g fat, 90 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 4g fiber, 24 g protein

Hope you enjoy some of these recipes this week!
Happy Eating,