Friday, January 29, 2010

Trader Joes Saves the Day

OK, first I need to point out that I don’t work for Trader Joes, nor do I know anyone that does, I just really like their products, philosophy, and prices.

Since the “incident,” I’ve been pretty limited in all facets of normal daily activities.  Showering with one hand in a plastic bag, wearing sports bras because I can’t hook a normal bra strap, having help tying  my shoes, etc.  And that’s all before 7 a.m.  So, to say that cooking has been a challenge is an understatement.  Lucky for me, Scott is a great cook.  But with dinner time falling after baby feeding and baby bath; all of which he has to handle, we’ve been going more the semi-prepared route.  Let’s look at today for example:

Lunch was a canned salmon “superfood” salad

Featuring TJ’s canned salmon (thanks for opening the can Scott!)

Such an easy way to take advantage of getting in lots of omega 3 fish oil. 

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I said superfoods, because it was spinach, blueberries,  leftover roasted veggies (butternut squash, cauliflower, brussels, and broccoli) jicama, and fennel.  All tossed in my homemade lemon dressing.  (Made earlier in the day, of the “incident.”)

Then their’s dinner:


I at least fancied it up a bit by serving it on plates.


These spring rolls were excellent.  Very fresh and the peanut sauce was perfect.  That’s saying a lot because I’m very picky about my peanut sauces.

I also Sandra Lee’d the meal by making a little microwave egg drop soup

Directions:  pour 1/2 can of low sodiumchicken broth into bowl and add a few fresh sugar snap peas.  Microwave 3 minutes on high, take out and crack an egg into the bowl, whisk with a fork until egg is separated and cooked.  Add a few drops of sesame oil.  Wallah!


So since my food photos might be less than inspiring, I’ll leave a cute picture of Ava. 


Happy Almost Weekend! 

Anyone have any fun plans?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The day started with a present from Ava…sleeping in until 8 am!  I don’t think we’ve stayed in bed that late in over a year.  (Even pre-Ava, we were pretty early risers.)

After a 4 mile run, we came home to a fun breakfast of Mickey pancakes.  Remember this from the Christmas post?  It was actually a gift for Ava, but I think Scott had much more fun with it.  DSC01470

The “pancakes” were more like a cross between a waffle and pancake.  Mmmm…yummy…and Ava enjoyed one too.



For his birthday dinner, Scott wanted homemade crab cakes.  I’m fairly useless in the kitchen due to my mangled index finger kitchen disaster, so Scott was a champ and made his own birthday dinner.

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I was able to contribute by sauteeing the Southern Greens.  (A bag of pre-chopped collards and mustard greens from Trader Joes.)  Left handededly prepared with chicken broth, shallot, a bit of butter and S/P.

For the crab cake and fennel slaw recipes, see here.


Crabby goodness, nom, nom, nom.


One of our favorite reds.


And the hot chocolate lava cake that I made using only my left hand.  Impressive, right?


OK, Mr. Trader Joe may have helped me just a bit.  These were spectacular! They would be great for a dinner party if you don’t want to slave over dessert. 


We actually ate this meal Friday night because our wonderful friends took us to dinner last night to celebrate.  Thanks John and Renee!

Happy birthday, my love!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kitchen Disaster

Me  vs.:





Apparently, our new Cuisinart Smart Stick hand blender has the power button along the side where you hold the unit. And apparently, while holding it and thinking that you can get the food that’s caught in the blade out, you (I) can accidently be pushing the power button.  Apparently, I’m not so smart.  I learned the hard way.

‘Twas a long night in the ER, but the good news is that it’s still attached.  (Many stitches and a fractured bone.)  The bad news is that it pretty much wipes out any hope of working out or doing much cooking for some time. The other good news is that I know have an excuse to make Scott change all the diapers.   The other bad news, it’s hard to even hold my little peanut :-(

Stay tuned though, I may have to feature some meals made by my darling husband.

In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for any super healing foods?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogger Award and

A big thanks to Kasey for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award!


Apparently, I have to share 7 Random Facts about Myself, then nominate 7 new lovely bloggers, so here goes.

1.  I have a severe phobia of going to the ophthalmologist.  I can’t stand anyone coming near my eyes, let alone putting anything in them.  I’ve always been this way – haven’t had an eye exam in 12 years.   This in itself is weird, but couple that with the fact that I dated an ophthalmologist for 3 years

2.  I love to dance.  Any type, any time, ballroom dance, hip hop, jazz, etc.  I was in dance line in high school and loved it.  Would have loved to be a Rockette! 

3.  When I was a kid, I was a VERY picky eater.  I pretty much lived on fish sticks, hamburgers, and cereal.  I refused most vegetables, fish, Mexican, Asian or any other ethnic food for that matter.  I grew to love EVERYTHING when I went away to college and then my internship. 

4.  I grew up in Minnesota.  The last winter that I lived there, the whole month of January was below zero degrees.  I will never again live anywhere with that much snow and cold.  That said, I love to visit there, and it will aways be home.

5.  I love makeup.  Although I don’t tend to wear that much, I could hoard it.  One of my favorite jobs was working at the Lancome and Clinique counters while in college.  I could spend hours in Sephora.  I want it all!

6. I’ve never watched one episode of American Idol.  Not a big fan of the “contest shows.”

7.  My favorite TV show is Damages.  Can’t wait for the season to start up again.  Second favorite - CSI Miami.

Next, for my nominations:

1.  Emily of A Nutritionist Eats

2.  Estella of A Weekly Bite

3.  Anne of fANNEtastic Food

4.  Melissa of Melissa Likes to Eat

5.  Another Mellissa of A Fit and Spicy Life

6. Erin of Eat, Drink, and Be Hopeful

7.  Kelsey of Bites and Bowls


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Seafood Sunday

Doesn’t the weekend seem to go twice as fast as the same 48 hours during the week?  I hope you all had a great Sunday.  Did anyone do anything fun and exciting this weekend?

This morning I lazed around in bed for a couple of hours with Ava.  After her bottle, she laid in bed with us, and we read stories, played peek-a-boo with the sheets, etc.  It was glorious to not have to do the normal morning rush, and relax with our little peanut.  When I finally did get up, I walked 2 miles to the gym and did an hour sculpt class.  I love this class.  It’s taught by one of the personal trainers and is always a completely different whole body routine.   I like the extra push, as it ends up being more than I do when left to my own devices in the weight room. 

On another bright note, after sitting on my bum for 3 hours the Vikings beat the Cowboys!  Go Vikes.  (I grew up in MN and will always be a diehard Vikings fan.)   Not that is was a great game, hopefully they can play well next week against New Orleans. 

Which brings me to Seafood Sundays.  I saw this recipe recently over at Emily’s blog, A Nutritionist Eats.  I was immediately drawn to her blog because she lives in Minneapolis and is also an RD, but her beautiful photos and superb recipes have me hooked.

First, in order to cook, I needed a glass of this,


I followed the recipe almost exactly.  I didn’t have any garlic on hand, so I substituted a shallot

Hubby and I loved this! 


Roasted Brussels with Maple Syrup, on the side


Altogether with arugula salad added for more GREEN


oops, I may have snuck another scallop or two.

Going to go hang out on the couch and watch ‘24.’  Can’t wait – I hope it’s a good season! 

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Remember when I couldn’t decide the other day between swimming and hot yoga?   Well I decided to be brave and swim outside.  It wasn’t to bad, the water was nice, but the hard part was getting out.  I lasted for about 26 minutes of laps, and then my hunger goggle issues got the best of me.  I decided to get out and come home for a late afternoon snack. 

While chomping a huge honeycrisp apple I also decided it would be a good night to get some healthy omega –3 fats and cook up some wild salmon.  Nothing fancy, just chopped up a mixture of fresh herbs from the garden and sprinkle  over salmon that has been spread with some dijon mustard

Food and wine 005

My sweet tooth was kickin’ in big time, so it was an easy decision to pull out some of the Christmas cookies that were snuggled all safely in the freezer. 

I did make it to hot yoga yesterday, and it was glorious.  We also celebrated Ava’s half birthday.  Time flies, I can’t believe my baby is 6 months old already. 

Here she is 2 days after birth at 5 lb 11 oz.


And here she is yesterday at 6 months, a little over 13 and a half pounds.


So far, she is following the foodie footsteps, loving all the foods we have tried, especially the butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Purple Kale!

Hello Tuesday bloggies!  Did everyone make it through Monday?  I tell you, even when you are a SAHM, Mondays are always hectic.  Why is that?  I guess taking time to go hiking early morning at a trail that is a 30 minute drive away didn’t help.  Monday mornings we also have “Tiny Tot Time” at the library, followed by grocery shopping and a trip to Old Navy.  We also have to fit in time to walk the dog, take a couple of naps (Ava, not me) and do some cooking.  All fun stuff, just sayin’ it makes the day fly by.

The other day while shopping at Whole Paycheck, I came across some organic purple kale.  Despite purple being my favorite color, I blew it off at first, and picked up my red chard and other organic greens. Then I thought to myself, wouldn’t a purple kale salad be pretty?   


The picture actually doesn’t do this justice, as it was a much more vibrant violet color before flashing the photo.  I used my standard olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt dressing, and topped with some nooch, avocado, and a smidgeon of diced tomato from our garden.  A perfect side salad to our meal last night, and I happily licked the bowl clean. 

I’m debating a swim or hot yoga right now.  The debate is that the swim would be outside, because I’m not willing feeling up  to driving 20 minutes to our other gym that has the indoor pool.  (Our gym, that is 2 miles away, only has an outside pool.)   The temperature outside says 73 right now.   I’m pretty wimpy when it comes to being cold.  I usually like it to be above 90 F for a swim outside.  (Note, 73 degrees in the winter desert is not as warm as humid 73 degree summer days.)  I’m just itching for a swim though. 

I’ll let you know tomorrow what I end up doing.  I’ll also show you the rest of the meal that I paired with this pretty purple kale

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fitting in Exercise with Baby

A few weeks ago my friend Renee ( the pregnant chick)  and I were talking about how we will be able to get together for exercise dates with strollers after she has her baby.   It is definitely trickier to fit in a workout with a baby; between feedings, someone to babysit, etc.  Gone are the days when Scott and I could get up in the morning and go straight to the gym, shower there and then go about our day.  But, it is also fun to include Ava when possible.  Our jog stroller, the BOB Revolution, has been amazing.  The car seat adaptor was well worth the extra money, as we have been taking her for walks and jogs since she was a few weeks old. 

There are also compromises.  To get to go to my favorite Thursday morning boot camp class, I give up going to the gym the following day so Scott can go.  Once in awhile I do a home weight workout.  I have all the same weights for my level, as the gym does, I just don’t always have the same motivation.  Then there’s On Demand, Exercise TV.  I will occasionally do an abs program or a 30 Day Shred.  Both are short enough that Ava is fine in her jumperoo and usually entertained by my antics.   Today she got a little fussy, so I decided to include her.


Not only did she love giving me kisses – she made the resistance a little tougher on my crunches.



We both agreed that the best part was taking a little break for a hug!

On to EATS:

Fitting in cooking can sometimes be more challenging with a little one as well.  It helps that Scott and I both enjoy it and feel it is worth it to be eating healthy, so we can trade off cooking parts of the meal, while one of us feeds or bathes Ava.  The other night we made this fabulous meal with sauteed portabella  mushrooms.  (used wine and a hint of buttah for flavah!)


Which resulted in this delicious meal. 

Sauteed ‘shrooms over pureed cauliflower and sprinkled with blue cheese + sauteed red chard and apple. 


Muey bueno!

We drank one of favorite everyday wines with this


This cab from Trader Joe’s is super – especially considering it is only $5.99.  It complemented the earthiness of the mushrooms, and the blue cheese…need I say more?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Week, New Month, New Year…

Yeah, yeah, I know a bit late to the resolution game post huh?  Well, that’s because I really don’t make them.  Sure, I have some goals in mind that I’d like to accomplish each year, but it’s not a time when I overhaul my lifestyle.  My motto has always been to have moderation year round, and it seems to work for me. 

I’m not saying that aren’t things I could change or do better to be healthy both physically and emotionally, or that I didn’t partake in extra desserts/sweets and wine over the past 6 weeks.   But, I don’t feel like there was any time that I really “overdid” or that I need to restrict anything now.  That said, I really like Estella’s “No Diets In the New Year” going on over at her blog,  12 weeks of tips and goals that are not a DIET!  Stop over and check it out!

I really felt that one of the nutrition goals this week was perfect for me.  Drink more water.   Yes, I love my wine, can’t live without my coffee, and really enjoy mid day tea, but water…meh, I could get by without it.  So, I’m going to make a conscious effort to get in 48 oz per day.    I will count my decaf and herbal teas as part of my water intake.  Sadly, I guess I can’t count my wine as part of that.

In regards to workouts, I feel like I already have a pretty good balance there.  I am going on 3 years of strength training 2-3 times per week.  Go Me!  This is huge for me, because in the past 15 years I would go and start a weight routine, only to abandon it within weeks.  I just enjoyed running and cardio activities so much more.  I have to say, now I actually enjoy my workouts in the weight room.  Not only that, I think I am definately in better shape and more balanced than I was when I ran and did aerobics all the time.    My goal for this coming year is to make yoga a regular part of my routine by going to a hot yoga class at least once per week.   I am on the road to making this happen after purchasing a 30 time pass for my yoga studio. 

On that end, I did 45 minutes of circuit training this morning in the weight room.  I feel like I got a great full body workout in.  I’m hoping to get out on a walk in this beautiful weather this afternoon as well. DSC01507

I can’t deny these faces that are eagerly awaiting an afternoon stroll. 

Oh, and my most important goal for 2010 is to be the best mother I can be to Ava and set a good example for her to grow up with healthy habits. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Greens from the Garden

Are you eating healthier now that the holidays are over?  Lot’s of fruits and veggies?  I am, but that’s because I have some produce straight from my garden!  Funny to think of getting fresh veggies out of your garden in January right?  Well, here in Arizona, it is kind part of our prime growing time.  While the nights are pretty cold, the days have been a magnificent 70 degrees and sunny. 

I’ve always grown herbs like basil, mint, and oregano, but in this past year, we have branched out and planted kale, arugula, chard, and romaine lettuce, in addition to the herbs.  

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Here is a bowl full of fresh kale I picked the other morning.


The kale salad I made with it – also using cherry tomatoes from our tomato plant (along with olive oil, kosher salt, lemon juice and nooch!)


A simple, but marvelous, side salad with our fresh lettuce.


I used MY FAVORITE balsamic to dress the salad, so as not to overpower the taste of the fresh picked baby romaine.  This balsamic is available at Williams Sonoma, a little pricey, but worth every penny.   Nothing.else.needed.

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There is a certain satisfaction from eating food you’ve grown yourself.  Not to mention that I’m eating it in January.  ;-)  

PS-If you want a great wine to pair with salads, try sauvignon blanc. Particularly ones from Chile or New Zealand as they have a little more grassy –raciness and meld perfectly with your salad greens. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New 2010!

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s!  Did you celebrate?  Tell me what you did.

Apparently Chase had a wild night, as he couldn’t get out of bed the next morning…DSC01473

We affectionately refer to him as Lazy Boy. 

Here is a little peak at some of our New Year’s Eve dinner.  It included (but is not limited to:)

Cucumber Feta Salsa (serve with tortilla or pita chips)


Maple and balsamic roasted winter veggies:  butternut squash, parsnips, carrots,  and brussel sprouts


Roasted red potatoes with a garlic dijon vinaigrette  -  Source  Cooking Light November 2009


New Year’s Eve Pork Tenderloin served with a spiced apple butter-   recipe and cooking done by my friend, Renee.  Fan-freakin-tastic!


We had some unpictured vino and sparling cider for the pregnant chick.  ;-)   After that, we were lame and went to bed before midnight to get up to this brown-eyed girl!  Here she is with her “laptop” playing.


Still on the laptop, in the office, next to Mommy on her laptop.  I think she’s blogging!


Best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2010.  Speaking of which, my garden is starting to prosper a bit.  Stay tuned tomorrow for some pictures of some of the organic deliciousness out of my own garden!