Monthly Archives: January 2011

Sick Day

This morning I still wasn’t feeling any better, so I decided to stay home from work and give myself a sick day! I’m so happy that I did because I’m definitely feeling much better after taking things easy.

I was thinking that I should probably skip the coffee this morning since I wasn’t feeling 100% (does anyone else believe in avoiding caffeine while they’re sick?), but I just couldn’t give it up! I gave into my addiction along with what might be my new favorite breakfast sandwich.

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On a sandwich thin, I topped a spicy black bean burger with a slice of cheddar cheese, an over-easy egg, salsa, spinach, and a little mayo. This was AMAZING! The salsa and black bean burger paired so well together.

Also, if you’re like me and have been too afraid to try black bean burgers, give into the fear my friends! They’re amazing, and don’t have any smelly (or audible) side effects later on if you catch my drift! ;-)

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After breakfast I mullied around wrapped up in a blanket and alternated between snuggling Prince and stalking, err, discovering, new blogs. I knew that my immune system could use a little boost, so when lunch time rolled around, I blended myself up a Green Monster.

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Into the blender went two large handfuls of spinach, a banana, three strawberries, a large splash of OJ, an Emergen-C packet, four ice cubes, and a large scoop of vanilla ice cream (just for good measure, you know).

This was just what the doctor ordered! I really perked up in the afternoon and even completed a few chores like cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming. After all that productivity, I rewarded myself with a small snack plate comprised of a carrot muffin and some strawberries served with a side of whip cream (you know, just for good measure ;-) ).

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By the late afternoon, I started to feel pretty guilty. You see, since I wasn’t feeling up to snuff, I really didn’t get outside over the weekend and Prince was really depressed over not getting any exercise.

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I couldn’t take anymore of his guilt trip, so I leashed him up and grabbed his frisbee and headed to the nearby high school baseball field. It’s obvious that this is just what Prince needed to cheer up!

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After our playtime, I came home and fixed myself an early dinner.

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Over the weekend I made Jenna’s turkey meatloaf. With the exception of subbing shredded carrots for a whole one, I followed the recipe to a tee and it came out wonderfully!

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I feel like meatloafs have a bad reputation in general, and truthfully, I’ve always been scared of them. This one however, is filled with delicious veggies and has a bit more of a nutritional kick from the addition of lentils. (FYI, this was my first time making anything with lentils!) And don’t even get me started on the maple glaze. Alright, go ahead and get me started. It was to die for and totally made this dish! I even ended up making extra to drizzle on top of my slice (no, that isn’t barbecue sauce).

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After dinner, I finally got around to watching Food, Inc. I think I’ll save my thoughts on the film for another post; however, I will say for anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet, you probably have heard the messages in the film before, but they’re a little bit more powerful with the addition of some graphic videos.

During the film, I snacked on pistachio nuts, and now while writing this post, I’ve moved on to Wheat Thins and hummus. I don’t know where this snack attack came from! And now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have a snoring pup (with grass stained paws) to go snuggle up to.

The Story of My Life

I thought I should share with you all what my life is mostly about these days. Did you know I’m kept at my computer mercilessly all day by someone else? Oh yes. They’re a slave driver that won’t ever let me get up – even to use the bathroom.

Meet, The Dictator.

I’m quite at a loss of what to do. Every day I’m faced with the predicament that if I sit down at my computer, Kaylie is going to trap me there for hours. She’s not like some creep at a bar that you can escape with a feeble excuse.

It all starts with her lurking in the shadows, scoping out the situation.

She then positions herself so that she has a better view of things.

After a minute or two, she decides that it’s time to test out the water.

She waits to see how here presence is received. Hand waving is a sign of me encouraging her to jump into my lap, no reaction translates into me begging her to lay in my lap.

Within 5 seconds, she will make her leap and wait to see if there is still any sign of her being unwelcomed.

I give her an ear scratch which is the secret signal that I want her to camp out on my lap for the next 24 hours.

Then comes the moment of triumph where she can rub her clear superior-ness into Prince’s face.

My thigh-warmer then ignores me while ordering me to fetch her turkey. Stat.

I plead and trade ear scratches for turkey to appease the queen.

And finally, she is ready to settle in for the long haul.

Poor Prince.

Pesto Lasagna

Before getting into the green noodle business, I first wanted to mention that I updated my Good Eats page to include pictures! I also weeded out a few of the items that weren’t so stellar or things that I would never make again. Check the page out and let me know what you think!

Alright, now onto pasta and cheese and garlic! You know, just the things that no one should go more than a day without having in their life? ;-)

Way back over the summer I bookmarked (the other) Bethenny’s recipe for Pesto Vegetarian Lasagna, but I never got around to making it. I decided to give it a go yesterday since I was looking for a large dish that could last me throughout the week for dinner. Score!

I ended up making a couple changes to the recipe due to ingredient availability, so here’s my take on Vegetarian Pesto Lasagna (adapted from here):

  • 8 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked to package’s instructions
  • 15 oz skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup firmly packed chopped spinach
  • 1/3 cup basil paste (or chopped basil)
  • 15 oz can of Cannellini (kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup prepared pesto sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 °. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, Cannellini beans, spinach and pesto sauce. Spray a 8×8″ pan with cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of pesto sauce along the bottom and cover with the cooked lasagna noodles. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture onto the noodles and spread evenly. Repeat the layering, starting with the pesto, and top with the final layer of lasagna noodles, pesto sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until things start to bubble.

If you look at the photo of Bethenny’s lasagna, I don’t think she really used whole wheat noodles in her recipe. Just saying.

If you have fresh basil, great! If not, cheat like me and use a paste or just sub in more spinach.

Mix it all together.

Get your layering skills on.

Everything in life should be topped off with cheese. Just my opinion.

Pull it out of the oven…

And enjoy!

Be careful to spread your pesto all the way to the edges and corners so you don’t get any ‘crispy’ tips like I did!

I would have loved to have tried this out with the pine nuts that Bethenny originally called for, but they were $8.99 for the teeniest-tiniest package at my grocery store. I wasn’t about to splurge on pine nuts!

In other news, I skipped my pot luck dinner today after deciding that I wasn’t feeling too well. Don’t worry, I still have a butternut squash recipe to share with you all, I just didn’t think anyone would enjoy being served it by a girl with lymph nodes the size of golf balls! Stay tuned to see that recipe in the next few days.

Every Morning

Why can’t every morning be like this?

Coffee, eggs, and the latest episode of The Office. What more could a girl ask for? Especially when the eggs are topped off with a super chunky salsa.

And who said that it’s hard to get your veggies in? Spinach and salsa definitely count.

You know it’s nutritious when the colors cover half the rainbow spectrum!

And now I’m clipping coupons while rocking out to The Black Keys (such a great music video!).

Every morning should be like this.

How did you spend your Saturday morning?

Worth Reading

I decided that I would make the Worth Reading posts into a weekly series as a way to share some of my favorite articles with you all. Watch out, this week’s list includes a lot of wordy pieces, but I think they tackle very real issues, so they are of course worth your time to read!

Remember, just click on the title to read the full article and click on the pictures for photo sources.

7 Ways to Earn More Respect and Influence as a Young Professional Woman

Working for an engineering company, I’m sure you can imagine that my workplace is a mostly male dominated environment. I’ve given a lot of thought as to how to present myself to my coworkers in a way that showed I was friendly with a sense of humor, but that I was also to be taken seriously. Holland (love that name!) offered up her tips on how to earn respect from your colleagues in a manner that lets them know you are neither a sex symbol nor a man eater. I’ve seen a lot women in the office bring in drama through gossip or catty attitudes. This sort of behavior only plays up to a stereotype of women. Don’t do it!

Fat Talkin’ Role Models

Kaity wrote a guest post over at Healthy Tipping Point earlier this week about how she was impacted by her mother’s own self-image issues. Sometimes a person may think that their own negative talk may not affect anyone else since they’re only talking about themselves; however, a negative attitude has an awful  habit of rubbing off on others around them, especially susceptible children. I know I looked toward my mother while growing up for guidance on how I should feel about food and my own body. So for any parents out there reading, or older brothers and sisters, think about the impression you’re leaving on someone before putting yourself down!

NASA – The Frontier is Everywhere

Alright, so this isn’t an article, but it’s still worth your time! I was a bit of a nerd growing up and had my own telescope and read sci-fi books (the Animorphs series, if anyone was curious). It was my dorkiness love for all things space related that drove me towards choosing an engineering major in college. This video perfectly captures my hopes and dreams for space exploration. We humans are capable of greatness. And if this doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will!

8 Ways to Practice and Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Did I ever tell you that I was Salutatorian in high school and had to give a speech to over a thousand people? I was the very first person to get up and speak and my voice was so shaky and I lost my place at one point and had no choice but to look into the crowd with the frightened and lost look of a deer in the headlights. I really wish my very last memory of high school wasn’t such an embarrassing one! Public speaking is still something that I struggle with, but I’m working on it and I definitely plan on using the tips that Jenny offered up. My favorite tip that she shared is to pretend that you are talking to a non-native English speaker or five year old. I know I definitely tend to rush my words when talking in public and could probably stand to slow down a bit so that people actually have a chance of understanding me!

Blackberry Orange Muffins

You guys know how I love a good muffin, and these are no exception. I have a hard time eating blackberries on their own, but baking them into a sweet muffin sounds absolutely divine! Again Jenna, I’m putting the offer out there to be your taste tester for free!

One Mom’s Extreme Search for Healthy Living

This is a very moving piece about the lifestyle changes Amanda was driven to make for her and her family after being diagnosed with cancer. I love how she gives very real examples of trying to remove the Fraken-food from her family’s diet, but ends with the wisdom that you can only do the best you can do. It’s impossible to avoid food made out of unknown substances all together in today’s society, so don’t hold yourself to unattainable standards. This article is definitely worth reading, if for no other reason than to learn some fun facts such as the average American consumes 160 pounds of sugar each year compared to a century ago when the average was only four pounds!

In Defense of Crunch

Another article written by Amanda about the changes she’s making with the products inside her family’s home. This really made me stop to think about how I’m exposed to so many chemicals throughout the day in products I would assume were safe. I must confess, I also love this article for the term “crunchy people”. My college roomie used to refer to the all-natural hippies as “crunchy granola people” and it always made me laugh!

And to end on a sweet note…

Brownie Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Seriously Heather, you’re killing me with these sweets! There’s nothing that I enjoy more than a soft chewy cookie that still has a little texture to it. I can absolutely imagine myself eating the whole batch of these within a week (you guys know I’m capable of it). Good thing Heather says that the batch counts as one serving! ;-)

Check back next week for more reading material and of course give a shout out in the comments section to any of your favorite posts/articles/bloggers!