Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Dance

Sorry for not posting the Wednesday Wine yesterday as promised.  It was a bit chaotic here with a few of Ava’s first bumps and bruises, as well as spilling bubble liquid in her eye.  Everything was harmless over all, but a little traumatic for both of us.  Let’s skip right on to some happy thoughts – it’s Friday!  Do you have big plans for the weekend?  We don’t, which I’m kind of excited about.  I like having a weekend that is left up to spontaneity –we’ll see what happens. 

Today was a rest day for me, since Boot Camp was extra tough yesterday.  Our instructor/personal trainer, is in a figure competition this weekend, so since she wanted a bad a$$ workout, we all got dragged along.  Kidding, I strangely like getting my butt handed to me on a platter.  I do plan to stretch or do some yoga later, since I never got to that the other day. 

Today I have a pasta meal for you that we made the other night.  It is very kid friendly as well, seeing that Ava downed 2 platefuls in about 5 minutes.  I think she was carbo loading for her day of terror yesterday.

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Ava’s portion x 2

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My portion x 2:

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I really wasn’t expecting a lot from this, but it was deliciously satisfying.  I’m convinced that the grated parmesan-pecorino cheese in and atop of the dish was the good to great factor

15 Minute Penne and Veggies:

  • 1/2 bag of whole wheat penne pasta  (3 servings)
  • 3 Laughing Cow cheese wedges
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cooked butternut squash, diced
  • 2 big handfuls fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup plain, lowfat (not fat free) yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, + more for sprinkling on top

Cook the pasta for approximately 10- 12 minutes, or until done to your taste, drain, and put in large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly until Laughing Cow Cheese melts and mixes.  (I microwaved a few more minutes to get it to melt.)  Serve warm.  Add herbs, seasonings, cheese to your taste. 

We had a glass of this Italian red that went quite well with the meal.  Sorry for the blur, that may or may not have been, what it looked like to me after drinking some. 

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What dinners have you thrown together with contents of your pantry or refrigerator that came out surprisingly amazing? 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review: Trader Joe’s Seasoned Mahi Mahi Fillets

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Last night’s grilled dinner could not have been easier thanks to Trader Joe’s Seasoned Mahi Mahi fillets.  I think Mellissa had the same idea! 

On a whim, I bought this package of pre-marinated frozen fish while shopping at TJ’s on Sunday.  (I usually don’t buy seafood, chicken, or pork with any seasonings or flavors as I prefer to make my own.)  But, for some reason, these called out to me as something that might be an easy weeknight meal. 

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Not only was it easy, it was delicious!  The fish was moist, flavorful, and nice portioned.  I liked that the seasonings enhanced the fish, but didn’t overpower it.  I also loved that I didn’t have to come up with something to top it or pre-plan a marinade.  All that was left to do was clean a few veggies and add those to the grill as well.   Mellissa made an awesome black bean salad to accompany her meal, which looks like the perfect pairing. 

I will definitely buy these again, and maybe even be open to trying some other pre-seasoned meats/fish/proteins.  I struggle with this, as I always believed they were less healthy, overly processed, or the “cheater’s” way to cook.  Well, no longer.  I realize that it is fun to have a new flavor twist (that isn’t Asian) and not have to worry about how ‘to do’ the fish tonight while trying to feed, bathe, and read to Ava.   Healthy, easy, and tasty – it’s a win-win. 

Off to get more accomplished this afternoon.  I need to make a Target trip for the third time this week and stop at the grocery store.  Does anyone else get caught in the money pit that is Target?  It is not humanly possible for me to come out of there with one thing.  I also need to stretch or do some yoga, as my legs and low back are really feeling tight.  I want to be ready for Boot Camp tomorrow morning! 

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s Wine.  I’m trying an old favorite tonight.

Do you buy pre-seasoned or pre-marinated meats or seafood? 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meatless Mondays

Not to be outdone by Seafood Sunday, Meatless Monday  wanted to make an appearance as well.  More on that in a bit…

After doing a leisurely 45 minute lap swim yesterday, 20 minutes of high intensity intervals around my neighborhood this morning was fa-yast and furious!  I had to be back in time for Scott to leave for an appointment, so I decided that some HIIT would be perfect to squeeze in a quick workout.  I can’t believe how sweaty I was.  (It didn’t help that it was 91 degrees and 50% humidity at 6:15 am.)  I love that in 20 minutes I accomplished a heart pumping workout and I was done and ready to hit the shower.   Of course, with a mobile toddler, the real workout begins when I get home. 

So last night I was feeling a little inspired.  I knew I wanted tofu, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to “jazz” it up.  Enter one of Gena’s Amazing Salad Dressing recipes.  With avocados on sale this past week, I stocked up and have at least 4 on hand. 

Amazing Salad Dressing  (adapted from Choosing Raw)

This is what I did for a half batch:

  • small handful of cilantro
  • small handful of fresh basil
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 date
  • sea salt to tast
  • 1/8 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • squeeze of lime

Blend it in blender or food processor until smooth. 

So fresh, so light, and so full of flavor, it was perfect as a sauce to top our baked ‘fu. 

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Tofu sprinkled with turmeric (which gives it the yellowish color and also reduces inflammation) and paprika and served over the ‘ol faithful whole wheat couscous.  (Can you tell I’m obsessed with that couscous?)  The carrots were grilled, and OMG, if you’ve never had them that way do it now and thank me later!  So good.  I peel about 4-5 carrots, microwave them for 2-3 minutes to pre-soften, and then coat in olive oil spray.  Believe me, you will not be disappointed! 

This meal paired perfectly with the Stella Pinot Grigio.

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Light, fresh and nothing competing with the taste of the fresh herbs in the dressing.  I think of pinot grigio as salad wine, but with the light taste of the dressing and tofu, it was perfect. 

Off to the park with Ava to meet friends for a play date.  It is, after all, only 96 today! 

What is your favorite workout?

I think mine still has to be Boot Camp, but I really enjoy everything I do, and mixing it up is key.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Seafood Sunday Returns

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Can you believe it’s the last week of July already?  As hot as it gets in Arizona summers, I still prefer summer over winter.  Evenings by the pool, early morning lap swims, (like I did this morning,) and sundresses are much more my speed than jeans, gloves, and hoodies.  

Summer also screams grilling.  We can grill year ‘round, but really who wants to heat the kitchen up when it’s 110 outside and you’re running the a/c like it’s water?  Not me!   So, last night, after our evening swim with Ava, I put together some “packet meals” for the grill.  I ended up adding to much liquid, so I transferred to a pie tin and covered with foil. 

While prepping the fish, I sipped on the essential glass of unoaked chardonnay.  Mmm…wine!

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Orange roughy, shitake mushrooms, baby squash and yellow carrots, all bathed in soy sauce, sake, grated ginger, and mirin.  Salt and pepper to taste and put the whole packet pan on the grill. 

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Serve over brown or white rice. 

SO good! 

For some reason my “go to” for cooking fish is always Asian inspired.  Funny, how I never noticed this until I started blogging and looking over some of the other fish and seafood recipes I’ve posted.  I love the bright flavors of ginger, cilantro, sesame, and soy.  I also like that you don’t feel heavy or weighted down after a meal like this.

I’m off to make an appointment for another Brazilian Blowout.  It’s been almost 4 months since I first had it done.

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I loved it so much that I’m doing it again. 

What is your “go to” flavor inspiration when cooking?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Look What I Found!

Happy Friday everyone!  Hope your day is going bueno.  It is nice and cloudy here today, which means it will only be 99 degrees!  We have about 330 days of sunshine, so a cloudy day is a welcomed treat.  Kinda backwards huh? 

I went to a sculpt class at the gym this morning with my friend Renee.  It was a great class that worked me in a different way than I’m used to.  I tend to try to take heavier weights in most of these type of classes, but the instructor did such integrated moves with high repetitions, that my arms/shoulders were completely toast with 5 lb dumb bells.  I know I will be feeling this tomorrow.  (Which I love!) 

I had a fun food find this week that I knew only the blog world of foodies would appreciate.

The ever elusive…

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Canned pumpkin!!!!

I have been looking for canned pumpkin since shortly after Christmas time.  I was told after 12 different stores that because the pumpkin crop was so poor last year, that they had run out, and had no idea when it would return.  I don’t know if my regular store has any yet, as I found this one at a store on the other side of town.  All I know is that I couldn’t wait to make pumpkin oats!

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(oatmeal, chia seeds and pumpkin)  The only thing I put on my oatmeal is brown sugar.  I’m not a big fan of nut butters on oatmeal, nor granolas, etc.  Ava eats this as well, in fact this is her bowl, sans the brown sugar.  She LOVED it! 

I have a good eater, and I’m sure she is destined to be a little foodie.  She ate the same size portion of oats this morning I did, and happily lifted her bowl and licked it!  Hmmm…I wonder where she learned that. 

Looking forward to a pretty chill weekend.  I’d like to do a little cooking, a little working out, and a lot of relaxing.  Sounds good, right? 

Ava’s waving bye –bye to you all for the weekend.

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How do you use canned pumpkin, besides pumpkin pie? 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Leftovers Again

Howdy and happy Friday eve.  I just got back from an awesome Bootcamp class!  One of the things that makes Thursday great.  Being Thursday it means Scott gets home from his business trip tonight.   I am also excited because I found a babysitter so that I can go to happy hour tonight with my old team of colleagues with Eli Lilly.  Since I quit work last October, several other people on my team, including my manager, have left or moved to different positions, so it is a “reunion” of sorts. 

My meals lately have been less than exciting.  Being the solo parent  this week means it’s all me to get Ava fed, bathed, teeth brushed, and a bottle and book, all before 7 pm.  After she goes down, I haven’t had the motivation to do any cooking for myself, so it’s been all about leftovers.  Luckily we planned ahead for this and made an extra large batch of everything over the weekend. 

Last night’s meal was one of my Quick Bowl Meals

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Also called ‘cleaning out the refrigerator.’  This one contained, whole wheat couscous, about a 1/4 cup of beans, butternut squash, green and yellow zucchini squash, grape tomatoes and avocado. 

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Oh, and don’t forget the kalamata olive hummus on top!

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Veggies were grilled over the weekend in a big batch. 

To make dining alone on leftovers a little more elegant, I also had a glass of this Italian red.  It was dry, earthy, and medium bodied, which worked well with my dinner.  I’m usually not a big fan of Italian reds, but this one was nice. 

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Off to make some homemade pecan butter and shower for my big night out! 

Do you cook or drink wine when you dine alone?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quick and Healthy Weeknight Dinner and New Ride

Does anybody else think it should be Wednesday already?  I’ve been up since 4am when Scott’s alarm went off to catch a 6 am flight.  I couldn’t fall back to sleep, so I just got up.  Maybe that’s why it feels like it should be Wednesday already.  Solo parenting also makes the week go slower.  You realize how much your partner does, when he/she is gone. 

Enough of that babble, onto the food.  I thought I would show you the quick and easy (not to mention healthy,) dinner we had last night.  I tried Trader Joe’s salmon burgers for the first time.  They are basically raw ground wild salmon, formed into a burger.  We tossed them on the grill, and then topped with some leftover Greek Chopped Salad from the weekend.  It was such a delicious meal.  I highly recommend these burgers if you like salmon. 

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Salmon is a wonderful source of omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 fatty acids can be beneficial for everything from decreasing triglycerides, to reducing inflammation, to helping in depression.  It is recommended to get 2 or more servings of fish/seafood per week that are high in omega 3 fish oil. (examples are salmon, halibut, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring)  Have you had your omega 3’s today?  

On the side we had something else from Trader Joe’s that I swear by; the whole wheat couscous.  Love this for a quick side dish.  DSC02286

Two minutes in the microwave and it’s ready.   I added a few sauteed mushrooms and some slivered almonds to dress it up. 

(Please excuse the white bread buns, which of course is shunned upon in the blog world.  We were using up leftovers from Ava’s “baby-que” birthday party. )

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We needed a quick dinner last evening because I went to pick up my (early) birthday present. 

Remember last week, when Ava got a new ride on her birthday? 

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Well, Mommy did too.  Since quitting my job in pharmaceutical sales last fall to stay home with Ava, I’ve shared a car with Scott.  It has worked pretty well since he works from home.  That said, our busy weekend activities, and more activities with Ava during the week, have made us think that a second vehicle would come in handy.  Last night, I finally got to pick up my new car!

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(notice the little bow on the windshield

Scott was trying to copy those Christmas commercials because I always joke when we see them that I never got a car for Christmas.  All thoughts of a night of cooking were abandoned and I took her for a test drive. 

Tuesday To-Do’s

hard core sculpt class at the gym

Ava’s 1 year checkup with pediatrician

grocery store

feed out of town neighbor’s cat

swimming with Ava

read about how to program stuff in the car

Well, looks like I have a lot more on the to do list…

Do you eat 2 servings of fish per week, or do you use supplements to get your omega-3 fatty acids?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Feeling it…

‘Sup bloggies?  How was your weekend?  With the hot weather, we got in a lot of pool time, gym time and even a little bit of cooking. 

Friday night we went to Flemings for their 5 for 6 before 7 happy hour.  If you live near a Flemings, try these great happy hour deals.  Five different wines, 5 different cocktails, and 5 different appetizers, for $6, before 7:00 pm.  We all enjoyed some appetizers, and cocktails while catching up.

Saturday we suddenly found ourselves without plans for the evening so we did a little last minute Trader Joe’s run after some pool time and came up with a fun dinner. 

I bought some nice looking turkey tenderloins at Trader Joe’s.  When I got home I threw them in a bowl to marinate with some Worcester sauce and a splash of red wine.  We had some watermelon in the fridge that was on it’s last leg, so I decided to make a watermelon salsa

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I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I improvised with what I had on hand. 

Watermelon Salsa

1 cup (approximately) watermelon cut into 1/4 inch cubes

handful of grape tomatoes, halved

3 green onions, white and green parts

1/4 avocado, cut into 1/8 inch cubes

2 tsp. capers

1 Tbsp. feta, crumbled

1 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice

fresh mint, minced, to taste

 

SOOOO good!  I was eating it by the spoonful.  Oops, better save some for dinner. 

After the turkey had marinated for a couple hours we grilled it alongside of our weekly vegetable hodge –podge.  Mashed cauliflower rounded out the meal for a light summer dinner.  Not bad for a last minute meal. 

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We also enjoyed this malbec with the meal.  As you can see by the dark color this wine was rich and velvety.  A bit to tannic and bold for the poultry and salsa, but good nonetheless. 

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Today I started my morning with a little Tony Horton:

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Kicked my a$$.  It was my first time doing the pylometrics workout.  After yesterday’s weight lifting class, my legs were a burnin’ during the squat jumps.  I will admit, I only made it through about 35 minutes, before I called it quits.  I was just feeling a bit achy and worn.  My former self would have pushed through and did it anyway, but I’m proud to say I’m actually learning to listen to my body.  And my body definitely had enough!  It was a great workout, and I certainly was a sweaty beast when I turned it off.  I can’t wait to do the full workout when my legs aren’t already sore. 

Do you listen to your body when you workout?  Ever cut a workout short because you weren’t ‘feelin’ it? 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guest Post

Note: Today’s guest post is by the “Dad” half of MommyRD.

Summertime is a great time to sip some white wine at the end of the day. But there are times when a crisp savignon blanc or an unoaked chardonnay just won’t do – when you need a little carbonation to cut through the heat for a refreshing treat. Today was one of those days.

After an afternoon of errands and work around the house, I opened the fridge. Propel? Nope – too much like water and I’ve had enough already. Soda? Nah – just doesn’t sound refreshing enough. Wine? Well, if we had some cold white wine maybe. Ah but beer – we still have some left over from Ava’s birthday barbeque – perfect!

We had picked up a sampler pack of Sam Adams from our local Costco. I’ve had a few of them already (Sam Adam’s Light is decent, the Summer Ale is pretty darn good), but I had not yet tried the Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier. I love hefeweizens (unfiltered wheat beers), especially in the summer. So naturally I thought the Blackberry Witbier would be perfect. And to cool off on this hot summer day, it absolutely was – a good wheat beer with a hint of blackberry.

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Thankfully this is mostly a female audience – otherwise I might have to turn in my “man card” for admitting to liking a fruit flavored beer…

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Iced Coffee

Happy Thursday everyone!  Are we all glad tomorrow is Friday?  It’s been a busy week here in Mommy RD’s house.  A birthday party, the real birthday, a new car (more on that to come), hosting playgroup birthday party number 2, and of course trying to get some workouts in as well.  Today’s boot camp class was killer.  It was pretty much all HIIT, with a few pushups and lunges thrown in for our “rest.”  One of the gals in class looked at her Bodybugg and exclaimed she had never burned as many calories in an hour before.  I was glad I had started my morning with a big iced coffee to get me going.

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My recent purchase of the Bodum French Press (thanks to hearing everyone rave about French pressed coffee both in blogs and in real life) has been wonderful for making iced coffee.  Since it’s 110+ everyday, hot coffee hasn’t been appealing.  With the French press, I can make strong coffee that works perfectly when poured over milk and ice.  A little sweetner and a glass straw, and wallah!  OK, well, it’s not that quick, but it is good!

I love the “layered” look, achieved by pouring the milk in first, then adding the coffee. 

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Since class was such a killer this morning I’ve been hungry all day.  Off to replenish those calories.  Maybe another piece of this…

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We had so much cake leftover I’m pretty much eating my weight in cake everyday.

Do you eat extra when you’ve had a hard workout?

Since I’m not trying to lose weight, I make sure to refuel and also am a little more lax with extra indulgences. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ava’s Birthday – Part 2

Some of you asked how Ava liked her cake.  Needless to say, she has a sweet tooth that matches mine.  And like me, her favorite part seemed to be the frosting.  Look at her lick those fingers!

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Yesterday was Ava’s real birthday.  What an amazing  year it has been!  She has enriched our lives to a degree I never thought possible. 

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July 13, 2009  1:26 pm

To celebrate her real birthday, Ava got a new ride.  A Radio Flyer wagon.  Now, she can ride around the neighborhood in style and in shade. 

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There’s even room for her best little girlfriend, Sofie!

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What is your favorite part of birthday cake – the frosting, the cake, or the filling?

Stay tuned for more regular food and exercise posts, as well as a view of Mom’s new ride!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Big Party

Whew, is it Monday already?  I need another weekend to recover from the weekend.  It was fun, crazy, tiring, and memorable.

  Scott and I love to entertain.  In our Pre-Ava days, we’d have cocktail parties, dinner parties, Christmas parties, you name it.  None though, that wore me out as much as having 10 toddlers/ young children and 12 adults over for 3 hours yesterday afternoon.  We celebrated Ava’s first birthday with kids, cake, candles, and cocktails (for the adults!)  It was a Baby-Que.  (aka Bar-b-que with lots of babies.)

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A snack before the big party.

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Friends…

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Time for cake!

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Having a pre-bed bottle after all the excitement was over. 

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I didn’t get pictures of the food, because …really, it was just to frantic to get the food out as the kids waited and were under foot.  Typical baby-que bar-b-que food;  burgers, potato salad, homemade baked beans, chips and watermelon. 

Here’s my plate:

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I forgot to add the homemade baked beans until after I quickly took the photo.  The only new recipe was the Spring Garden Potato Salad.   A recipe from the Foodnetwork, it was amazingly fresh and light for a potato salad.  Loved the herbs and inclusion of cucumber, grape tomatoes, radishes, and carrots.