Yummy Feel Good Food

I’ve been in a food rut lately. I just don’t feel like making dinner… ever. This means I don’t have left overs for lunch either. I think this is related to the fact that I would rather be playing outside than grocery shopping.

My family hates it when this happens because that means they have to scavenge for food on their own only there isn’t really any food in the house other than a wrinkly apple and the weird things you find in the back of your pantry.

Fortunately for them the clouds started to roll in leaving me nothing better to do during a stormy nap time but to do some meal planning. Before I knew it I had found the inspiration I needed to have an answer to the question I have learned to hate… “What’s for dinner?”

Here are a few healthy recipes that caught my eye…

Chicken Nectarine Poppy Seed Salad– This recipe looks so fresh and yummy! It will be perfect for those nights when dinner time has snuck up on me because I either spent too much time at the pool or I went for an impromptu bike ride too late in the evening. It’ll also be the perfect “go to” lunch assuming I keep left over grilled chicken in the fridge.

poppy-seed-salad-4

Lighter Orange Beef and Broccoli– This is a recipe I’m going to have to wait to make when Brent is home. He loves his beef and broccoli. You can also prepare several of these components before hand leaving you plenty more time to frolic before dinner time.

lighterbroccolibeef

Open-Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula and Fried Egg– I have all of these ingredients sitting in my fridge. This would be a great breakfast or quick lunch or breakfast for dinner. I can see me eating this on a night when Brent is at work.

openfacedegg

Healthy Chicken, Orange and Kale Salad– There is something about the colors of the salad that have me craving a bite. Right. Now. Only I’d substitute the feta with ricotta because feta tastes like a goat teet, yes I just said teet. (Don’t ask, it’s along story.)

8788fa790b19544f83de1ce0f37bdd9b

Chicken Gyros– If I could be best friends with a food it would be with this. Only the relationship wouldn’t last that long because I would eat it.

2a0497c55bcf5f1025ba4c9514651cbe

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad– I love these kinds of salads because you can make them ahead of time without having to worry about it getting all soggy. I have had a crush on the ol’ brussels sprouts and kale combo for a while now. There is just something satisfying about the chew factor. Plus it has bacon… who doesn’t love a little bacon?

brussels

Almond Oat Banana Crepes– For those days when I want to be naughty without actually being naughty.

e4bcdb941df63e9309e0d13d4ae21569

5 Minute Healthy Frozen Yogurt– Because your summer isn’t complete unless you have a sticky frozen treat dripping down your elbows on a hot summer night.

strawberryfrozenyogurt

Coconut Creamsicle Margaritas– A little something to get me through this potty training adventure I’m about to embark on. It starts on Tuesday (after my job interview) I won’t be leaving the house much after that so I may try to use this recipe to entice some friends to pay me a visit while my daughter continuously pees her pants.

cocomargs-3

Welp, there you have it! A list of yummy feel good food to get me through the week. Now we just have to see if I find the motivation to make it to the grocery store 😉

Everything Is Better With Sprinkles

Weird things have been happening around here and I’ve been too distracted to write about it until now… I feel like we have a lot of catching up to do.

The weekend started with the discovery that I had lost my wedding ring. Brent and I had gone to the gym to workout and since we were lifting heavy I took my wedding ring off and placed it in the tray located on Penelope’s stroller. Normally I tie it to my shoelaces but I was in a hurry on this day. I didn’t think about it until later, long after the stroller had been folded up in the gym parking lot leaving my ring to sit all alone on the asphalt as we drove away. I went back to search for it and it was gone… nowhere to be found. Brent and I will have been married for ten years this August and I was pretty upset about it. I still can’t think about it without getting teary eyed.

The rest of the weekend went by smoothly. I had a dinner date with a friend on Friday and spent some much needed girlfriend time. On Saturday we just hung out and played outside while Brent watered the lawn. Then we went on a few bike rides to compare how green our grass was compared to our neighbor’s. I’m not sure when comparing lawn color became such a fun thing to do. Brent and I have obviously hit some sort of maturity milestone together that I’m not particularly proud of. As we peddled along Bridget made sure we knew just how dorky we were. On Sunday Brent went to work and the girls and I made our weekly trip to the farmer’s market/book store where we sipped on fresh lemonade and browsed for great summer reads to add to our list.

1908319_10203842415961650_7990346255265017302_n

The time flew and before we knew it, it was time to come home and put Penelope down for a nap. This provided Bridget and I the perfect opportunity to do what we do… snuggle and read in the lilac breeze.

10313848_10203819508828986_7969760655794599444_n

By the time Monday had rolled around I woke up obsessed with the idea of getting my garden planted for the summer…

1456661_10203842266837922_8004433831837458778_n

Luckily Penelope is just as obsessed with the garden as I am.

1625709_10203842290158505_3902775611740358390_n

However, she did get a bit emotional when I tried to rebury the worms that I had dug up because she thought I was smothering them. She was also convinced that they were hungry and needed a little cereal. Every time I take her inside she cries because she would rather play with the ladybugs that we bought and had scattered throughout the garden.

10341762_10203842321399286_733585553133187196_n

“Hi lady bug, ah cute. Eew, eew gross… it tickle you!”

Luckily she has failed to notice that a few of the lady bugs that we had released didn’t quite make it and lay motionless in the dirt.

That night when I was adding my finishing touches to the garden Bridget came home from a friend’s house complaining about her wrist hurting. (She had fallen off of her friend’s scooter.) She refused to move her whole arm and I accused her of being dramatic. “If you hurt your wrist you should be able to move your arm.” I looked it over and saw a weird bump on her elbow so I gave her pain medicine and a bag of ice to sleep with that night.

I felt bad when I took her to the doctor the next day…

10367604_10203834148954980_8433316580659216692_n

The doctors at urgent care were convinced that she had broken her elbow and were concerned about the lack of feeling she had in her finger tips.  We were sent to Children’s Hospital to get a cast and a more solid prognosis. We got a little slap happy after spending so many hours in waiting rooms and ended up giggling more than is probably socially acceptable during our wait.

10402620_10203835288223461_6611565572921927889_n10376337_10203842552885073_7471097338887546737_n

After waiting forever we were happy to discover that her elbow wasn’t broken after all and instead of having to wear a cast for 6 weeks like we originally thought she will only have to wear one for two weeks. They think she has a contusion on her ulnar nerve and it’s causing pain all throughout her arm, including her wrist. I don’t get it either… I’m pretty sure she’s wearing a massive cast due to a really bad bruise.

It was all fun and games until she realized that she won’t be able to move her arm for two weeks. She was bummed to find out that she couldn’t get the waterproof cast since it’s all the way up her arm. This means I have to bathe her… and dress her… and cut up her food in fork friendly pieces. All of that stuff isn’t so bad. Mainly the worst part is the fact that it’s the end of the school year and she has to miss out on all of the fun end of year activities. A lot of them are centered around swimming and dangling from play structures.

When she came home from school today she was teary eyed and upset about it all because was missing her Girl Scout troup’s end of year party. Therefore, I felt like it was the perfect time to bust out the banana ice cream recipe that I’ve been hearing about for an after school snack.

It is comprised of… a banana.

1920191_10203843023696843_937842072694042454_n

Basically you just take a frozen banana and blend the crap out of it until it looks like ice cream. Then you have to top it off with your favorite toppings. We chose chocolate syrup and sprinkles because everything is better with sprinkles.

It didn’t take the pain away but it put a smile on her face for a bit and that’s all that I was looking for.

 

 

Homemade Almond Butter

I have this friend named Andrea who is always making stuff from scratch. She’s the kind of woman that I love to hate because she’s seemingly perfect. Only I can’t hate her because I love her. It’s very conflicting. She’s super organized, crazy crafty, über nice and the best darn cook there is.

Anyway, the other day I was talking to her and she mentioned how her and her toddler had made homemade almond butter together. Lucy, (the toddler) just had a blast pushing the pulse button on the food processor and dipping her plump little finger into the nutty goo for taste tests along the way.

Inspired by her ingenuity I decided to give it a try. You see my husband loves nut butter! He eats it by the spoon full. I splurge on the expensive all natural peanut butter because not only is it better for us but it is significantly tastier.  I stopped buying the super expensive almond butter because he can’t stay out of the stuff.

I can hear the argument right now…

“Brent! Quit eating the nut butter!”

“Don’t call it nut butter.”

“Why?”

“It just doesn’t sound right.”

“Whatever… stop eating the nut butter. It’s expensive!”

While Brent was at the gym I decided to give this whole homemade almond butter business a shot. I loaded up on raw almonds from the bulk bin earlier at the grocery store with the sole purpose of impressing my husband.

I loaded a pound of the nuts into my Ninja blender, added a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of salt and gave it a whirl…

1511016_10203757022226860_2264947289386546958_n

and a whirl… and a whirl… and a whirl

My little Ninja started to smoke and couldn’t quite take the heat. I was left with crushed up chunks of almonds sitting in my blender while I wondered how the hell you actually got this stuff to turn into butter. Was I supposed to add something to it? I decided to change tactics and poured my sandy looking ingredients into my food processor.

1982095_10203757050507567_8668878108682329038_n

Penelope loved watching it whirl around and around and she especially loved getting a taste every time I took the lid off to check the consistency.

10264331_10203757071268086_3324752943052149499_n

“Yay… this is fun!”

10171854_10203757076308212_714233358356299325_n

“Uh… is it supposed to look like this?”

I don’t know Penelope! Brent walked into the house while we whirled and whirled and whirled this stuff in the food processor. He looked from me to the smoke that was starting to rise from the engine and gave me a skeptical look.

So much for being super impressive.

There came a point when I felt like I was just going to have to lose hope on actually creating nut butter (Don’t call it that!). The nuts were starting to form into a doughy consistency where you could take the crumbles out and squish them together to create little balls. I started to contemplate making raw energy balls out of the stuff while silently cursing my friend who is ten times more capable than I am in the kitchen.

(I didn’t really curse you Andrea.)

Yes I did.

I thought about adding some moisture of some sort to the mix to make it come together but then I thought about the ingredient list on the jars of the stuff that I’ve bought. It just said… almonds and salt. So I held onto hope and kept processing the crap out of it.

Suddenly the sandy mixture gave way to doughy mixture which then started to give way to… butter.

1016905_10203757132989629_397304640426859344_n

Yay! We made nut butter!!!

10339679_10203757145589944_8644671054755450609_n

You would not believe how excited Penelope and I were with our nut butter making ways! I proudly marched upstairs with a spoonful of the stuff and shoved it into my husbands face… “Taste it!”

He loved it and even though he didn’t really say so in so many words… I could tell he was super impressed.

10264481_10203757148350013_8430105206261857688_n

Penelope and I decided to try it out ourselves in the form of banana, almond butter and chia seed sandwiches.

10348212_10203757160950328_8551440127442450810_n

We were both pretty impressed too!

Now that I am a nut butter master I can’t wait to try it out using the roasted nuts from the farmer’s market. They have some amazing flavors and I bet it would be delicious. You could roast up some spiced nuts yourself and make butter out of that and give it away as Christmas gifts! (Watch out Andrea… I may end up being as crafty as you 😉 And you may or may not be able to expect a jar of nut butter as a gift some time in the future.)

Homemade Almond Butter

1 lb raw or roasted almonds

drizzle of honey (optional)

1 tsp of salt (or to taste)

Place ingredients into a food processor and process the crap out of it. If necessary give your machine a couple of breaks while processing. The key is to keep faith and keep processing. Don’t give up hope!

Example of nut butter making schedule:

Pulse until your food processor smokes- do a load of laundry. Pulse until food processor smokes- watch some TV. Pulse until is smokes- pick some weeds. Or… if you live on the wild side just pulse in one sitting like I did. If your food processor or blender doesn’t smell funny or isn’t on fire one of two things has happened. You’ve quit trying or you have a much better piece of equipment than I do.

Enjoy!

P.S. Love you Andrea and good luck this week. I’m sure you’ll be a champ while giving birth too!

The Spring Break “To Do” List

Guess what…

d8c145e2eda20f8bf75cb6be52a8c6dc

IT’S SPRING BREAK… YAY!!!

I can not tell you how excited I am! I only have a few more weeks of student teaching left and then I will be free to roam my garden barefoot picking weeds strawberries, going on long bike rides and lounging in the grass.

I just LOVE this time of year!  As I watch green things resurrect themselves from the brown desolate ground I just can’t help but get the feeling that something great is just around the corner. I wake up every morning with that bubbly giddy feeling, fueled by the sound of chirping birds inviting the sun to come out and play.

I feel like I’ve got to live it up while I’ve got the chance! Therefore there has been a “To Do” list designated for this week alone…

The Spring Break “To Do” List

1.) Plan my garden and get it prepped for this season.

10152556_10203381248512752_312891874_n

Say hello to my little friend(s)… thyme, chives, strawberries and tulips

2.) Have a drink… or five with my hubby.

14556_10203381332354848_2125376561_n

Banana Bread Beer. Yep, that just happened… twice.  Chased down with an Apricot something or other, a white gorilla drink (?) and a sour apple beer thingy. Needless to say, Brent and I had found a specialty tap house within walking distance from our house. This seemed awesome at first until I realized that the alcohol content of these beers tend to double that of regular beer. We came home in fine spirits until Brent popped a wad of chew into his lip.  (A new habit he formed while on wild land fire deployment the previous summer.) In an attempt to show him how gross it is to have a significant other with a disgusting habit I also popped a wad of chew in my lip. Every time he spit I spit determined to keep it in as long as he did. I was on a mission to gross him out. Let’s just say my little plan back fired.

I puked… Sandlot style.

ScreenShot2013-04-04at8.51.15AM_crop_exact

Never again… never.

I guess you can say we can scratch that one off of the list.

3.) Watch Divergent with Bridget.

Remember a long time ago when I told you that you should read this little book called Divergent? Well, the movie finally came out and I was charged with organizing a 6th grade ditch day to take a bunch of kids to watch it on the last day of school before spring break.

10151868_10203368691918845_216287488_n

It was SO. GOOD. Bridget and I kind of want to watch it again so that we can look at the actor who plays Four. We were both slightly disturbed to find that we both have a crush on the same actor. I was secretly pleased when Bridget looked up his age, “He’s so old… he’s like  29!” Ha! Ha! I win… never mind the fact that I’m happily married to your father.

3.) Cook Yummy Healthy Stuff.

Before spring break started Brent posted a link to this recipe on my facebook page with the caption, “Please, please… pretty please.” So that’s what we’re having for dinner tonight.

chicken-buffalo-caserole-main

I’m also looking forward to Pinteresting my heart out and sipping on coffee while I browse through food blogs and plan all of the other yummy things I now have the time to make.

4.) Catch up on my trash TV.

I’m behind on Teen Wolf…

Teen_Wolf_Season_3_Scott

Reign…

index

and Downton Abbey…

Downton-Abbey-Cast

5.) Reacquaint myself with my inner athlete.

IMG_2580

My body needs a good ass kicking. I miss my muscles!

I weighed myself after the whole banana bread beer debacle and I weighed in at 185.8. I was feeling abnormally hung over puffy during this weigh in so there’s no telling how much weight I actually lost this week. However, I’m feeling more motivated than ever to shape up for this upcoming summer. I just can’t wait!!!

e2d64d0497cd26ceacb477f924f973b4

I’m Going To Have To Mentally Bitch Slap Myself

Happy Sunday friends!!!

We’ve had a crazy beautiful weekend here in Colorado so instead of sitting inside writing about myself on my stupid laptop I decided to take the time to go outside and play!

1507610_10202969814747165_1887627514_n

We went on our first bike ride since Fall and Bridget took the opportunity to lay outside in the sunshine while she read her book.

1555359_10202966844112901_420820928_n

In fact, the only reason I’m sitting here talking to you now is because I just got back from a run with Scout and I’m waiting for Penelope to wake up so that I can do my grocery shopping.

This week was crazy busy and I felt like I needed some alone time to just sort out all of the stuff that has been rattling around in my head. After my run I felt much better and was able to jot down a few things that I need to accomplish within the next few days…

1184845_10202974273938642_1509914337_n

I think it’s safe to say that I’m getting my ass kicked at the moment.

I busted my butt this past week trying to balance it all.  I did all of my assignments, I worked for nine hours a day and I even managed to go for a run a few times this week after school.

1619418_10202974326259950_1717776192_n

I ran as fast as I could trying to beat the sun as it slipped behind the mountains. I have a feeling the longer the days get the longer my runs will become. I also managed to carve out some time with Bridget doing what we do best…

9397_10202974381941342_1957240994_n

Hoard books!

Is it weird that we have a tendency to pick out the same books from the teen section? It’s bad enough that my students love the fact that I’m addicted to Teen Wolf… I‘m just kidding I don’t really watch Teen Wolf. Yes, I do.

Over all, I feel like this week was the best week I’ve had since I’ve started this student teaching adventure. Brent really stepped up his game and made some really yummy healthy dinners for us this week. But then Thursday rolled around and I was really wishing it was Friday so I pretended like it really was Friday and ordered pizza for dinner. I did this during a moment of weakness. To be honest I was just really feeling sorry for myself for having worked so hard.

After eating the pizza (and drinking the beer that I bought to go with the pizza) a realization hit me. I was totally making excuses for why I should be able to eat like crap.

I’m tired.

I’ve worked so hard.

I just want to relax.

I’ve been responsible in all other aspects of my life, I deserve a chance to let loose.

Well guess what else is going to be let loose this May when my student teaching stint is over?

My thighs that’s what!

The weather is going to be deliciously warm and I’m going to want to go for a run in shorts so that I get can a tan on my pasty gams while I run in the sun. Only I’ll end up with a half wedgie sunburn line because my thighs are going to devour my shorts. Then I’ll hobble home with chapped thighs leaving a trail of traumatized people behind me on the running trail.

Don’t spend too much time trying to visualize the picture I just painted for you because it’s not pretty.

Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is that for the next 13 weeks I’m just going to have to suck it up and do my best. My true best… not the fake best I try to sell to myself when I don’t really want to apply the self-discipline it takes to actually meet goals.

This means I’m going to have to mentally bitch slap myself every time I try to justify what I know is wrong.

Here is a list of things I’m going to have to force myself to do in order to reach my goals:

  1. Eat lots of veggies.
  2. Drink lots of water. (Even if I’m not allowed to have a key to the big people bathroom at school.)
  3. Limit sugar intake.
  4. Only have one alcoholic beverage a week.
  5. Get over my mommy guilt and work out!

My goal is to weigh somewhere in the 170’s by the time I’m done with my student teaching simply because I’ve been stuck in the 180’s for WAY too long.

Weighing in the 180’s wouldn’t be a problem if I were healthy in that weight range but the truth is that I’m not. In fact, I’ve avoided going to the doctor because they are going to want me to test my cholesterol again. Last time I had it checked my levels were high and I don’t want to have to go back in and be put on cholesterol meds. The other goal will be to make a doctor appointment for the beginning of May in order to face the truth and see where I stand on all of that stuff. Hopefully all of my hard work will have paid off by then.

So I guess, this is the part where I tell you how much I weigh. Honestly I keep forgetting to weigh myself. So once again I missed out on the golden post morning pee weigh-in opportunity and had to run up stairs to weigh in for you guys again. I weighed 189.4. This is less than last week but still not where it needs to be. I’m also going to have to take monthly pictures next weekend. Honestly, I’m not really looking forward to it. Since I haven’t been lifting weights everything has gotten fluffier again. But this blog is about being brutally honest with myself so… brace yourself.

And with that I will leave you with two recipes that I plan on making this week…

The first one is Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice, which I plan on making tonight with grilled chicken and roasted asparagus.

cauliflower-rice-2

Doesn’t it look yummy?!

I was also in a French peasant kind of mood so I think I’ll make this split pea soup recipe from Ina Garten.

Parker's Split Pea Soup

I’m waiting for the cold weather to creep up again so that I can sit by the fire with my weekly glass of merlot, slopping up the last bits of this soup with a crusty piece of whole grain bread. Bridget and I will probably practice our French accents that night and Brent will rolls his eyes and pretend like he didn’t marry such a big dork.

Welp folks… I hear Penelope chirping in her crib. So I better head for the store…

996569_10202974794471655_1612471629_n

Hope you have a great week!