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A Domestic Kind of Day

Happy Saturday! Today was quite a lazy day, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that ūüôā

After sleeping in, I debated a workout, but my body was definitely telling me not to. I’ll go into more detail about what’s going on with me next week, after I see a slew of doctors and actually know the deal myself. Pinky promise.

So after I nixed that idea, I had no plans on the agenda. I twiddled my thumbs for a bit, then went on a cleaning binge. Am I the only one who gets in those moods where I just have to scrub down everything in sight as thoroughly as possible? ¬†I’m pretty sure my roommates love it and I secretly do, too. There’s really nothing like a clean apartment. Wow, I sound like a nerd.

Anyway, after my cleaning spree, I decided to get domestic. Off to the kitchen I went! While I’m writing this, I’m wondering what’s wrong with me. Lately I’ve been having the biggest urges to just cook and bake. That never¬†happens. Am I growing up? I don’t know how I feel about this…

After perusing my Pinterest boards for a while, Dustin decided he wanted stuffed shells for dinner. In fact, he told me he has never had them before. What?! That pretty much sealed the deal. And since we’re both huge taco fans, I went with these Mexican stuffed shells for a bit of an added kick. I followed the recipe exactly, except I cut out the green onions, used whipped cream cheese, ¬†and topped the shells with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

They didn’t take too long to make, and I was able to simultaneously make these cookies. Holy yum. The only difference in my recipe? I nixed the pretzel salt (because I didn’t have any) and used peanut butter m&m’s instead of peanut butter chips. They came out really well. Dustin isn’t a huge fan of baked goods and he’s already had two, so I know this one’s a keeper.

After all of that hard work, I had a delicious dinner of stuffed shells with mixed vegetables (I used a steamable bag that I just popped in the microwave)…

A cookie for dessert…

And a glass of California red wine to wash it all down with.

A pretty good night, if you ask me.

Now I’m off to watch the rest of the Broncos/Patriots game with Dustin. Go Pats!

Now you tell me: What’s one of your favorite dinner recipes? ¬†How about cookies? I’m looking for new ideas to satisfy this crazy craving to cook!¬†

Sweets Overload

Happy day after Easter!

Most wouldn’t consider this a special occasion, but it is for me every year. Yes, I do all of my normal things, but it feels like a treat because I don’t¬†do my normal things over the long weekend. For some reason, Easter persuades me to overindulge every year. I keep myself in check for all of the major holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday — but whenever Easter rolls around I can’t seem to get food in my mouth fast enough. What gives?

This guy is out to get me.

After indulging in more than my fair share of sweets this weekend, my body was seriously craving a nice round of exercise and some healthy eats. I was more than happy to oblige.

Mexicali Porkchops.

While breakfast and lunch were both nutritious, dinner really stole the show. I had some pork chops that needed to be used up before they spoiled (already thawed out), so I broke out the old-fashioned cook books for a new recipe. The winner came from“Better Homes and Gardens’ New Cook Book” from 1981!

Throwback!

I stuck mostly to the recipe, but swapped out a few ingredients for what was already lying around the house.

Lots o' veggies in there.

The dish perfectly satisfied my taste buds and my body was so happy to get so many good veggies in one dish. I also had a big helping of green beans on the side.

The steam was fogging up my lens.

I recommend this recipe to anyone looking for a little kick in their dinner! It was easy to throw everything together and I got some homework done while the pork chops baked in the oven.

So how do you make it? I won’t force you to go find the ’81 cookbook I had lying around, so here’s the recipe:

Mexicali Porkchops (makes four servings)

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 16-ounce can of tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 8-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 8-ounce can red kidney beans, drained (I used black beans)
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Few dashes bottled hot pepper sauce

Directions

  1. Trim fat from chops. Cook chops in skillet until golden brown. Set chops aside.
  2. Combine all other ingredients in a pot and boil on medium heat until rice is cooked and mixture is boiling.
  3. Pour mixture into a baking dish; arrange chops on top so they’re slightly mixed in. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
  4. Uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until meat is tender.

As for exercise, I logged three miles on the treadmill and completed about 20 minutes of strength training. I was supposed to have an intramural softball game this evening, but it was cancelled due to rain. Boo.

My body is more than ready for me to get back into my healthy eating habits. I’ve had way too much sugar lately and combined with stress, it’s a quick recipe for a body crash. Speaking of, I’m heading to bed for a good seven hours of sleep!

What about you? Do you overindulge on Easter, or any other holiday? How do you get back on track?

Survive Thanksgiving Dinner

Image via Wired

Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s socially known as the over-eating holiday. When you think about going home to your family and sitting down to a nice Thanksgiving meal, what do you envision? A table full of food. How much of that food do you dig into? Almost all of it. That’s what I thought. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as you would think to survive the meal in a healthy manner. Here are¬†a few tips to help you get through the holiday guilt-free, while still enjoying the deliciousness around you.

Be sweet. Instead of gorging on the stuffing, opt for a serving of sweet potatoes. They’re a great source for fiber, vitamin A and potassium, and they’re a filling side dish to that coveted turkey.

Go¬†crazy¬†for cranberries. They’re¬†filled with antioxidants to help keep you healthy during the¬†beginning of cold and flu season. Just make sure you don’t snag the canned variety — they’re often packed with unhealthy amounts of sugar. Try making your own instead: the Alliance for a Healthier Generation suggests mashing fresh cranberries with orange juice and a splash¬†of apple juice concentrate.

Skin the turkey. You’ll shave off about 33 calories and four grams of fat just by passing on the skin, says fit sugar.¬†Instead, head straight for the white meat to get a great source of protein. Opting for white meat instead of dark will also save you four calories and one fat gram per ounce. But if you’re a lover of dark meat, don’t nix it completely. It actually has more iron, zinc and¬†riboflavin than white meat.

Veg out. Fall veggies such as squash, green beans and pumpkin are excellent side dishes that provide color to your plate. Pumpkin, a Thanksgiving staple, is filled with Beta-carotene, an important antioxidant vitamin that gives pumpkin its orange tint. Remember an important healthy-eating rule: always have lots of color on your plate! Generally speaking, the more color you have on your plate, the better off you likely are. If there’s a lot of brown on your plate, try mixing in some fruits and veggies for instant improvement.

Image via I Just Love Food

Hydrate with H2O. Alcohol, soda and coffee all dehydrate you, so try to avoid them. Staying hydrated helps your body stay aware of when it’s full, so make sure you drink plenty of water. Plus, new research in The New York Times says that drinking water before a meal can reduce caloric intake and help with your weight loss goals.

Get fruity. Apples, pears and blueberries are all great fillers for pies that are not only delicious, they’ll provide you with more nutrient boosters than a cheesecake or chocolate pie would. Looking for a simple switch to make the pie healthier? Swap out white flour for whole wheat flour when baking.

Practice portions. To make sure you have room for all the food varieties, pile small portions on your plate. The more control you put forth, the more you’ll be able to taste. After all, having a little bit¬†of everything is more pleasant for your palate than a sensory overload of one item. Keep mixing things up and you’ll be able to know for sure who really brought the best dish.

What’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving dinner? Have you learned any healthy eating tips over the years?

National Dessert Day a Treat

Isn't he scrumptious? Photo: JETSTAR

One of my favorite holidays arrived: National Dessert Day!

Ok, it’s not really my favorite holiday, but it deserves a lot of credit! Too many people spend their days counting every single calorie and worrying over their figures. But the first thing you need to understand is that you are beautiful! I know it sounds cheesy, the whole “beauty is on the inside thing,” but that’s where it starts. If you’re not confident about yourself, then you’re not going to look attractive to anyone, no matter how much you workout or how much you watch what you’re eating.

I fully believe in desserts and don’t believe anyone should deprive themselves. Girls are especially prone to crave sweets more than men, so don’t cut yourself off from that piece of chocolate! All you have to do is enjoy in moderation. Have a scoop of ice cream instead of five. Better yet, try frozen yogurt! It’s usually just as tasty and slashes the calorie count nearly in half.

Be mindful of what you’re eating. If you enjoy something sweet, you can usually find a healthier version that will help you keep your calorie-count in check. So in honor of National Dessert Day, here are a few healthy dessert options I turn to when experiencing a severe sweet tooth:

1. Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches

These delicious treats taste just as good as ¬†“normal” ¬†ice cream sandwiches, but only register 140 calories. They come in a variety of flavors, like chocolate peanut butter, strawberry shortcake and cookies n’ cream. I enjoyed the traditional vanilla ice cream sandwich today, settled between two chocolate wafers.

2. Low-Calorie  Cupcakes

After watching episode four of The Biggest Loser, I can’t stop craving Curtis Stone’s 100-calorie yet oh-so-delectable raspberry frosted cupcakes. The secret: you don’t use any butter! Replace white flour with wheat flour and use pureed raspberries instead of sugar-concentrated frosting, and you’ve drastically reduced the calorie count but kept the great taste! NBC provided Stone’s full recipe, and I can’t wait to taste-test it myself! (Psst: Stone also gave NBC 14 other healthy recipes to try!)

3. Jello

Who doesn’t love this childhood treat? I remember gorging on this when I had my wisdom teeth taken, out and I turn to it when I have strep throat and need a break from chicken noodle soup. Jello only has 80 calories, so feel free to toss a dollop of fat-free whipped topping on top. Two tablespoons will add 20 calories and you’re entire snack is only 100 calories!

What’s your favorite healthy dessert to munch on? I have a pretty big sweet tooth, so I’m willing to give it a try!