Foodie PenPal Reveal Day!

I decided to try joining the Foodie Penpal Experience during the month of July. See bottom of post  for more details.

My foodie penpal for July is Caitlin over at CaitPlusAte.com

She was extremely nice and I enjoyed talking to her via email.

Items I received:

1. Wild Harvest Natural Cherry Vanilla Granola Cereal. I’m in love, did I say I was in love. This cereal is seriously AWESOME!!!  It took me a couple days to eat the entire box. It was so addicting.

2. A Lovely note

3. Organic Apple Harvest Crunch Dried Fruit. Kids loved i t.

4. Wild Harvest Creamy Peanut Butter. Mmmm peanut butterrrr

5. Wild Harvest California Raisins.  Will put these to use.

6. Wild Harvest organic Animal Crackers.  GONE in 2 days

7. Three Barre bars – black swan chocolate berry, pirouette cinnamon pecan, and ballerina spirulina
8. Marys Gone double Chocolate cookie
9. ThinkThin Crunch Fruit and nut bar

All the cookies and bars were delightful.  My favorites were the ThinkThin Crunch Fruit and Nut Bar and the Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan bar.


Below is all the information details about the  Foodie Penpals.

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for August, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

Are you having a healthy day Thursday?

I have 2 hours before midnight. I MUST do my Thursday post. LOL

Who doesn’t love taco night.  I did my taco night a little bit different.  I made a salad consisting of feta, celery, garden lettuce, shredded carrots, and garden tomatoes.  Notice how I’m throwing in the word “garden” a lot. YES, we are finally getting food from all the lovely gardens in the area.

Now, when I cook the taco meat, after the meat is done and prior to throwing in the spice packet, I throw in a big carrot shredded and some kind of green. I have done arugula and spinach in the past. Today, I chopped up and used beet greens that I got at the farmers market yesterday.  OK so this time I didn’t’ use the word garden, and instead used the word “Farmers Market”.   Do you recognize a theme?  : )

Lastly, the taco’s were filled with the salad mixture, the meat mixture, some extra chopped tomatoes, sour cream, and taco sauce.  I have to have sour cream and taco sauce on my taco’s. What do you like to put on your taco’s?

When I was at the first farmers market of the season in a nearby town yesterday, one lady had  some home bread. It’s called OatMeal Graham bread.  Now, lately I haven’t been eating bread – but how could I pass up some homemade bread.  I can’t tell you the last time I had homemade bread. Woops ok so I had some at a restaurant once, but you know what I mean. ; ).  The lady told me it was a big family favorite.  It’s so fresh and good. I made a breakfast sandwich out of it this morning. I cooked up a few eggs, threw in a couple salami slices, and some American Cheese. I also had a banana.

Lunch was a bit of a rush.  It’s hot these days and I’ve been busy.  I had to eat my lunch while getting ready for a conference call.  I couldn’t even relax and had to eat it standing up. I had some left over potato salad, a couple of fresh strawberries that I got from the “Farmers Market”, and some pretzels. I also had MM”s tonight.   I know, not so healthy.  I can’t be perfect every Thursday. : ). I think that’s it. I didn’t keep track of absolutely everything. When I’m running around doing a million things, I forget things.  But, all and all – that was my day today. Oh and the potato salad is a good one, it actually has roasted beets in it – which I would of never of thought to put into a salad.

It’s I’m having a healthy day what about you? Thursday

I’d like to blog more often. I’m sure I will in the future, but some weeks all I have time for is my popular Thursday blog.  I’m having a healthy day what about you Thursday?  I did a mini fast today, so I didn’t eat until 11am. I had a bunch of almonds. Sometimes when I’m watching what I eat, I’ll count the almonds, but today I didn’t.  I probably had  2-3 servings.

Than around 12:30 ish, I treated myself to lunch at BeanTowne.  I had the”Not Yo Mama’s BLT”.  It had Bacon, Green-Leaf Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado and Garlic Mayo.  I had it on a spinach wrap.  It was a VERY good sandwich. I also had a Chocolate Banana Smoothie with a shot of espresso and some Protein Powder thrown into the mix. I’m not obsessed with Protein Powder, but I do like to have it added to my smoothies sometimes, especially on some of my work-out days. I also use it occasionally in cooking.  I will most definitely have to post my favorite protein blueberry pancakes some day.

For Supper I had some left over Fish Chowder. A friend of ours went fishing. He caught a TON of fish and he shared some of his fish with us. : )

I made this Baked Fish Chowder and WOW was it delicious. I have to admit that the site where I got the recipe from (http://blog.mainefoodandlifestyle.com/) is a very!! good site. I absolutely love it and have many recipes I will continue to make over and over.  You can’t comment on a lot of her posts, which is a shame because I’d love to send her a lot of Thank-You’s. I repeated the recipe below. Any kind of soup I’ve ever made has been on the stove. I can’t believe how good this came out and the entire soup is baked in the oven.  I crumbled a good 4-6 Ritz Crackers on the top.

I probably could have had more vegetables today. I was originally going to make a recipe called spicy-kale-stuffed-shells with ground turkey added into the mix.  I didn’t want to turn the oven on due to the heat and my kids keep me pretty busy so I didn’t have time to prepare it.

I’m afraid this will be my first post since starting this blog with no pictures.

Baked Fish Chowder
Karyl Bannister, Cook & Tell

2 pounds haddock, hake, or pollack fillets
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup chopped fresh celery leaves
2½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
3 medium onions, cut into chunks
8 Tablespoon (1 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces
¼ teaspoon dried dill weed
2 cups half-and-half or light cream

Preheat oven to 375°.

Put the fish in a 3-quart casserole dish with a cover or a Dutch oven. Layer the potatoes and celery leaves on top of the fish. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, cayenne, and chili powder, then add the garlic and bay leaf. Top with the onions, butter, and dill. Pour in 2¼ cups boiling water. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Scald the half-and-half or cream and stir it into the chowder. Remove the bay leaf and serve hot with crusty bread or crackers.

It’s I’m having a healthy day what about you? Thursday.

SUPPER: How easy is it to cut the backbone out of a small chicken and get it ready to go on the grill.  Super easy. I tucked some garlic, orange slices and butter under the skin. Rubbed butter, salt, and pepper all over it. Onto the grill it went until it was finished.  I also cut up a few red potatoes, 1 zucchini, grabbed some big swiss chard stems and cut up a small beet. Sprinkled olive oil, salt and pepper on them and threw them on the grill as well. I plan on making some chicken broth and soup with the left over chicken and bones.

LUNCH:    I had the last of my puree bean soup with a scoop of full fat greek yogurt. My previous post has the bean soup recipe.  I also had another one of my favorite salads called “Potato Salad with Arugula”.  I had the last of my batch with my lunch today.  You steam 2lbs of small red potatoes and cut into pieces. You mix potatoes, cooked bacon, chopped red onion, minced garlic and cherry tomatoes (halved) together. When ready to serve, serve over large bed of arugula and mix with vinaigrette.  The best vinaigrette to make is to mix 6 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and 1-2 teaspoons of brown mustard.   This salad comes from Tracey Miller. She is a Board Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach and she was my coach last summer  for a little while.

BREAKFAST: Smoothie (frozen banana, tablespoon of almond butter, 1/3 cup of fat-free ricotta cheese, swiss chard leaves, and unsweetened almond milk). I also had some left over pizza. The picture is what the pizza looked like when I first took it out of the oven the other day. I reheat the left overs in my toaster oven.  The crust of the pizza is made with a combination of shredded and cooked cauliflower, almond flour/meal and parmasan cheese. You can use nutritional yeast flakes instead of the parmasan cheese, actually the original recipes only states nutritional yeast flakes but I never tried them.  You can get the recipe from Lee Supercharged.

SNACKS: OK I posted and published without listing my snacks. I swear I didn’t do it on purpose. LOL. I had one munchkin from dunkin donuts. I had 1 decaf french vanilla icecoffee with cream only with an expresso shot mixed into it. I also had a small handful of my kids popcorn and 2 tablespoons of Cabots Bac’n Horseradish sour cream dip with some blue corn chips and lastly, a handful of green grapes with my kids.  I did measure the dip because if I didn’t I probably would of eat to much. I have to be careful because with summer here, cookouts, icecream stands opening all over the place, I’ve been having my share of treats as of lately.

I’m having a healthy day what about you?

It’s I’m having a healthy day what about you? Thursday.

Hello. How is everyone. Did you eat healthy today?   My mother-in-law gave me all her old Prevention magazines.  I came across a recipe called Lentil and Bean Soup.  It was pretty good. I’ve been feeling the need to get more beans into my diet.  The recipe didn’t say to puree it, but I did. I have a hard time eating a lot of beans in its whole form.  I also added a lot more parsley than it called for and I added Arugula into it.  I’ll post the recipe below.  I ate a lot of this today.

I also had some of my left over Quinoa Tabouleh Salad as shown in the picture. I love this salad.  It comes from Jen over at TheFitHousewife.com As I’ve mentioned before – great Blog.  I’ve made this salad many times.  She has a lot of recipes and good information pertaining to health.  It makes a lot and you can eat it as side dish or eat it as your meal.  Click on link to get the recipe.

I sometimes wonder why I can’t think of such simple things.  Jen over at TheFitHousewife.com doesn’t let the end of peanut butter jars go to waste. You know how sometimes there is very little left on the sides of the jar, you probably just throw it away right?  Today I put a small handful of dry roasted peanuts, a small handful of raisins, teaspoon of coco-powder, a lot of blueberries, very little unsweetened almond milk, teaspoon of coconut oil, small handful of Quick Oats and maybe about 10 chocolate chips. I put the cover back on, mixed it.  I grabbed a spoon and  mixed it more. Than I ate it right from the jar.  YUM!! Thanks Jen!  : )

A small handful of pistachios for a snack.  I bought pistachio’s because I needed them for my favorite Quinoa based hot cereal. I’ll post about the cereal in the future. : )

Finally, I went to a pampered chef party and had a slice of some desert pizza and one big Strawberry Mojito drink.

Lentil and Bean Soup

1 onion chopped

1 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup of dried lentils

5 cups of water

1 can of tomato sauce

3 carrots, chopped

3 ribs of celery, chopped

1 can of black beans rinsed and drained

3 1/2 oz of smoke gouda shredded

2 tablespoons of parsley and/or scallion tops

1/4 cup of sour cream (optional).

1. SAUTE onion in oil over medium high heat until golden – about 5 minutes. Stir in Chili Powder and salt

2. ADD lentils and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, carrots and celery. Simmer 10 minutes. Add beans and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  PUREE with immersion blender if you want.  I also had a big huge!! handful of Arugula and a lot more Parsley.

3. STIR in Cheese. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with sour cream if you desire.

Eggplant and Chicken Casserole

I sort of just threw this together and it came out so good.  First I was looking at a recipe called Roasted Eggplant Salad with smoked almonds and goat cheese.  I didn’t have all the ingredients so I did NOT follow the entire recipe.  I will definitely try it some day.

What I did do was follow the first section of the recipe and along with a few other things put together an Eggplant and Chicken Casserole. FIRST SECTION of  the recipe that I followed is below. Than I took our favorite Crushed Red Pepper Chicken  left-overs and mixed it in with the roasted Egg Plant.   That recipe is also below.  After that, I thought it would probably be yummy if someone incorporated tortilla’s and cheese like I do when I make Mexican Lasagna. So I tore up ONE big flour tortilla and put it on the bottom of a glass casserole dish. I than poured the Roasted Egg Plant/Chicken mixture on top and than shredded Sharp Cheddar and Grated Parmesan on top of that.  Any cheese will do I’m sure.  than back into the oven for about 15 minutes.  SOOOOO good.  You can see the missing row in the picture. I was hungry. : ).  Also, note* I only had one eggplant so I scaled the ingredients down just a tad.

FIRST SECTION OF RECIPE that I incorporated into my recipe.

2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
Kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped  (or minced garlic from a jar)

Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and set aside while making the marinade.

Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar,  smoked paprika, and cumin.  Dab away any extra water that has beaded up on the eggplant and toss with the marinade. Stir in the garlic. Spread the eggplant on a large baking sheet, lined with parchment and slide onto a rack placed in the center of the oven. Roast at 400°F for 20-40 minutes, or until very tender and slightly browned. (Stir every 15 minutes and check after 30 minutes to make sure it isn’t burning.) Remove from the oven and cool slightly.  You can also lightly spray a baking sheet if you don’ t have parchment.

CRUSHED RED PEPPER CHICKEN

Ingredients
1. Pastene Crushed Red Peppers or another example would be the B&G Sandwich Toppers Hot Chopped Peppers
2. Chicken (salt and pepper the chicken)
3. Worcestershire sauce
4. Cinnamon
5. Butter
6. Tomato sauce

Put about 2-4 tablespoons of butter in pan and melt.
Add about 2-4 tablespoons of the wet crushed peppers.
Cut chicken into strips and put into the pan.
sprinkle generous amount of cinnamon and some worcestershire sauce on top of the chicken
mix just a little tomato sauce in – just a little – I think 1/4 cup should be good.
Cook until done. I usually simmer or cook on low. *Note*. I’ve been making this recipe for so long that I don’t really measure.

I’m having a healthy day what about you?

IT’s I’M HAVING A HEALTHY DAY WHAT ABOUT YOU THURSDAY again?  Well one thing is for sure, writing these posts motivate me to eat healthy on Thursdays.  I’m just poking fun, I do try to eat healthy most days.  There is a sense of motivation as I can’t let me readers down and blog about a big ole Junky Food Day Thursday. LOL.  The picture is the left overs from a wonderful Lunch Party I had with the girls I grew up with.  The little plant in the background that says MOM is something my 4-year-old daughter Chaunda made in school for mother’s day.  Awwww. : )

LUNCH:  Today was an IF day so lunch was my first meal. It was Roasted Pork Loin and a side bean salad.  The bean salad recipe is below. I made it for a cookout I had on Sunday and invited my friends over to finish the left overs. It makes a lot. They loved it. I have already gotten a few emails asking me for the recipe. It really is delicious.  It comes from luckychim over at my favorite cooking site discusscooking.com.  I can’t tell you how many times the wonderful people over at discusscooking.com helped me over the years.   As far as the Pork Loin is concerned.  1/3 cup of Honey plus a lot of salt and pepper got mixed into a bowl and then I rubbed it all over the pork loin. I seared it on the stove and then cooked it in the oven at 375 until done. I have made this before without searing and it still came out good.  I had some left over honey mixture so I brushed it on the pork loin after it was seared.

DINNER:  Yesterday I made a very delicious Mexican Lasagna. I had some leftovers for dinner tonight. You basically brown 1lb of ground turkey and season with cumin, chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Remove from pan and set aside. Cut up a decent size zucchini into little pieces. Season with same seasons.  Let it  cook for 5 minutes. Add small jar of sliced pimentos, a can of black beans, and can of corn. Add 14oz can of stewed tomatoes and a 14oz can of tomato sauce.  Cook for a few minutes.  In casserole dish – Layer torn tortillas, big scoops of the mixture and shredded cheese. Layer again, make sure cheese is final layer. 400 degrees, 30 minutes. I like to serve mine with a little sour cream.

Lastly,  I also decided to try a few healthy deserts for my lunch party.  This voluminous vanilla ice cream was a hit.  I also thought the fudge babies were very good, but some of my friend didn’t like them.  Both recipes come from a very popular site called chocolatecoveredkatie.com.  She is so popular that editors are contacting her to write a book.   I did as suggested and used both unsweetened almond milk and the canned coconut milk for the ice-cream.   I doubled the recipe and added a lot of blueberries, 1 small banana, and a little peanut butter to my mix. Since I don’t have a vita-mix nor an ice-cream maker, I took it out of the freezer a few times the first day. I  kept mixing it with a big wooden spoon and an immersion blender.  The next day (today), prior to serving, I let it defrost a little. I than used the immersion blender one more time before serving.

Company Picnic Bean Salad

2 (16-oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15-oz) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas) rinsed and drained
2 (14.5-oz) cans diced tomatoes with Jalapeno’s, drained
1 1/2 c. frozen peas
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1 c. chopped sweet onion
2/3 c. chopped red pepper
2/3 c. chopped yellow pepper
2/3 c. red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1/2 c.extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBL balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 TBL dried red pepper flakes
In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients.

In a separate, small bowl, combine the last 8 ingredients, whisking until well blended. Pour over bean mixture, tossing gently to coat.
Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

I can finally do a full chin up

I recently posted about my exciting accomplishment on FACEBOOK.

I can finally do one full chin up.   Yeah!!!   That means using no bands, no jumping, no chairs. Just one full chin up by myself.

I owe a lot of it to my Iron Gym Bar. This thing is great. I saw it at my brothers house years ago. He showed some of the things you can do with it, and I ended up buying one for myself. I used to be able to do a few chin-ups a few years ago when I was in decent shape. Unfortunately, I went through a stage in my life fairly recently where I didn’t exercise and eat a ton of junk food.  Since I’m 41 and my metabolism isn’t quite the way it used to, this lead to being overweight.  So after  MANY!! weeks of eating clean and exercising, I can now proudly do a chin up. : )

The picture shows the Iron Gym Bar with one of my bands attached.  Having a resistance band can help with building the muscles necessary for doing chin ups and pull ups.  You put your knee in the bottom loop and than you lift yourself up.  As you get better, you can use bands that have lesser resistance.  Another exercises to train those muscles are inverted rows (which can be done using your kitchen table and are shown in the video link below).  Lastly, I recently came across a very nice article with video’s included from Mark Sisson.  The article is called The Importance of Pull Up Bar Training.  It has some great exercise examples. Please click on the link to read the article.

VIDEO LINK

I’m having a healthy day what about you?

It’s “I’M HAVING A HEALTHY DAY WHAT ABOUT YOU THURSDAY?”

7:30am – Small Shake consisting of Green Kale, Blueberries and Unsweetened Almond Milk.

Plus 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil mixed into an espresso shot from Dunkin Donuts

12:30PM – I tried something new today. It’s called Quinoa, Pear, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad.   I had half of it for lunch today.  It’s also what you see in the picture.   It was refreshing and I’m always excited to have new things to add to my rotation of healthy salads. No wonder why people don’t continue to eat salad’s. Who wants to always eat the typical lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes etc…garden salads we are all famous for making.  I love a garden salad and I love adding things like olives, cheese, cut up peppers etc. in them.  There really is a lot you can do with a garden type of a salad. However, when I realized there are so many different variations of salads, I knew my eating healthy life style would become easier and fun. Lastly, I had one homemade Banana Nut Bread Protein Muffin and 1 Regular Chocolate Chip Cookie. My friend Darleen made them and I couldn’t pass up having at least one of them. : )

3:300 PM -  I had some left over Granola in my car.  I made it a few weeks ago.  The recipe is actually called Healthy Fudge No-Bake Power Bars. I froze it for too long and when I tried to cut it, it broke. I broke it all up and turned it into granola.   You can see from this recipe link that it is a VERY healthy bar.

5:00PM -  For supper I had a left over chicken drumstick and a cold Kale salad with feta cheese.  It was one of my favorite salads last summer.  I would like to take a picture some day and post it in a separate post with the recipe of course. So keep checking back.  I also had a few slices of yellow pepper dipped in Ranch dressing.  OK I admit, I took it off my 6 year old’s plate. : ). The Kale salad was one of the first recipes I put into my mini photo album I talked about in my first post.

What healthy foods did you eat today?

Exercise – thinking outside of the box.

image

Tire = Free

Sledgehammer = $10.00

Work Out Area = backyard = Free

The following three links are good video’s to watch. The first one is a youtube video showing some sledgehammer exercises. The second one is a great article done by Mark Sisson over at Mark’s Daily Apple.   There is a lot of information in there, including proper form.  The third link isn’t a workout I’ve done personally, but it shows a back yard workout that includes a lot of exercises using the tire.

LINK FROM MARKS DAILY APPLE

I haven’t done this entire workout personally, but the following video has different backyard exercises using a tire.