Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Turkey Burgers with Smoked Mozzarella

Mr. Mal cooked again tonight. (He is very particular about the way his meat is cooked, and would rather cook himself than trust me with the duty, which is totally fine with me!) Tonight's dinner was turkey burgers with smoked mozzarella on toasted whole wheat buns. To my burger, I added my favorite Vermont relish and tomato slices.

My friend, Jen, stopped by our apartment tonight for a quick, impromptu visit. I was psyched when she called to tell me that she was in the neighborhood and wanted to say hello. We drank a couple of glasses of wine and chatted for about an hour before she headed to dinner with a friend. Some people don't like unexpected guests, but I love them... especially Jen!

My afternoon snack was an apple with about a tablespoon of peanut butter... and yes, I brought my apple slicer to work with me. I love that thing! :)

Beans, Grains, and Chocolate!

What a lunch! Mollie Katzen (and her recipes) were amazing! Everything served this afternoon was fresh, flavorful, nutritious, and absolutely delicious! I think all of the featured recipes were from Mollie's new cookbook: The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without, which, of course, I really want to buy now! I wish she had been selling copies today-- I would have purchased a copy on the spot!

My plate from the Beans and Grains session...

I loved (I mean LOVED) Mollie's Coconut Ginger Carrots! OMG, these were heaven on a plate! I even went back for seconds!

I wish that I remembered the names of all of the dishes served at lunch today. One was made with navy beans and scallions, another with sauteed spinach. Mollie mentioned sharing these recipes with today's audience through the HSPH cafe, so I will try to get my hands on them and share with all of you.

TAZA Chocolate

Today's lunch event also included some information (and samples!) from a local chocolate brand, called Taza Chocolate, which specializes in making organic stone-ground chocolate-- meaning their chocolate-making process captures the true flavor of the cacao bean by minimally processing the chocolate, hence retaining the beans' natural health benefits and limiting additives (including sugar).

My chocolate squares...

The flavor of the Taza chocolate is to die for! The texture is much more "grainy" than American-made chocolate because Taza has a simple production process and their cacao beans are not nearly refined as much. I'm now a huge fan of stone-ground chocolate!

Oatmeal Raisin Protein Muffins

Good morning!!! The sun is shining here in Boston! Yay! Love it!

I was planning to veg out last night, but, as Mal's dad would say, "grass doesn't grow under my feet," and I ended up experimenting in the kitchen instead. The end result was a wonderful pre-gym/post-gym snack. My baking experiment produced 7 Oatmeal Raisin Protein Mini Muffins, which are a sweet mix of healthy carbs and low-fat protein. Recipe below...

Oatmeal Raisin Protein Muffins
Makes 7 mini muffins or 3-4 regular muffins

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup liquid egg whites
1/4 cup raisins
1/8 cup brown sugar (I used 1 tbsp of Splenda brown sugar)
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of baking powder
A shake of cinnamon and nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3. Coat muffin tin with cooking spray.
4. Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups (make sure to include all liquids).
5. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
6. Enjoy before or after a workout!

I ate 2 of these before my workout this morning-- they fueled me right through to breakfast!

Make sure to divide the liquid equally between all of the muffin tins.

Breakfast Blend Again

I'm loving my new breakfast blend of oat bran and bulgar!

Today, I mixed in raisins, walnuts, and vanilla soy milk. The soy milk gave the mixture a sweet taste and a smooth consistency.

Along side my oat bran-bulgar breakfast blend was a bunch of juicy orange slices.

From above...

Breakfast really filled me up today! I actually didn't finish, which almost never happens! I took the remaining orange slices to work with me for a snack later today.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Hi, all! Like dinner tonight, my post will be quick and simple...and delicious! :) Dinner was chicken salad in a pita and a garden salad with lettuce, tomato, red onion, green pepper, and carrots.

Chicken salad (made with mayo) in a Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Pita...

All together with water and a glass of wine from our box-o-wine...

We've been rocking a box of wine brand called Bota Box lately. One Bota Box holds 4 bottles (3 liters) of wine, and stays fresh for over a month! It is also environmentally friendly! We've only tried the Chardonnay, but it is a good, quality wine and totally worth the price!

Happy Tuesday evening! I'm off to veg out!

Beans and Grains (and Chocolate!)

I am super excited! Tomorrow afternoon, I am attending a session at HSPH called Beans and Grains (and Chocolate!) with Mollie Katzen, a chef and author. Here's a description of the session:

"Most of us recognize that whole grains and beans - complex carbohydrates, as nutrition experts call them - should be a regular part of a healthy diet. We are realizing the benefit of balancing our plates with greater portions of these former "side" items. But tantalizing preparation of these wholesome ingredients can be daunting or elusive, preventing them from taking a leading role on our plates.

Join chef and author
Mollie Katzen and HUDS Director for Culinary Operations Martin Breslin as they demystify the range and preparation of beans and grains. Mollie will also share some of her bean and grain recipes, including some from her newest book The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without.

Now that we're feeling virtuously healthful, did you know that chocolate can also play a healthy role in your diet? Finish off this 60-minute session and lunch with a chocolate finale from local chocolatier, Taza, and get acquainted with the beneficial properties of the cocoa bean!"

How fun does that sound? Cooking lessons, recipes, nutritious food, and chocolate! Yay!!! I'm also really excited to meet Mollie Katzen! I'm a big fan of hers. I'll be sure to include a full report tomorrow afternoon! :)

Lunch and Many, Many Snacks

I've been a bottomless pit this afternoon. I should have probably eaten a bigger lunch, but with the massive amount of protein in my salad, I figured I'd stay full for a few hours. Somehow I didn't...

Lunch was leftover Cobb Salad (with crumbled blue cheese) from last night...

...followed by 4 chocolate-wheat germ-almond-dipped- apricots...

...and an hour later, half of a large caramel chip cookie, which did nothing to fill me up (damn empty calories!), but tasted delicious...

...and finally, a banana warmed in the microwave and mashed-up with peanut butter.

I'm happy to report that I am finally full!

Oat Bran-Bulgar Blend

What is better than bulgar for breakfast? Bulgar and oat bran for breakfast! :) I couldn't decide what I was in the mood for this morning, so I had both!

I combined 1/8 cup of bulgar (dry) and 1/4 cup of oat bran (dry) with 1/2 cup of water, added chopped dates and walnuts, and microwaved for 3 minutes. Viola!

I love this new breakfast blend! It's the best of both worlds: chewy, nutty bulgar and mushy, voluminous oat bran in one bowl!

Reader Tips for Avoiding Office Temptations

  • Chew gum or pop in a peppermint
  • Bring my own healthy snacks
  • Go take a walk
  • Stay as FAR away as possible from the table with the food (out of sight, out of mind!!)
  • Plan an afternoon snack
  • Lots of water!
  • Allow myself any treat once or twice a week, followed by a nice walk
  • Splurge at a fun party or for someone's birthday when everyone is together enjoying a treat... eating alone at my desk is not really worth it!
  • Drink some hot tea
  • Make [the treat] absolutely worth it!
  • It helps to think that swimsuit season is coming up, and 5 minutes of pleasure from a cookie will not be as sweet as looking hot in my bikini!
  • Resist unless the office treat is something special. For example, Friday donuts aren't special because I can have those anytime, but homemade scones are worth indulging in!
Let me know if you have additional tips for avoiding office treats, and I will add them to this list. I also added a "motivation" tag to my blog. If you're like me, sometimes I need a little extra boost (tips, quotes, advice, etc.) to keep me on track-- feel free to refer to my motivation page as often as needed!

I'm off to a meeting. Back later for lunch!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mal's Cobb Salad

Mal has been en fuego in the kitchen lately! While I was at the gym, Mal threw together a hearty Cobb Salad for dinner. 

Mal's Cobb Salad was a protein powerhouse, fueled by chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, and bacon. I'm very satisfied... even a tad on the full side! 

Mal's Cobb Salad
Makes 4 servings

6 pieces of bacon, crumbled
2 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup red onions, chopped
1 avocado, chunked
1 hard-boiled egg
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese*

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1. Top a bowl of lettuce with the chicken breast, bacon, red onion, avocado, and egg. 
2. Whisk together dressing ingredients. 
3. Dress salad, toss, and serve. 

*We forgot to add the blue cheese, but the salad was still terrific! 

The big bowl of Cobb Salad...

Mal ended up eating 2 servings, I ate one, and there is a serving leftover for my lunch tomorrow. I already added the blue cheese to it! 

My afternoon snack was Fage with Kashi Go Lean Crunch and 2 tbsp of peanut butter all stirred together. It kept me full through the afternoon and a tough workout this evening.


Just want to share this great website with you all-- is a website that helps you find recipes based on the ingredients and groceries that you already have at home. You type in the items in your refrigerator and/or pantry, and RecipeMatcher will show you what you can make. The website also helps you put together cocktails from what you have in your bar. Very cool, if you ask me. 

Listen to the Music

Wow, today's lunch hit the spot! It was nothing special... a basic sandwich, carrots, hummus, and a couple of treats. Honestly, I wasn't really "looking forward" to lunch at all. Once I starting eating, however, I realized my lunch was exactly what I was craving! Every bite was enjoyable and satisfying! I love it when that happens! :)

Ham and cheese sandwich with French moutard on Ezekiel bread...

Baby carrots with roasted red pepper hummus...

An almond cookie with apricot preserves from my coworker's stash of wedding shower goodies...

A well-rounded lunch...

A second treat: Two chocolate-almond-wheat germ-dipped-apricots...

Music to Move to!

A number of readers shared their workout music and running mixes with me. I thought others would appreciate some song ideas to update their playlists. Enjoy!

  • Hey Ya - Outkast
  • We Will Rock You - Queen
  • My Hero - Foo Fighters
  • Take on Me - Aha!
  • California Love - Dr Dre & Tupac
  • Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty
  • Pump It - Black Eyed Peas
  • Wind it Up - Gwen Stefani
  • Proud Mary - Ike & Tina Turner
  • Temperature - Sean Paul
  • U + Ur Hand - Pink
  • Barracuda - Heart
  • Beautiful Love- The Afters
  • Earthquakes and Sharks -Brandston
  • Never Never - Brick & Lace
  • Another White Dash - Butterfly Boucher
  • Breathless - The Corrs
  • My Best Mistake (No More Chances) - Count the Stars
  • Heaven- DJ Sammy and Yanou
  • Have a Great Day - Fools and Horses
  • New Shoes - Paolo Nutini
  • Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
  • Every You Every Me - Placebo
  • Brand New Colony - The Postal Service
  • Chocolate - Snow Patrol
  • All I Want - Toad the Wet Sprocket
  • You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
  • Call on me - Eric Prydz
  • Here in Your Arms - HelloGoodbye
  • Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy - Big & Rich
  • Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield
  • Beds are Burning - Novaspace
  • Only If I - Kate Ryan
  • Where are We Running - Lenny Kravitz
  • Land of the Living - Milk Inc.
  • What are you Waiting For - Gwen Stefani
  • All Things Just Keep Getting Better - Widelife
  • Push Up - Freestylers
  • Work It - Nelly & JT
  • Hold Your Horses - Type E
  • Back to Back - Bomfunk MC's
  • Dancing with Myself - The Donnas
  • Voodoo Child - Rogue Traders
  • Slave to the Music - Nick Skitz
  • In Your Life - La Bouche
  • Whenever, Wherever - Shakeria

Oatmeal Pancake with Apple Spread

Happy Monday! It's dreary in Boston, but I'm well-rested and feeling great! Mr. Mal, however, had quite a "case of the Mondays" this morning, especially after his week of staying up late, sleeping in, playing video games, and drinking Miller Lites. He'll be fine once the week gets moving.

Breakfast this morning was an oatmeal pancake with apple spread, and, on the side, kiwi slices with the skin. The skin isn't so bad, but I prefer my kiwi completely naked. I'm glad that I gave it a try though!

Kiwi with skin...

Oatmeal pancake with apple spread and a squirt of sugar-free maple syrup... yuumm!

From above on a new placemat...

At work, I made a mug of coffee with soy milk and cinnamon. I love how just a little shake of cinnamon jazzes up a cup of coffee! With my coffee, I ate a frosted lemon cookie. My coworker's sister had her wedding shower this past weekend, so she brought in leftover cookies. Working in an office with almost-daily goodies is a constant test of willpower! I usually indulge a little, but it's starting to become a habit. Office ladies-- how do you resist the temptation of work goodies, free food, the candy bowl, etc.?

Chocolate-Almond-Wheat Germ-Dipped Apricots

A little behind on the posts...

Mal and I had a wedding practicum at our church back home, which meant an hour drive each way and a late night. The practicum itself wasn't all that bad-- we were able to hear song selections for our ceremony and speak with the wedding coordinator about what needs to be done for the big day. Let's just say, we still have a lot to do! 

Before driving out to our hometown, I had some lunch: raw veggies with hummus, and a piece of Ezekiel bread with apple spread (only half the piece is pictured).

I also had some vanilla Stonyfield yogurt with Kashi Go Lean Crunch.

All together... this meal had volume and was super filling

Sunday morning, I had some time to make Chocolate-Almond-Wheat Germ-Dipped Apricots.

The Almond-Wheat Germ mixture was equal parts, grinded well. (I just put the almond slices and wheat germ inside of a small plastic baggie and broke into tiny pieces with a mallet.)

Using a leftover chocolate Easter bunny (that I broke into smaller pieces), I melted the milk chocolate in the microwave for 60 seconds, then stirred well until all of the chocolate chunks were melted. Next, I dipped each dried apricot half way into the chocolate, then dipped it into the almond-wheat germ mixture, covering the chocolate completely. 

I let the apricots cool on wax paper inside of the refrigerator for about an hour. They came out delicious-- crunchy and sweet!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rotel Dip and New Placemats

Good morning! 

Mr. Mal made breakfast for us this morning. (Have I mentioned that I love him being on school break?) He whipped up a breakfast wrap for us to share. In it was deli ham, American cheese, scrambled eggs, broccoli, and lots of pepper. Soooooooo delicious! We both wanted to eat another one!

My half... I also enjoyed an iced coffee with breakfast.

My wrap again with a view of our new placemats from Target! (Finally, right?) I love the color (perfect for spring/summer) and the funky pattern, which is much more exciting than the old ones. The placemats are also reversible, so there will be a little variation for photos. :) 

Saturday Night Recap 

The Celtics lost last night, but we enjoyed spending time with our friends. Mal and I ate a late snack yesterday (we split a ham and cheese sandwich), so we decided to skip dinner and eat appetizers when our friends arrived. We kept the snackies simple. We invited our friends over around 8:00, and we assumed that they probably had already eaten dinner, so we just made a veggie plate with hummus, and Rotel dip with tortilla chips and pita wedges. 

Veggie plate: roasted red pepper hummus with raw veggies (red pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, and baby carrots) on Kath and Matt's serving dish gift. (K&M, thanks again! Love it!) Our new serving dish worked great last night! We even got a compliment on it! Mal and I thought of a ton of other ideas for entertaining with it as well. It's so versatile! :)

Ariel view... check out our new table runner from Target. I love the colors blue and brown together-- they're also our wedding colors!

With our veggie plate, we served Rotel Dip. This is our "go-to" dish when we are invited to parties. People devour this stuff! And it is so simple to make too! We served ours with tortilla chips and toasted pita bread wedges. 

Rotel Dip

1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (Original)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened 

1. Remove cream cheese from refrigerator, allow to soften at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes-1 hour.
2. In a large bowl, combine can of Rotel (juices and all) and cream cheese. Blend well until cream cheese clumps are smooth.
3. Return to refrigerator to chill.
4. Serve with tortilla chips, pita bread, bagel chips and/or raw veggies. 

Rotel Dip