Tuesday, August 6, 2013


It's Wednesday again! And that means not only is it Hump Daaaaaaay (in my head I said that like the camel in the insurance commercial), but it's also time for What I Ate Wednesday hosted by Jenn over at Peas and Crayons.  This week's "What I Ate" is brought to you by Tuesday.  Without further adieu, here is what I ate Tuesday...

Coffee.... duh.  Pre-breakfast, post-breakfast, coffee all day.  I'm currently lovin' this s'mores flavor from Target.  Actually, I love all of their flavors.  Besides this "buttery caramel" may be my favorite.

After a cup of coffee I went for a run outside.  I haven't run outside much this summer.  I haven't actually run much at all this summer.  I'm one of those weird people who actually loves running, like loves it, but I've been trying to focus more on strength training so running been put on the back burner as far as workouts go.  Plus, I hurt my foot a couple weeks ago and haven't been able to handle the pounding in a running shoe.  But, the fiancé's car broke down yesterday and since I'm still a "lady of leisure" for the next two weeks I oh-so-generously gave him mine for the day.  With no way of getting to the gym I went for my first al fresco run in a while.  So, how does a planned 5-mile run turn into 7 miles?  Well, you lose your apartment keys part way through and have to back track to find them of course...

Breakfast of Champions: After my impromptu 7-miler I blended up a protein shake... I'm calling this bad boy a "Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Protein Shake" and I made it with a scoop of chocolate whey, a cup of frozen strawberries, and a cup of almond milk.  Not the best picture, but I think it looks like a big frothy milkshake!  I also had some almonds on the side for some good fats.

So this week I'm heading down to Norris Lake to go boating and wake boarding.  I spent the whole morning/early afternoon cooking up some enchiladas for dinner one of the nights down there.  Needless to say, when I cook I snack so I munched on some of the enchilada filling throughout the day.  But, more on the enchiladas another time...

Lunch: After snacking on enchilada filling I wanted something light.  On sunday the fiancé and I made sushi for dinner and had an asian salad with it.  There was some left-over salad so I cooked up a chicken breast and threw it on top of the asian salad for lunch.  Besides chicken the salad had shredded lettuce, shredded cabbage, red onion, red bell pepper, broccoli, scallion, and mandarin oranges in it.

Snacks:  Let's talk snacks.  I've done it..... I've officially made my first Quest Bar pop tart.  While there are some tweaks I would change for next time, it was everything I had hoped for and more!  Most of the recipes I've seen call for two bars, but that just seems like a LOT to me, so I made mine with one bar.  To make a pop tart that doesn't end up being tiny with only one quest bar you need to roll it out pretty thin.  I popped a strawberry cheesecake Questbar in the microwave for a little less than 10 seconds.

**note!** you ONLY need to put it in the microwave for long enough to soften.  I destroyed one bar in the process by putting it in there for 20 seconds and it was so melty I couldn't handle it (well, I didn't destroy it, it's sitting in my fridge, slightly deformed and waiting to get in my belly tomorrow, but it was un-poptartable). 10 seconds in the mic people!

After warmed I rolled it out very thin using a jar of salsa (what? I don't own a rolling pin).  After rolling it out it should be about twice as large as a normal pop tart, so cut it in half.  One piece is your top and one is your bottom.  Spread a tablespoon of sugar free strawberry jam on the bottom half and place the top over it.  I used a fork to crimp the sides together and put it under the broiler for a minute (if you have a toaster over, this would be the time to use it).  After it came out of the broiler I topped it with a tablespoon of vanilla whey powder mixed with a tablespoon of almond milk.  This is what I would change next time, the "frosting" was delicious but very thin.  I would use less milk and let the heat of the pop tart melt it.  Oh, and of course there are rainbow sprinkles on there to make it pretty :o)  so good guys, so good.

Dinner: Dinner was supposed to be stuffed peppers made with left over vegetable enchilada filling and ground turkey, but by the time I drove the fiancé to pick his car up from the shop it was way to late to start making that.  Instead we stopped at Firehouse Subs.  He got a big 'ol italian sub and I got the "Chief's Salad" (no, I didn't misspell that, it's called the Chief's Salad).  It had romaine, sliced chicken (chicken lunchmeat... I was hoping for chicken breast), tomatoes, cucumber, green bell peppers, hard boiled egg, and red onion.  All-in-all pretty good for a fast food salad, so I can't complain.  Topped it off with balsamic vinegar and a bit of EVOO and it was actually a pretty good dinner.  I'm not usually a two-salads-a-day kinda girl... I like having a hot meal, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  Stuffed peppers will be tomorrow.

Well, there ya have it.  A day in the food of Kylie.  p.s. I took The Goober over to meet my friend's dog since she will be staying with them while I'm at the lake this week.  They whipped out some carrots to snack on.  Did you know dogs like carrots?  At least these two new best friends apparently do.  Why have I been buying treats this whole time???

Do you have a pet?  What's their favorite "human food"?
Have you made any yummy Quest Bar creations I should try?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

lean on me...

I know this is early, but today (as in Sunday) I'm linking up with my very talented, extremely young, fantastic mother's blog for Song-ography Sunday.  My mom is an amazing photographer and she's the one who inspired me to start this blog, so you should probably check her out over at her blog.  Although it's a photography link-up and my photographs are decidedly not artsy, I told her I wanted to link up if I could figure out a way to tie my food into her photo-prompt for the week.  She gives a song every week and the point is to represent that in pictures.  I figured this week's prompt of "Lean On Me" could be represented by food.  Did I make this dinner specifically to be photographed for the song? yes.  Did my fiance make fun of me for doing that? yes.  Did he stop making fun of me because his stomach is now pleasingly filled? yes.

Today the fiance and I had an unbelievebly productive little Saturday.  We went to Macy's to register for our wedding... translation?  I totally abused the power of the scanning gun and registered for everything in the store.  Four hours later we emerged from the store feeling like we had spent more money that either of us have, tired, and hungry.  I knew exactly what I wanted to make for dinner, so we went to one of my favorite places on earth, Findlay Market, and got the supplies. 

I've always had a love of farmers' markets.  I trace it back to when I was a little kid and we would go to the farmers' market on Thursday.  My mom would give my brother and I each $0.50 to get some candy and we would run to the candy stand and figure out how we could get the most candy possible with that money.  I still think that's where my math skills came from (sorry high school algebra teacher).  Looking back, it was just a way to get us out of her hair, but that's where my love of the farmers' market came from.  Fast forward 20 years and it's still one of my favorite places to go.

Anyway... on to the food.  When we went to the food tasting for our wedding I found out how much the fiance loved lamb, so I decided to make lamb tonight for dinner.  We bought a rack of lamb from the butcher at the farmers' market and started cooking away.  If I have one suggestion, go to a butcher to get a rack of lamb.  The only other time I've made lamb I had to french the chops myself... not pretty.  I love cooking, but let someone else do the dirty work for ya!

As long as it's trimmed up and frenched, lamb is a pretty lean cut of meat.  I'm not gonna go eat it every day, but as far as red meat goes it's a good splurge.  I left the loin whole and cut it into individual chops after cooking.  This was MUCH easier than cutting it before cooking.  When I got home I put it in a little marinade made with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cut extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of honey, and lots of rosemary and thyme.  I only let it marinade for about an hour, but the longer the better.  If I planned it out I would let it marinade overnight.

After marinading, pat the lamb dry.  Pre-heat a pan to medium high heat and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Brown the lamb in the pan.  I let it sit on each side for about minute.  You want to get a good sear on it to seal in all the juices.  Then transfer it to a pan and roast in the oven until it's done to your desire.  We like our meat pretty rare/medium-rare, so I let it roast for 20 minutes.  I would say 25-30 minutes for medium.  Take the rack of lamb out of the oven and let it sit, covered with aluminum foil, for 10-15 minutes before cutting it into individual chops.

And here, my friends... are the "Lean on Me" pictures....

Let me tell ya... it was perfect! You can cut the meat off the bone like I did or save on the dishes and pick the bones up like lollipops (like the fiance did).  Either way, tastes like heaven.  I also threw the left over marinade in a pan and heated it to a boil.  We used that as a dipping sauce and it was perfect.  So perfect that the dog went crazy for it...

 ...and then she begged for more.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIAW - my very first link up!

I started this blog just a few days ago and immediately started perusing the web to find some link-ups so that I could meet some other bloggers.  I came across WIAW and immediately got giddy because I thought it said WaWa, pretty much the most glorified gas station with the best coffee on the planet (or at least the east coast).  Alas, there was no WaWa link up, but there is this pretty cool one called WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday).  So for all you people out there in blog-land who happen to stumble across my little blog here (even though I'm convinced it's just been my mom and I so far), here's a photo-journal of yesterdays lovely feasts.

Breakfast: 1 super-ripe, juicy ruby red grapefruit with cinnamon on top along with a cup for fat free greek yogurt flavored with stevia and cinnamon.  I nuked some frozen strawberries for about 30 seconds in the microwave and added them to the greek yogurt. Oh, and coffee.  Always coffee.  Actually, I'm still drinking coffee...

Lunch: Lunch was a piece of The Coconut Diaries' Chili Pumpkin Turkey Meatloaf.  I follow Kim from "The Coconut Diaries" on instagram and she's awesome.  She always posts awesome, healthy recipes and everyone raves about her Chili Pumpkin Turkey Meatloaf.  I've gotta tell ya, I was kind of skeptical of trying this out just because I wasn't sure if I would like the flavors.  Yea, I caved and decided to make a batch of it on Monday while watching The Bachelorette (and then I ate a massive piece of it because I was so upset at Brooks... don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about!).  I've officially been converted to a believer.  The flavors just go so well together.  I added some extra kick to mine with cayenne pepper and topped it with dijon and siracha before eating.  I had it for lunch yesterday with some broccoli and spaghetti squash.  Definitely filled me up!

Pre/Post-Workout: Quest Bars, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... (1) I love you when I wake up. (2) I love you with my coffee. (3) I love you before my workout. (4) I love you for dessert. (5) I love you all day, every day... seriously guys, Quest Bars are the best protein bar out there.  They're the perfect pre-workout snack (or snack any other time of day for that matter).  My favorite flavor is Cinnamon Roll, but I've never had a flavor that I didn't like.  The "natural" line is clean and they have around 20g protein and 17 g fiber in each bar.

Post-workout I had a strawberry cheesecake protein smoothie with sprinkles on top(yesterday was National Cheesecake Day!)  Look back to yesterday's post for the recipe... to die for :o) 

Dinner: Just kidding... that wasn't my dinner, it was my fiancé's, but this was mine.....
The only difference between our dinners is that his has mozzarella on top of it.  I made my version of a chicken parm, stuffed with spinach and cheese.  Added additional cheese on top of his, left the extra cheese off of mine, and served it with a big 'ol salad.  It was a hit, and you can consider this a teaser because I'll post the recipe in the next few days.

Well, there ya have it! My first WIAW, my first link-up, my first week of blogging in general.  Let me know what you think, leave some suggestions, or just let me know I'm not alone out here in the blogging world! Until next time...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

happy national cheesecake day 2013!

I originally posted this on Tuesday, but I'm linking it over to Katherine & Angel for Thursday Favorite Things because, c'mon.... smoothie?  strawberries?  cheesecake!? rainbow sprinkles!!? It's pretty much all of my favorite things wrapped into one healthy treat! Thanks for hosting ladies. Can't wait to see some of your other followers' favorite things...

Did you know July 30th is National Cheesecake Day?? I didn't either until a little birdie told me this afternoon. I love a good piece of straight-from-the-refridgerator, super-moist, unbutton-my-pants cheesecake as much as, if not more than, the next person and I wanted to help celebrate this glorious day. One problem - I've never made a cheesecake in my life. So, running to the store and buying items to try and make a healthy version of cheesecake was bound to end in an epic failure. My solution? Cheesecake smoothie! Now wait, hear me out, this this was truly amazing!

I decided to toast the day with a post-workout "Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Smoothie." The name is deceiving. This thing was much more like strawberry cheesecake fro-yo than a protein shake (and I should know since I may have recently downed a cup of cheesecake fro-yo).  There may be a straw in there for the picture, but it's simply for aesthetic purposes.  I had to eat the creation with a spoon and I'm not complaining.

Here's how I make my super simple shake (or dessert?):

Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Smoothie
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein 
1 tablespoon of dry sugar-free, fat-free cheesecake pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
stevia (to taste)
1 cup of almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I'm sure you could use soy milk, dairy milk, probably even water with little change in the taste/consistency) 
3/4 cup of frozen strawberries 

Add all the ingredients to a blender and and let the blender do its thing. 

Using frozen fruit instead of ice is what makes the consistency of this creamy and awesome. Another plus? Protein (whey) + a simple carb (strawberries) = the perfect post-workout food for your muscles.

And the rainbow sprinkles? Well, they're not exactly healthy, but rainbow sprinkles never hurt anyone... and this is a celebration after all!

Monday, July 29, 2013

tacos, tacos, everywhere

Now, I'm not claiming to cook anything "authentic," but I love Mexican food.  Mexican food is so easy to make healthy by including fresh ingredients and tweaking the normal toppings slightly.  So, I set out last week to make fish tacos and, let me tell you, they were a success.  So much so that I was asked to make them again for dinner last night.

I started off my making a greek yogurt "crema" to take the place of the normal sour cream.  I love greek yogurt because it's so versatile.  It can be sweetened up and eaten with fruit or left in its normal form as a tangy substitute for sour cream or mayo in recipes.  To make the crema I combined greek yogurt, a seeded jalapeño, a handful of cilantro, a green onion, and the juice of half a lime in a blender and let it spin!

I heated some coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Coconut oil is kind of a new discovery for me.  I was originally worried it would make my food taste like a tropical island, but it really doesn't have much of a taste.  It's a saturated fat, which would lead you to believe it is unhealthy, but it is a great substitute for other saturated fats.  I won't go too far into it, but it's been linked to everything from blood sugar regulation, to metabolism, to Alzheimer's treatment (people also use it on their skin and in their hair... that just freaks me out.  Not gonna happen, but feel free to try it and let me know how it goes for ya!)  I don't believe everything I read on the internet, but I do know it's a healthy fat and it's good to use when cooking at high temperatures.  You could easily use any other cooking fat, or even cooking spray, but I had it on hand so I said what they heck.

I seasoned my fish (I used tilapia since it's an inexpensive white fish) with salt free fajita seasoning and red pepper and seared it for about 3 minutes on each side in the pan.

I cut the fish into bite-size pieces and let the taco assembly begin.  Spread some of the greek yogurt crema on a low carb tortilla (I used "La Tortilla Factory" because even though they are low carb I can pronounce all the ingredients in them!  I compromised with the fiancé and bought a pack of normal flour tortillas for him to use).  Top with some pre-shredded cabbage, the fish, some red onion, and some avocado and chow down!  I also topped mine with siracha, because I'm a spicy food fanatic.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Fish Tacos with Greek Yogurt Crema
(for 2 servings)
2 tilapia filets
red pepper
salt free fajita seasoning
1 tbs. coconut oil
4 low carb tortillas (I used "La Tortilla Factory" low carb, high fiber tortillas)

1 c. greek yogurt
1 jalapeño (seeded)
1 green onion
juice from 1/2 lime
handful of cilantro (about half a cup)

possible toppings:
shredded cabbage
red onion

1.  Combine the ingredients for the crema in a blender and blend until smooth.  You may want to play around with the proportions to get it to a consistency that you like.

2. Pre-heat pan over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil to heat it.

3. Pat tilapia dry with a paper towel and season both side of tilapia with the fajita seasoning and red pepper to taste.

4.  Add the tilapia to hot pan and don't move it! Let it sit for about 3 minutes on the first side, flip, and let it sit for 3 minutes on the second side.  That's it... it'll cook quickly.

5.  Transfer the tilapia to a cutting board and cut into bit-sized pieces.

6.  Assemble your tacos: spread about 2 tbs of the crema on the tortilla, top with shredded cabbage and fish.  Finish your assembly as your wish (I like mine with red onion, diced avocado, and siracha)

This will also work well with any other white fish.  I made some shrimp to go along with it and it would be GREAT with mahi mahi, I just went with the fish I already had in my freezer.

There you go... my very first recipe and hopefully the beginning of many more to come!  I'm a newbie at this, so let me know your thoughts, suggestions, all all that business!

Hope you enjoy,

learning to cook clean for two...

So here it goes... my very first blog post.  This is all a little new and scary to me.  I've spent the last two years reading my mom's incredibly well-written and witty blog posts thinking to myself, "Hey! I should do that!" but never having the guts to get a blog going myself.  I never had anything I really wanted to throw myself into and was scared to put myself out there for everyone to see and judge, but that's all about to change.  Seeing as I'm now a "lady of leisure" during the summer (no, I don't sit around and eat bon-bons all day, that would kind of go against the premise of this blog... but since I'm a high school teacher I DO have more free time this part of the year) I figured, why not! So here it goes...

I love cooking. Let me repeat myself... I LOVE COOKING.  Even during the times of my life when I've unfortunately dieted in unhealthy ways, I've always loved the activity and process of cooking.  Let's add to that... I love cooking healthy food for myself and others.  I eat more now than I ever have, but I fill my plate (mostly) with clean, healthy foods.  One little problem with that: my fiancé loves decidedly unhealthy food.  If it were up to him he would eat cups of cheese, pizza, and burgers at every meal.  Oh, and bacon... lots of bacon.

Right now that's fine, we live in separate apartments (old fashioned, I know... but I've held out for 6 years, I can wait to live together until next July).  The way I see it, when we do move in together I have a few options. Option #1: I start eating like him, not gonna happen.  I enjoy eating healthy and would prefer not to put on a bunch of post-wedding weight.  Option #2: I cook two separate meals for the rest of my life, also not gonna happen.  Although I am currently a lady of leisure I do work as a full-time teacher and I coach swimming during the school year.  So that leaves option #3: I somehow get my fiancé to eat like me.  Easier said than done, but I hope to use this blog as a test kitchen.  By the time I get married next July I hope to create an arsenal of clean, healthy recipes we both approve of, and I think the fiancé is quietly excited to be my tester.  Hopefully other people who read this will enjoy the food I love creating as much as I do.

One last thing... do I always eat clean and healthy?  Well, the empty Orange Leaf container and red wine bottle in the trash can from this weekend will tell you that I don't.  I like wine too much.  I like chocolate too much.  I like going out with my friends and having a good time too much.  But if there's one thing I've learned it's all things in moderation.  Well, maybe not wine in moderation...