Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Orange isn't Just a Color

Jenny Matlock

Well my fellow alphabet bloggers... today we are here to celebrate the letter O and orange you glad about that?? 

Ok, that was lame I know but it's a lead it to the fact that I'm here with some orange recipes today that I tried out... it isn't just a color ya know:-)  Now this week I've been juicing, drinking smoothies, and trying to eat only fruit and veggies outside of that.  Why you ask?  Cause I'm trying to be a healthier me that's why:-)

Ok so moving on.... it was hard to find some O recipes that would fit in with my goals for this week so I went with the easy thing which was oranges.  I made several juices and smoothies where oranges were involved and they were quite delightful I must say.  


There's a little fun picture collage of a couple that I made.  I don't really use recipes, I just toss in the fruit:-)  Sometimes a little yogurt or almond milk and such but this time I did only fruits and some greens, in the form of kale.  That first one there is some freshly juiced orange juice, strawberries, bananas, a couple blackberries and blueberries and then after that was all blended I added in some kale.  The second is strawberries, oranges, & pomegranate.  There was another smoothie that was freshly juiced lemon, ginger and then that was blended with a bunch of kale and a banana and some pomegranate.  Now the results were not too appealing cause of the amount of kale and the red from the pomegranate.... and I'm wondering if my poor processor is overworked cause the kale wasn't so smoothed in.  Anyways, it looked like someone got sick but it tasted great:-) 

There was also an orange salad dressing that I actually used as a marinade for some lovely brussel sprouts, cause I'm so loving the fresh ones that my local grocery store cleans, cuts up & packages for me all ready to go:-) 

It was nice and easy and gave me another reason to juice some oranges.  Then because I was too lazy to come up with other recipes I ate orange food instead:-)  LOL, that counts right???  I had spaghetti squash 2 ways and baked sweet potato!  Here's another fun collage: 


The first picture is the orange salad dressing.  The second is the fresh brussel sprouts after marination and before cooking.  The 3rd is my dinner of the brussel sprouts, marinated spaghetti squash cubes, and a grilled portabella mushroom.  The last picture is the baked sweet potato but I mashed it and added in a little butter that the boyfriend made for it (a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg... and I forget what else).  No picture of the spaghetti squash but that was eating with baked eggplant Parmesan.... which made me realize that I may not be an eggplant fan.  It's ok in a stew or something but stuffed and baked hasn't been so great so far.  

So that's what I have for ya'll today my friends.  Oh, there were juices also for which I gave the fruits and veggies a vinegar bath.  Yep, I read that helps with the cleaning so you can get all those nasty chemicals off.  So I leave you with this some lovely orange carrots and oranges, with friends... in all their bathing glory:


Do you use word verifications on your blog??  If so please read WORD! Thanks in advance:-)

Friday, February 24, 2012


Just Say No - Word Verification

Now I love words, it's true I do
so much so that I make them up too
but word verifications are an awful pain
and figuring them out drives me insane.

They used to be fun, for a little while
for I'd give them meanings that made me smile
but now I see them and my butt just puckers
cause they're blurry, stupid and time suckers.

You type up a comment, all witty and fun
and then when you're ready and think you are done
you press enter to release it but nope not this time
instead you're in comment jail, like you've committed a crime.

You get many tries to succeed, yes that is true
but the letters make no sense and don't follow through.
Your eyes take them in but your mind can't make sense,
the whole ordeal just makes me stressed out and tense.

So there is a little favor I'd just like to ask
something for you to consider, it's a simple task
please remove the word verifications, they gotta go
go in to your settings for comments and just say NO!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

N is for.....

Jenny Matlock

I had a hard time with the letter N for this week.  I couldn't find any recipes and finally just went with the Navy Bean Soup recipe in my New Complete Cookbook from Weight Watchers.  

I've never had Navy Bean Soup and I have to say that I didn't care for this one but it may be due to the rosemary.  I knew I should have put way less of that in there cause I never really care for it in recipes.  Anyways here's the recipe, since I don't have a link to it:

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15 oz can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt

In a large nonstick saucepan, heat the oil and saute the garlic until fragrant.  Stir in the beans, parsley, lemon juice, rosemary and pepper, then add the broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes then cool slightly.  With a slotted spoon, transfer about 3 cups of the soup to a blender or food processor; puree, then return to the saucepan.  Add the salt and heat to serving temperature.  

Here's what I got:

I didn't care for it so I didn't eat it.  I decided to freeze it and figured that next week I'll use it for a base to a vegetable soup that I plan to make.  That way all that rosemary will be spread out amongst a much bigger batch of soup with a lot more ingredients and maybe tame it down some after cooking in a crock pot all day:-)

So I ended up eating a frozen meal tonight and then thought I'd get creative and make fruit nachos so that I had a N recipe that was a little more successful!  I totally made this up and here is what I used, amounts not included cause that's up to you really:

Banana chips
Lemon juice
Greek yogurt

These were much better than the soup:-)  Yogurt was the sour cream & the salsa there is just a little of all the fruit pureed with some lemon juice.  The banana chips of course are the base of the nachos & then strawberries, kiwi and blackberries are the toppings with shredded mango (as the cheese... LOL).  A little messy to eat but they were good and the chips don't get soggy quite as quickly as regular nacho chips do... LOL!  These is a fun little whimsical sort of snack that kids would even love and you can use pretty much anything you want.  I was even going to use apple crisps as the chips but I didn't find any at the grocery store today.  They may have worked a little better cause they are usually bigger than the banana chips but not quite as thick.  It'll be fun to try different variations for sure.

After that I had some extra fruit and yogurt so I blended that all up to make this NUMMY smoothie that I'm going to have for breakfast tomorrow morning:

So all in all tonight's experience ended on a good note and I have the start of a soup that should turn out to be great once I get some more ingredients added in to it:-)  I also got to use more of the lovely lemons that I won from Jenny.... in the fruit salsa, the smoothie and the soup base so win/win!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mexican Fiesta.... Ole!

Jenny Matlock
So today my friends we are here to celebrate the letter M and since I was off of work it was a Mexican Fiesta of sorts at my house.  Well, not really... just food wise:-)  We had Mexican Crock pot Chicken for lunch and Mexican Baked Quinoa and Mexican Meatloaf for dinner.  It was all very yummy!
The Mexican Crock pot Chicken was excellent and very simple to make.  Since I was having it for lunch I just put it together the night before and let it cook overnight.  It smelled amazing!  I cooked it on low and you could smell it an hour or 2 in, I had to double check to make sure it was really on low.  All I had to do was put some chicken breast in the crock pot and then pour in a can of black beans, chili beans, chilies, a can of diced tomatoes and a package of taco seasoning.  The recipe says to add black olives too but I left those out cause I don't care for them.  In the morning I shredded up the chicken and let it cook until lunch time.  Here's what we got:

Looks almost like a chili.  You just scoop some on a taco shell or eat it with tortilla chips, according to the recipe.  I put it on a soft shell but unfortunately I accidentally deleted the picture thinking it was downloaded already.  I was very yummy, I suggest you try this one for sure!  There is plenty of leftovers so I will be trying this as a taco salad mix for another meal.

For dinner I went with the Mexican Meatloaf and Mexican Quinoa.  Mexican rice is a popularity but it never seems to have enough flavor for me and so I was going to make a flavorful one until I came across the quinoa recipe.  It's a much healthier grain so I figured why not give it a try?  Both of these recipes were great but I think the meatloaf could use a little more tomato sauce cause it seemed a little dry to me.  My mom, boyfriend and sister thought it was great though.  For some reason I couldn't get the cheese on top to melt however so the pictures may not do it justice but here are both dishes:

The recipes for these looked like they would be a little difficult, but they were rather simple.  The quinoa was very tasty and the meatloaf was good.  I added taco sauce to both for a little extra kick and eating the quinoa with the meatloaf made for a very tasty bite.  There was also plenty of leftovers with this meal since the meatloaf recipe made 2.  I was going to cut it in half but I figured just go with it.  

I was thinking that it would be awesome with some fresh made pico de gallo to add on top of it all!  Since I do have leftovers maybe I'll check into giving that a try:-)  Until then here is what dinner looked like, that picture I did download:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Walking for Sherry at the Valentine's 5K

Today was the Valentine's Day TC 5K.  TC would stand for Twin Cities cause here I am in St. Paul, Mn where we are having one of the mildest Winters that I can remember but on this day, it's 1 degree above zero and feels like 14 below!  That's according to the weather reports not me:-)  By the time the 5K started, at 10, it was sunny and warmed up to 4 degrees, WOOT!  We were walking around Lake Harriet, in Minneapolis and I'm not sure what the actual wind chill was but at some point it was cold enough to make my iPod, iPhone and even my Polar heart monitor shut down!  Ok, I may have hit the button on the monitor accidentally to shut that one off but the other 2 just stopped working and shut down.  I however kept going, no one else was going to carry me to the finish line like I would my idevices:-) 

So I made it in under an hour, 53 minutes by their clock and I wasn't last which is always great.  Unfortunately since the devices died I'm taking the numbers for steps, miles and calories from the pedometer.  It was snug like a bug in a rug in my pocket so that seemed to track from start to finish.  Which means there is a little extra in there from the walk to and from the car.  It was hell trying to find a spot to park too!

So the numbers were:

3.4 miles
9231 steps
547 calories burned

Not too bad I guess.  I also sported this lovely bib on my back for all to see:

Now that I think about it though, there weren't too many behind me so all really saw before & after the race.  From the sounds of things Sherry was a great person, wonderful mom and a fan of running.  She was assaulted and killed one day when she went for a run so her family decided to do a run in honor of her and the support spread like wildfire.  You can click on the bib there to read more about that.

I ended up bowling today also so all in all it was another event filled day.  The Valentine's 5K slogan was "Your Pace or Mine", cute huh??  We got a t-shirt for participating and a mug so I leave you with the pic of the mug & my bib:

The next 5K will be:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Luscious Lemon Dinner

Jenny Matlock

Today's blog is brought to you by the letter L and contributed to by our very own Jenny!  You see, back on January 2nd I received this lovely package in the mail from her:

This fabulous box of lemons!!  Boy did they smell wonderful and I've been using them here and there since then.  In fact, a lot of them went into the juices I made back on the J blog:-)  I won these by coming in 2nd place for helping to name a new grand little, you can check out Winners, Winners! Lemon Dinners! if you want to see the winning names and such.  Anyways they smelled wonderful and tasted even more magnificent!  So I figured that if they would last long enough I would indeed make a lemon dinner!

So for today the menu is Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Butter, Lemon Dill Chicken, Lemon Orzo and for dessert... Easy Lemon Cupcakes.  It was fabulous! 

I know I just had brussel sprouts not too long ago but these were fresh ones, which are so much better and I could eat them every other day at least:-)  I don't know what it is but the frozen ones taste dirty to me and the fresh ones just don't.  Anyways, the recipe is simple and used some fresh squeezed lemon juice, butter and then seasonings and some shredded Parmesan (of course we added some garlic).  Orzo I've never had before.  It looks like a fatter rice but tastes like a pasta, which I guess it technically is.  This one is just cooking up the orzo an adding some olive oil, fresh lemon zest and salt and pepper.  I used garlic salt & garlic pepper.... for realz!  I also added a little fresh lemon juice in there because the zest just wasn't giving me the flavor I wanted.  YUM!  The lemon dill chicken was pretty much marinated however I didn't get it going soon enough so the marination period wasn't really long enough.  The breasts are then grilled and they turned out pretty well.  I think next time I'd marinate them overnight so that the flavor gets in the chicken more.  So here was dinner:

It was a very filling dinner and tasty.  The boyfriend said he thought it was good that the chicken didn't get to absorb that marinade too much because he thought that there would have just been too much lemon going on in the meal.  I was thinking that there is never too much lemon!  LOL!!  The marinade for the chicken had fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, dill weed and salt.  I loved the lemon flavor throughout this meal and wouldn't have minded a little more:-)

Now dessert, that was lusciously excellent!  I didn't used any of the fresh lemons in it however.  I wanted to make lemon bars, which would have used a few lemons all by itself but I just didn't have the time.  I do still have some lemons though so maybe this weekend I'll make it and share it with everyone.  Tonight I went with an easy recipe that sounded too good to be true but it turned out awesome, check it:

I know, it looks like a plain old cupcake.  Nothing special right?  But, here's the kicker... all I used was a box of lemon cake mix and a can of diet lemon/lime soda!  Yep, that's all folks.  Oh wait, there is a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top there.  That's all you need for frosting, trust me!  These babies are most and airy, much better than how they turn out when following the direction on the box & using the eggs and oil and such.  I can't wait to have another!  I will though cause they are still about 107 calories but well worth it for sure!
So there you have it... my yummy, yummy lemon dinner with a little help from Jenny (who provided the lemons), (for all of the recipes), the boyfriend (who was my sous chef) and the Alphabe-Thursday blogs... because without the weekly letter assignments I may not have taken the time to actually cook any of these lemony, luscious, L recipes!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Korean Tacos!

Jenny Matlock

On the menu today is the letter K and for that I have Shredded Korean Beef Tacos, YUM!  Now I do love me some Mexican food so what's better than tacos right??  Well these were a nice change to mix up the usual taco a bit.  This recipe comes to us from Debbie Does Dinner Healthy and Low Calorie check out her blog cause she has all sorts of great recipes that are just tempting you to try them!

This recipe is simple, mainly cause you just put everything in the crock pot and let it cook all day... who doesn't love that?!?!  Well, it's a 3-4 pound beef roast, a jalapeno (or more if you want it spicier), some soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and brown sugar and then about 8 hours later.... viola!

This produced some very tender and tasty beef for sure! It could be eaten on a sandwich or with potatoes or whatever really.  It was even good cold when I took it out of the fridge for some leftovers the next day!  No I didn't eat it cold but as I waited for it to warm up I did snatch a cold piece to give it a try & YUM!

Ok, so there is also an slaw that you make along with this and that's actually what you put on your taco shell with the meat.  The recipe says to just get a bag of coleslaw and to add soy & sesame seed oil to that but I happened to have 1/2 a head of cabbage in the fridge from the soup I made last week so I put that in the processor and shredded it.  So I added in some leftover crispy baked Kale from last week and some broccoli & cauliflower and had this great meal:

The Kale still doesn't look so nice but trust me it's good:-)  I had to add some Sriracha to my taco there to spice it up a bit more.  I love spicy but my boyfriend isn't quite so fond of it so I stuck to one jalapeno and used the sauce to make mine hotter:-)

I do encourage you to check out Debbie's blog if you're looking for some good cooking ideas.  She posts new stuff every week and it always sounds great and seems easy to make.... I have to preuse it more often myself to check out her older stuff!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Won't You Join Me for A-Z?

Yes folks, the insanity is about to begin again!  That is the A-Z Challenge!  Pop over and check it out if you are up to it.  Basically this is a challenge where you post a blog Monday through Saturday each week, that's 6 blogs a week with Sundays off, and each day it's a letter of the alphabet (in order from A-Z of course).  Now it can be about anything your little heart and fingers desire you just have to type it up, post it, link it and then let the fun begin by checking out some of what the others posted for theirs.  It's a great way to meet new bloggers, get to know those you already are aware of better, or even just learn new things.... it's an open smorgesboard of fun for sure! 

I've participated in this challenge in the past and it was pretty awesome.  They've done some fine tuning this year to try to make the experience better for everyone involved but you pretty much get out of it what you put into it so if you are up for it then I encourage you to click on the links and check it out!

Can you do it?  Can you blog daily with a letter as your muse??  I bet you can, so check it out soon cause it begins in April and you can start getting your blogs planned out in advance so that you just have to post them when the days come and you have more time to check out the others:-)

update ~~ Due to time constraints and other obligations I won't be able to participate in the April challenge of AtoZ after all but I highly recommend it to one and all that have the time to do so!!

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