Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Egg Muffins

I'm always on the look out for easy and tasty breakfasts I can bring to work.  Lets face it, oatmeal gets old after a while.

These "egg muffins" are super easy to make.  Not only are they easy to take to work, they'd be great to make ahead for a brunch with friends!

Here are the simple steps...Get creative!

Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray or use muffin cups
One egg in each cup
Break the yolk (I like yolk so I didn't scramble the eggs, but you could)
Add whatever toppings you want to cook in.  I used red bell pepper, red onion and small pieces of lettuce.
Cook at 350 for 20 minutes or until firm - keep an eye on them after 15 minutes or so.
Cool and store in Tupperware.

I took the egg to work, broke it up and mashed it (technical term) onto a sandwich thin (English Muffin would be a better size), added a small piece of cheddar cheese and heated it up in the microwave.  YUM!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Adventures

Not only did B and I have an adventurous weekend, Rudy did too!

Some people seem to be having trouble viewing this video but it's worth a shot.  Rudy was the star of the News12 Westchester news segment on the Doggy Olympics at Best Friends!

For those who can't see the video, a gratuitous Rudy pic instead, cause he's just so cute!

Now for the human adventure...
B and I went to Club Getaway with a couple of friends, J & M.  Despite raining most of the weekend, it was a lot of fun.
I really wanted to trapeze, even managed to psych myself up for it, but got rained out both times.  B was, as usual, unnaturally good at it even his first time.

When the sun came out, the lake was pretty nice.  The water slide was definitely a popular activity.  Even I tried it, I swear, even though there aren't any pictures (B was in the water with me).

We also did a "Fun Mudder" which was fun, and muddy.  And of course there was the bar...
The food was really good, and there was plenty of it.  We'll be going again, I think, hopefully we'll get a less rainy weekend next time!

Finally, a bonus Monday Night Meal - Chicken & Cous Cous

We had some leftover whole wheat cous cous, so I reheated that and added some steamed french cut green beans.  On top I put breaded chicken and with a little bit of jalapeno hummus.  Not too bad!

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Two for One Day!!

I have two recipes for you today!  Just cooking up a storm (and my kitchen is showing the damage.  What a mess!) :-)

Last night I made Personal Sized Baked Oatmeal.  I even took a picture of it!

I followed the recipe pretty closely but found that when scooping the batter into the muffin pan 1/2 cup is too much.  I used a 1/3 cup scoop and it worked much better.
Oh, and I didn't have Flax Seeds so I left those out.  I probably should have substituted Chia seeds but didn't think of it at the time.
They came out good but could maybe use a few more minutes in the oven (I baked for 30 minutes).  
For toppings I added peanuts and peanut butter, cranberries, and blueberries.  

I like this recipe because it's not difficult, you can use what's in the house already for toppings, and it makes a lot so you can freeze some for later.

And maybe my new favorite food ever (except ice cream, but really, what could top ice cream?):  Quinoa Mac & Cheese. (And another picture...)

Confession:  I cut one corner off the picture because I couldn't resist and already ate some!



The only change I made to this recipe is that I coated the top of the whole dish with Panko breadcrumbs before baking.  I didn't put any veggies in it, broccoli would be good.  I had roasted veggies left over from our cookout this weekend, so I had those on the side instead.

Pretty sure I could eat the whole thing in one sitting but I'll be good.  Doing that would screw up the rest of my meal plan for the week!  I packed up some for lunch over the next few days and froze some for a treat next time I'm craving mac & cheese.

Enjoy!  If you try these recipes (or any I post), let me know how it goes.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


One of our favorite things to do when the weather is nice is have a cookout with friends. Since the weather was pretty much perfect yesterday, we had a few people over to hang out. 
We kept the menu simple with just hot dogs, hamburgers and grilled veggies.

We had to pick up some of the food earlier in the day, so while B was in Best Buy buying a new camera (maybe this will lead to me actually taking pictures for this blog), I stopped by Trader Joe's to get what we needed.  
I wanted to get something sweet for dessert so I browsed the table of cookies and cakes and found Whoopee Pies!  They looked tasty and there was just the right number for our party so I got those and some vanilla ice cream.  This lead to our newest tasty treat discovery:

Trader Joe Whoopee Pie + Vanilla Ice Cream + Hershey's Chocolate Syrup + Bailey's Irish Cream = YUM!!!  I bet graham cracker crumbled on top would be tasty too, maybe next time!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meatloaf - Version 1

I've tried a couple of times before to make meatloaf.  I wouldn't call past attempts completely unsuccessful, but I haven't found my "keeper" recipe yet.  So, tonight I tried again.

I found this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I've had for years.  I like that this recipe gives you ingredient options, so you can use what you have on hand.  The full recipe is below, as written in the cookbook.  I highlighted the ingredients I used or noted where I made other changes.

Meat Loaf (makes 4 servings)

1 beaten egg
3/4 C soft bread crumbs (1 slice) or 1/4 cup fin dry bread crumbs. (I used 3/4 C Panko bread crumbs)
1/4 C milk, beer, apple juice, or water 
1/4 C finely chopped onion (1/2 of a medium) or 1 T dried minced onion 
1/4 C finely chopped celery, green sweet pepper, or shredded carrot, or one 2 oz can mushrooms, drained and chopped (optional) 
2 T snipped parsley (optional - I opted out)
1/2 tsp dried sage, thyme, basil or oregano, crushed or dried dill-weed
1 lb ground beef or ground lamb (I used ground turkey)
2 T bottled bbq sauce, chili sauce, or ketchup

1. In a mixing bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, milk, beer, apple juice or water; onion, celery, sweet pepper, carrot, or mushrooms (if desired); parsley (if desired); sage, thyme, basil, oregano, or dill-weed; salt and pepper to taste.  Add ground meat and mix well.

2. In a shallow baking dish pat mixture into a 7x3x2 loaf (or shape into a ring 6 inches in diameter with a 2 inch hole in the center)

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven till no pink remains.  Bake loaf for 45 - 50 minutes; bake ring for 25 - 30 minutes.  Transfer to a platter.  Top with bbq sauce, chili sauce, or ketchup.

And the verdict is: 

Per my meatloaf loving husband "it's about as good as you can expect with turkey instead of beef."
It was a little dry but ok with some ketchup or bbq sauce added.  I think I'll try it with beef  before deciding if it's a "keeper" or not.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Strong is the new Skinny"

I'm back on the exercise bandwagon.  I hope it sticks this time.
I tend to be an "all or nothing" kinda girl, so either I'm working out every day or I'm...well...not.
I'm trying to find a balance, but it's tough.  So, I'm enjoying being in the "all" mode for now.

I guess you could call me a runner.  It is my first choice of cardio exercise even though I'm super slow and it's hard for me to get going most of the time.  I've been good over the last few weeks, running 3-4 times per week.  This past week I finally got over that hurdle of feeling like I was forcing every step and it's getting easier now.
I don't do well in the heat, so I run on the treadmill in the summer.  I'm really looking forward to some cooler weather so I can run outside again without overheating.  Well, that and I'm generally sick of 90 degree days - enough already!

I actually enjoy strength training.  Maybe that's a throwback to my gymnastics days.  Trouble with strength training is that, while I know what to do, I really need someone to tell me to do it.  Classes are good but get old.  Lately I've been finding some workouts online that I can do at home that seem to do the job.

Tonight I did the "I Can Only Imagine" workout on http://www.bodyrock.tv/.  I'm definitely going to be sore tomorrow!!

My current motivation trick - I get a point for each day I work out (break a sweat, get my heart rate up for at least 30 minutes) and when I hi 50 points I'm going to make myself a spa appointment.  I can't wait for a hot stone massage!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One for the books...

This past weekend was very busy, as usual, but very but doing very different things than normal.

For my Mom's 65th birthday we had professional pictures taken at Portrait Simple at the mall in West Hartford.  It was...interesting. 
The photographer was fine.  I think she was used to taking pictures of kids and wasn't quite sure what to do with 5 adults. But, we ended up with some nice shots and Mom got a formal picture of the family like she wanted, so that's what matters in the end. 
Our nephew (A, 5.5 yrs old) managed to not actually smile like a normal person in any picture taken. 

(Note to self: time limit before 3 and 5 year olds start bouncing off the walls ~ 15 minutes.)

After the photo shoot we went to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch.   Another interesting experience for childless folks like us.  The food was ok, the whole forest theme is very detailed and the apes were actually pretty cool.  The kids certainly enjoyed it, even if they didn't actually eat anything and basically spent the time climbing all over the booth. 

Then, the main activity for the weekend: Backyard Camping.

After lunch we all headed back to my brother (J) and sis-in-law (K)'s house.  The idea was to introduce the kids to camping in an easy, non-threatening way so that we can really camp with them when they're older.
It went MUCH better than expected.

We played with the kids for a while (they are REALLY good at winning games, it helps when you make up the rules as you go along) and cooked dinner out on the grill - hot dogs, beans, corn, grilled pineapple.  They have a "fire pit" that we used for our campfire so we could make s'mores (YUM!).

B and I brought glow sticks to help distract the kids once it got dark.  Their normal bed time is actually before sundown in the summer, so they were getting a bit overtired by 9 or so.  The glow sticks bought us about 15 more minutes - enough time to clean up - before any major meltdowns.

J&K borrowed a tent from a neighbor that was big enough to sleep them and both kids.  They put an air mattress in the tent for the kids (I think K slept on it too).  I was jealous, we just had our sleeping bags and mats.  At least the weather cooled down enough to sleep comfortably and it did rain or thunder.

The kids quieted down pretty quickly, after B gave them a shadow animal show through the tent wall.  We really need to practice how to make better shadow animals, there must be a YouTube video on that...
Amazingly, our niece (S, 3.5 yrs old) managed to sleep outside the entire night (about 10pm until 7am).  J stayed in the tent with her.  A had an "accident" at about 2:30am, so he and K went back inside to get cleaned up and just stayed in for the rest of the night.

Thanks to the crazy day on Saturday the kids were a little crabby today.  So after breakfast B and I headed home :-).  Ok, so really it was because we had lots of cleaning and laundry (and napping) to do.

 **Pictures will be added as soon

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Zucchini, Black Bean and Rice Skillet

I'm not sure why I've been making mostly vegetarian meals lately, but I've been finding some good ones so I'm not complaining.  Here's a really easy and tasty meal I made for dinner tonight!

  • 1 T Canola Oil
  • 1 1/2 C Sliced Zucchini, quartered
  • 1/2 C green pepper, diced
  • 15 oz can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes (with garlic - or add garlic)
  • 3/4 C Water
  • 1/2 C Shredded cheese (type of your choice)
  • 1 C Rice, Instant (I used brown rice)
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, undrained tomatoes and water. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Add rice; stir well. Cover; remove from heat and let stand 7 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with cheese.

For me, letting it stand the 7 minutes wasn't enough to get the liquid to absorb into the rice.  I left it on the heat (low) until the liquid was absorbed and the rice was fluffy.

This recipe makes a lot, so it'd be good for a dinner for family / friends or if you want leftovers for weekday meals.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Night Meals - Pasta with Broccoli

I use Fresh Direct for my grocery shopping and have them deliver every Monday evening.  It's super convenient, especially since I loathe going to the grocery store.

I've also been trying to eat "real" fresher, less processed, food.   Luckily Fresh Direct carries a lot of that.

However, this means that I have little to no food around for Monday (starting to miss my preservatives!).  My delivery doesn't arrive until sometime between 8 and 10 PM, since this is when I can consistently be home to receive it.  So, if I don't plan ahead, I am one hangry girl by the time my food arrives.  This isn't good for anyone involved.

I thought I'd add a "Monday Night Meals" series to my blog so on future hungry Mondays I can look back and see what creative (or at least edible) ideas I came up with in the past using whatever I have on hand.

Tonight's entry:  Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic

  • 1 serving of whole wheat pasta (this time I used ziti)
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan
I cooked the pasta and broccoli, drained, and put both back in the saucepan.  I added a little bit of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and cooked briefly on me/low heat to blend flavors (seemed to make sense, I am not a chef).
Served (aka, dumped on plate) with some grated Parmesan.

Quick and tasty!

I should have taken a picture, it actually looked pretty good, but I didn't think of doing this post until after I ate it.  Oops!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weekend in the Windy City

We finished off this crazy week by taking Friday off and heading to Chicago for the weekend.  We went mostly to visit some friends of ours who moved there about a year and a half ago from New York.  We had a great time - here's a review of what we did!

Friday (record setting 102 degree day):  We got up super early and to catch an 8:15 flight out of JFK.  Thanks to the time change we were at O'Hare by 10am.
Thankfully our friends live right near the blue line, so we jumped on the "L" and made our way to their place.  We relaxed and cooled off for a little while, had a quick lunch, and headed to Millennium Park to take all of the obligatory touristy pictures like:

A picture of ourselves (and some strangers) reflected in The Bean.  People were laying on their backs under the bean and doing all sorts of crazy things for creative pictures.   

Then we braved the heat for the Chicago Architectural Foundation's architectural boat tour.  This was a great way to get a sense of the history and layout of Chicago.  They also had really tasty Raspberry Vodka Lemonades.  Proof we really did it:

Then we went "home" to cool off (did I mention it was 102 degrees??).

We started the evening out getting drinks at Haymarket Pub & Brewery.  The beer was good, as was the flatbread appetizer we got to justify sitting at table.
For dinner we went to Nellcote.  This is a new restaurant just a few blocks from where our friends live.  They serve small plates (like tapas) and everything we got was delicious.  Favorites were the rib-eye, robuchon potatoes, and baba ah rhum (bread soaked in rum) for dessert.  The wine wasn't bad either - we had a Malbec, not sure of the specifics.
We had to wait a while when we arrived, despite our reservation, so they comped some sparkling wine and an appetizer pizza for us.  Totally forgiven!!  The people watching was great too, some very questionable wardrobe choices to be seen!
Our last stop was supposed to be the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building.  But, when we got there, the line was crazy long.  So instead we went next door to Disotto Enoteca in the Senaca Hotel to kill some time.  This place was really neat, one of my favorites of the weekend.
After about an hour and another bottle of wine, we went back to the Hancock building and right up to the Signature Room.  We just stayed for a few minutes to check out the view (oh, and the best view really is from the ladies room):

We tried to get some pictures with us in them but we're not such great photographers, especially after a couple bottles of wine.

Saturday the weather was much cooler.  We slept in and kicked off the day having lunch at Giordano's for stuffed pizza (we got sausage and pepperoni).  Oh my, so tasty.
We walked off some of the pizza by trekking past Navy Pier over to Oak Street Beach where they have a little bar/taco shack where you can sit and relax.  After soaking in some sun we headed home for a nice long nap.
We wanted to go to Aviary for drinks before dinner.  However, you have to email them in the morning and hope your email is "randomly selected" for a reservation.  Ours were not.  So, instead we first took a car trip around the city to see the remaining sites (Wrigley Field, etc).  Then grabbed dinner in Greektown at Athena.  This restaurant's roof opens so the dining room is basically one huge patio.  The weather had cooled down so it was a beautiful place to enjoy our dinner outside with a great view of the Chicago skyline.
To close out the night we went to Market Bar for a nightcap.  This is the place to see and be seen if you're a 20 something year old, scantily-clad, woman; a really drunk guy; or celebrating a bachelorette party.

Overall we had a great time and can't wait for our next visit.

Thanks again to A & V for hosting us and being our tour guides!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spontaneous Puppy Picture

This is here mostly because I wanted to learn how to put a picture in my post.
But seriously, who can resist this face?

Introducing Rudy the Dachshund!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

All American 4th of July

Most people do the typical 4th of July stuff - have a cookout with friends, watch a parade or see some fireworks, maybe play with some sparklers.  What do we do?  None of that.

This year we lounged around the house all day playing iPod games (though we did go for a run, go us!) and then had Korean BBQ for dinner in NYC.  At least it was BBQ, that's sort of July 4th-ish, right?

And, thanks to the fact that the holiday fell on a Wednesday this year and we have to work tomorrow, I'm in my pjs writing this at 9:45pm.  PARTY!

On a plus note, we had that Korean dinner with a friend we hadn't seen in almost a year.  It was really nice to visit with him and meet one of his new friends as well.

Dinner was at Wonjo Restaurant on 32nd St.  It was good, I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.  The food was tasty but I don't think I'd seek the place out to eat there again.  We had a better experience at Kori in Tribeca once a few years ago.  We really should go back to that place sometime soon.

As strange as this week is with the holiday in the middle, it was nice to get a random day off :-)  Hopefully tomorrow will be quiet.

Friday we're off to Chicago!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Blog, huh?

I don't know why I wanted to start a blog, but I did.  So, here we are.

I haven't decided yet what this blog will be about, so I guess it'll just be a chronicle of my life - trials, tribulations, adventures, and debacles. 

I don't have any impressive talents, entertaining skills, or expert knowledge.  I'm just a normal woman trying to figure why being an adult is not at all what I expected when I was a kid.
And how I ended up selling insurance...but I'm sure there will be more on that later.

Oh, and I'd imagine there will be quite a few pictures of my doggy, too.  Since I can't resist.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride...I wonder where it'll go!