Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rachel Ray Saves the Day

I'm happy to report that Rachel Ray's Tomato, Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta was a hit! Mal's parents raved about how wonderful it tasted! Mal's dad even said that he felt like he was on "vacation" because the night was so enjoyable! :) I'm so glad that they had a nice evening with us. 

The night began with a cocktail each. Mal, his step-mom, and I enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay, while Mal's dad had a vodka martini with olives. While we drank our cocktails and chatted, Mal and I cooked dinner for his parents. Like all of Rachel Ray's recipes, the meal was fast and easy to cook!

Here's the Tomato, Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta hot out of the oven... mmmmmm, I love broiled cheese! 

Dinner with the future in-laws... 

The four of us split a bottle of cabernet sauvignon with dinner. I drank a good-sized glass... probably about 4 ounces. We also served French bread. I sopped-up my tomato-basil-cheese sauce with 2 small pieces. 

My portion of pasta was very filling! I typically want seconds of really delicious meals, but I was so full, I couldn't even think about eating more pasta. 

My glass of wine...

Salad with dinner included lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and green peppers. I served the salad with a homemade dressing. Our good friend, Jacky (hi, Jacky!) gave us a salad dressings cookbook as part of a shower gift, so, of course, tonight was the perfect occasion to test one out. I made a Classic Dijon Vinaigrette. It was delish!!!

Classic Dijon Vinaigrette

1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 medium garlic glove, minced
3 tsps Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
3 tsps fresh lemon juice
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mined fresh thyme
3/4 cup virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, and sugar. With a fork, stir into a paste. Add the lemon, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Classic Dijon Vinaigrette keeps refrigerated for 1 month.

After dinner, we enjoyed more conversation, and some French vanilla coffee and Newman's Fig Newmans

What a nice evening! I'm off to read in bed. Good night, all! 

Banana-Blueberry Smoothie and Groceries

Quick post before Mal's parent's get here... 

I found a recipe to cook tonight: Rachel Ray's Tomato, Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta. It sounds simple enough to make, and the ingredients sound amazing all together! Let's hope it turns out well! 

Lunch this afternoon was a banana-blueberry smoothie and a 1/2 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on very stale Ezekiel bread. (I ate the sandwich on my way to go grocery shopping, so I didn't snap a photo. Sorry.) 

Banana-Blueberry Smoothie
Makes 2 

2 ripe bananas
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
6 oz yogurt (I used Wallaby raspberry)
1/4 cup milk
3 cups ice cubes

1. Combine ingredients in blender.
2. Blend well. 
3. Enjoy!

Here's my smoothie from above (with Mal's knee in the background-- he was making a grocery list.) 

A shot of the ingredients (minus the milk and ice)...

Grocery Shopping: May 31 

  • Lettuce
  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cucumber
  • Mango
  • Tomatoes
  • Green pepper
  • Blackberries
  • Celery
  • French bread
  • BBQ kettle chips
  • Crushed canned tomatoes 
  • Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers (regular and tex mex)
  • Pasta shells
  • Newman's Fig Newmans
  • Fat free ricotta cheese
  • Nature's Promise wheat sub rolls
  • Yogurt (Dannon, Brown Cow, and Stoneyfield)
  • Fage
  • Classico basil pesto sauce 
Ok, time to get cookin'! I'll be back later to report on how dinner went for the future in-laws! Wish me luck! :)

Apple-Oat Crisp

Yay, Saturday! It's already been a wonderful morning! Mal and I slept in a little, woke up, ate breakfast, and watched the season finale of Lost, which left my head spinning! I can't believe we have to wait until the fall (?) for the next season to begin!

Last night, I baked some very yummy, low-calorie Apple-Oat Crisp. The recipe is from the February 2008 issue of Good Housekeeping

Apple-Oat Crisp right out of the oven...

My portion... well, my first portion. I ended up having a second bowl about the same size. One serving just wasn't enough-- it was SO tasty! The best part about the recipe is the lemon, which gives it a zesty flavor, especially when mixed with the brown sugar. I actually reduced the brown sugar by 1/4 cup, and the recipe was still sweet, but too sweet. 

This morning's breakfast was an egg, swiss cheese, and buffalo sauce pita. I used Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce and a Joseph's pita. I also ate a small kiwi. 

And of course, homemade iced coffee with milk and a packet of Splenda... 

After eating breakfast, I felt like I still wanted something. I munched on 3 medjool dates while watching the end of Lost.

Busy Saturday ahead! We've got lost of errands to do today, and Mal's parents are coming over for dinner tonight. I still have no idea what we are going to cook for them! Feel free to send ideas my way! :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chicken and Veggie Kebabs

Tonight's dinner was my type of meal-- grilled chicken-veggie kebabs on the grill! Being outside, preparing food, and enjoying a meal puts me in such a great mood! I love the whole process and event of eating this way. I want to figure out how to make this type of food experience more frequent in my life. Easier said than done, right?

The chicken-veggie kebabs before...

... during...

... and after! Grilled perfection! 

On the skewers was chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, red peppers, and red onion. 

With dinner, Mal and I enjoyed a couple of pomegranate-lemonades. Being the end of a rough week and the start of a relaxing weekend, we decided to add a shot of vodka to each! The drinks are won-der-ful!

I have apple crisp baking in the oven right now. I know, sort of random for springtime, but I was in the mood, and we had all of the ingredients to make it. Our apartment smells delicious

Hungry Girl!

I have been the bottomless pit today! My stomach just keeps growling! Perhaps it's because I didn't eat a very substantial dinner after the race last night? I did eat breakfast 30 minutes earlier than I usually do today. All I know is that I've been hungry all day!

Around 10:00, my stomach starting rumbling... and not a subtle grumble, a full-on feed me grumble! I decided to listen to my (loud) stomach and buy myself a snack to hold me over until lunch. I purchased a cinnamon raisin muffin from the cafe, and enjoyed it with my coffee.

My snack held me over nicely for a few hours. Around 1:00, I started to get hungry again. Today's lunch was a Joseph's pita filled with roasted red pepper hummus, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, cucumbers, chick peas, jalapeƱos, and feta. A wonderful mix of ingredients!

The Joesph's pitas are rather thin, so after the first bite, my veggie pita completely fell apart. It ended up being more of a pita salad than sandwich-- I ate most of it with a fork.

My afternoon snack is a banana and a couple of very broken pizzelle. The plan is to wait a few hours to eat my snack, but we'll see what my stomach decides to do! I'm an eating machine today!

Happy FRIDAY, all! I can't wait for the weekend to begin! :)

Blueberry "Cheesecake" Oatmeal

I woke up in the mood for something cold and creamy, so I thought yogurt. But then thought yogurt never fills me up the way a big bowl of oatmeal does. The solution: combination creation.

Blueberry "Cheesecake" Oatmeal


1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Combine above ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
2. Cook in microwave for 2 minutes.
3. Stir and enjoy!

The yogurt gave my blueberry oats a creamier taste, but not like soy/hemp milk does. Milk blends right into the mixture, while the yogurt "held its own" and didn't get lost in the other ingredients. It definitely had a "cheesecake" texture to it, but not nearly as sweet.


I am a "nutritionist!" I am now certified by the AFPA (American Fitness Professionals and Associates) to be a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. I passed the test! With the certification, I can legally counsel, give advice, and work with clients to meet their nutrition and wellness goals.

I considered going back to school to become a registered dietitian, but a lack of science background would have forced me to start from scratch-- I'd pretty much have to do another bachelor's degree. And after considering the financial aspect, I knew becoming a registered dietitian was out of the question. (It was a long, expensive road!) I decided that even though nutrition wouldn't be my career, it could be my hobby, which is the main motivation for the blog and this certification. I'm proud to have the AFPA certification, but I mostly pursued it for my own personal knowledge.

Fun Run

My sister and I successfully completed the 4.2 mile "Get Your Ya-Ya's Out on the Charles River" race last night! I finished in 35:49. Not my fastest, but it's only the first race of the season. Plenty of time to improve! My sister finished around 46:00, and was psyched that she ran her first race! (I was too!)

After the race, there was a BBQ, but the food options weren't that impressive. There was chicken, but I passed on it, and lots of veggies, but they were the super sodium kind out of a can. I was sort of bummed, but I ate a few beets, carrots, a banana, and 2 plums to refuel. After eating, I enjoyed a Harpoon UFO. Delish! I love summer beers! All in all, a wicked fun night!

Tagged Again!

Kootz from Burning BigMacs tagged me ! Since I recently played, I'll share some facts, but spare you guys the tagging part-- unless you want to share some facts about yourself? Feel free! I love hearing about readers! :) 

Ok, 5 more facts...

1. Mal was my high school sweetheart. We dated in 1998, but broke up when I went off to college in the fall. We rekindled our relationship in 2003.  
2. Cake is my favorite food. 
3. I'm getting married in 43 days! 
4. I am unbeatable in a game of Dr. Mario (Nintendo). (Yep, I still play occasionally.)  
5. I didn't pay a cent for grad school, but lived in poverty for 2 years. (It was worth it!) 

Be back later this morning!  

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fresh Basil from My Balcony

Fresh basil was the star of today's lunch! This past weekend, Mal and I planted a bunch of flowers and a basil plant on our apartment balcony. The basil is growing well and smells delicious, and it is time for consumption!

My lunch today was a "salad" of tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, red onions, ground pepper, and a few sprouts. It was soooo flavorful and fresh! I'm so excited for the bountiful summer produce and herbs! The farmer's markets open very soon!

Also with lunch, I ate my first ever Larabar! I am in love! The cashew cookie flavor was amazing... it reminded me of one of my date concoctions.

I wanted to make sure that I put up an afternoon post, so here's a shot of my very ripe banana that will be part of my fun run fuel later today. My snack will be peanut butter and banana in a Joseph's pita.

Back to work I go! Be back later with a post-race report! :)

Happy Oatmeal

I have a feeling today is going to be a great day! (Well, let's hope by saying that I didn't just jinx myself!) My breakfast smiled up at me this morning! Check out the smiley face in my oatmeal-- it even looks like it has hair! I didn't notice the happy face until after taking a few photos from different angles. Seeing this in my bowl, totally put a smile on my face! :)

For breakfast this morning, I made my typical bowl of oatmeal (with a little bulgar mixed in), added some chopped medjool dates, and cooked it in the microwave for 4 minutes.

I topped my oatmeal-bulgar with some vanilla Stonyfield yogurt and a few walnuts, which I just haphazardly sprinkled on top, but ended up as a walnut smiley face!

Fun Run

In an effort to get in shape for my wedding, my sister (and MOH) decided to take up running a few months ago. She was not previously much of a runner (or exerciser), but she has been consistently running outside 4-5 times a week and has improved greatly in her distance and speed. To keep herself motivated, my sis signed up for a couple of Fun Runs, and I agreed to run them with her. And tonight is the first race! We are running in the Let's Run, Have Some Fun & Be Fit series, a 4.2 mile race along the Charles, which is followed by a BBQ. I'm really looking forward to it! It's my sister's first road race, so I think she is really excited about it too!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Long Run, Late Dinner

I just finished eating dinner about 10 minutes ago. I went on a long-ish run (6.5 miles) this evening, stretched, did some abs, showered, got dressed, threw together dinner, and finally sat down to eat at just about 8:00. Of course, I was famished! 

Dinner this evening was leftover pizza and a side salad made with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, and sprouts, and dressed with the most amazing cabernet vinegar. (I'm still obsessed with this stuff!)

I chugged a huge glass of water when I got home from my run, but by the time I was ready for dinner, I wanted something besides water to drink. Instead, I made myself a pomegranate-lemonade with a slice of lime. So yum!!! I have a feeling this is going to be the drink of the summer for me!

Pizza, salad, and pomegranate-lemonade from above...

For dessert, I had 2 pizzelles, one with a tsp of peanut butter spread on top. 

I was super busy at work today, so I never had a chance to post lunch. Sorry! Quick recap...

Lunch was a ham and Buffalo sauce sandwich (again). I also had some broccoli florets with roasted red pepper hummus. I ate these while at an informal meeting right before lunch, so I never thought to snap a photo. I probably ate about a cup of broccoli and a few tablespoons of hummus. 

After lunch, I ate a piece of leftover chocolate cake from yesterday's retirement party. I put my piece in a small cup, which is why this photo looks so strange. The cake was just as delicious as it was yesterday!

And finally, my afternoon snack was a container of Brown Cow maple-flavored yogurt with 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean cereal mixed in. It was my first time trying this flavor of Brown Cow yogurt, and I LOVE it!! It was creamy, sweet, and "natural" tasting. I hate when yogurt tastes "fake" and "chemically." I highly recommend this brand and flavor of yogurt! 

Blueberry Walnut Cereal and White Tea

Good morning! Let's hope today is a better day for me! I was so glad to get to bed after the bummer of a day that I had yesterday.

I decided to skip the gym this morning, but I still woke up pretty early. It was nice having some quiet time to myself and hanging out at home until it was time to leave for work.

Breakfast today was 5 grain cereal with fresh blueberries and walnuts.

My mixture ended up a little on the "soupy" side. I guess I added too much water? Or maybe the blueberries added some extra moisture? I don't think I did anything different... it was still a scrumptious breakfast!

I received some Bentley's Ginger Peach White Tea as a shower gift, and I am trying it out right now. So far, so good! The flavor is an equal combination of ginger and peach, and the longer the tea bag seeps, the more "zip" the tea has to it. I'm a fan!

Bentley's White Tea - Ginger Peach Product Description

Hand picked pure white tea from ceylon. The Champagne of teas. White Tea, once brewed exclusively for China Royalty dating back to the Quing Dynasty in the 18th century, is now available to the connoisseur of tea packed in a convenient tea bag. This light golden tea comes from the same tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, as both black and green teas. Unlike these other teas, our 100% pure white tea contains a higher portion of buds to leaves and is harvested before the leaves open fully and are still covered by fine white hairs, thus giving it the name White Tea. It is rapidly steamed and air dried, producing a mild fresh flavor and natural sweetness. Because the tea must be carefully hand picked, only small amounts can be produced, making it rare and more expensive to produce than traditional teas. Because it is processed far less than black and green tea, its health benefits are far greater. White Tea contains 3 times as many cancer-fighting agents as other teas. These anti-oxidants, known as polyphenols, are also believed to strengthen the immune system, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and even fight fatigue. Known as the gentle tea, White Tea is primarily grown in China and India. A very small quantity is still made in Ceylon. We have procured all of the production of one of the finest tea estates in Ceylon so that can always enjoy our White Tea's mellow and delicate flavor that we call our Champagne of Teas. Pure Ceylon tea - packed in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Turkey Meatball and Broccoli Pizza

Mr. Mal cooked dinner tonight because my evening commute took almost 2 hours! Blah. There was a fire on the T, so I was basically stranded downtown with no way to get home. Luckily, a friend, who works in the area, gave me a ride. I didn't walk in the door of my apartment until 7:30! Of course, by then, I was starving! 

Mal made a homemade pizza using whole wheat dough (Hanniford's brand), which he topped with tomato-basil sauce, broccoli, mozzarella, and pieces of TJ's turkey meatballs. The meal came out delicious! I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived home to this beauty of a pizza! 

My 2 pieces...

and the whole pizza pie...

I'm also currently enjoying a "I-had-a-crappy-day" glass of wine on the couch while I blog. 

After work, I attended a retirement party for one of the Deans in my department. It was a send-off full of amazing food and lots of laughs. The party cake was beautiful-- chocolate with vanilla butter cream and a funky design on top. Obviously, I had a piece! Cake is my kryptonite

The spread of food at the retirement party included, sushi, stuffed mushrooms, salmon-wrapped asparagus, egg rolls, shrimp cocktail, chicken skewers as well as a few other appetizers. I ate a piece of sushi and a piece of salmon-wrapped asparagus. 

In the middle of the photo below (in the blue shirt, behind the flowers) is Walter Willett, the author of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. I'm a huge fan of his, but I swear that I didn't purposely snap this photo. I guess I just got lucky! :) 

Time for bed! Good night!