Friday, June 28, 2013


It's hard to believe that, exactly three months from now, The Fiance' and I will be GETTING MARRIED.

That's right --- THREE MONTHS.

If we don't surprise everyone and elope first, hahaha.

Just kidding on that last part.



Regardless, I have a strong feeling I'll wake up that morning and do something like this...

Lord help us all until that day...and even more so the day of! HA

Moving on!

Sometimes I like to consider Sundays to be splurge days. Days where I tend to make delicious comfort food that, while it may not be great for your waistline, is wonderful for your soul, mind, and emotions :)

Sometimes I get a little homesick on Sundays, too - so cooking one of my mom's dishes is very...soothing.

This past Sunday I made my mom's Chicken Casserole. It's so simple - only five ingredients. And like most other casseroles, you basically throw everything into a dish at once and it's ready to bake.

The star of this show?


Nothing fancy here. Good ol off-brand cream o' mushroom soup!

Can I be honest? The sight of this stuff makes me feel a little sick. But the taste...oh my. Mixed with the right stuff, it's brilliant.

This is one of my favorite dishes ever. Guaranteed to make you feel closer home, wherever you may be.

Wimpy picture, yes. This is a dish you forget to photograph because you're ready to dive into it as soon as it comes out of the oven. Not that that happened to me, of course ;)

Side note: This recipe calls for a full sleeve of crackers. I used whole wheat Ritz, so in my mind I at least ATTEMPTED to add a little "healthy" to this dish. Whether whole wheat or regular crackers, it's still delightful.

Make this, serve it with veggies and impress your friends. You won't regret it.

And speaking of Friends, this just made me giggle very loudly:

FYI...I feel like this on a daily basis.

Oh Phoebe.

Mom's Chicken Casserole
Serves 2-4

1 large chicken breast (or 2 small)
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
~ 4 oz of sour cream
2 tbsp of butter or margarine

Heat oven to 375. Crumble the sleeve of crackers and pour into a 9" x 13"baking dish. Melt the butter until it's soft, but not liquid. Pour butter into baking dish and mix with crackers. Line the bottom of the dish with crackers and back for about 8 minutes in the oven and remove to let it cool. This will be your crust.

Meanwhile, cook your chicken on the stove and save the broth when it's done. When chicken is fully cooked, chop into small pieces. Combine chicken, sour cream and cream of mushroom in a mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined, then add about 1 cup of the leftover broth and mix again. The mixture should be creamy, not liquid, so you might want to add a little of the broth at a time until you have the right consistency.

Sometimes I will add a dash of salt and a little pepper (to taste) here, but it's not necessary for this dish.

Once mixed, add the chicken mixture to your crust and spread evenly. Bake in oven until it starts to bubble and brown. This may take 20-25 minutes.

Remove and let it cool slightly, then serve while hot.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

More Veggies - Chicken Fiesta Salad

Have I mentioned that I'm kind of obsessed with vegetables?

Just a tad, I promise.

Let's be honest, when you fill half your plate with veggies, and you're still full at the end of a meal, you feel really good about yourself - because you just consumed a whole bunch of good-for-you stuff!

And depending on how you cook them...veggies are almost no calories. And if they are, it's usually the good kind. YUM. Unless they're fried, but let's not get into that. ;)

I ate a veggie sandwich at lunch today. It was delish. My belly is happy.

Random? Maybe. But oh-so-true.

Let's talk about supper time. Last week, after the reunions, weddings, and retirement parties (2 in 2 weeks at work!), I wanted something light, but filling enough so that I wouldn't be hungry an hour later. Something green, yet flavorful.

The results? Beautiful and delicious:

Chicken Fiesta Salad, anyone?

Light, healthy, and filling. I whipped this up after the gym one night and LOVED it. And for a bonus? The Fiance' was game as well.

Boy-approved, ladies. This dish is boy-approved.

It has a ton of good stuff mixed in: corn, black beans, lean chicken, carrots, peppers, leafy greens YAYEAH! I loved it. We even topped it with a little Spicy Ranch dressing to give it a little "kick" - no regrets there. I would suggest serving this with a nice bowl of homemade salsa and/or guacamole.

I haven't tried this {yet}, but I am fully confident that it would taste amazing topped with this Honey Lime Dressing.

Hope you enjoy this and feel great after eating it!


Chicken Fiesta Chopped Salad
Serves 2-4

1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (or 2 small)
2 ears of fresh corn (or 1 can of corn, rinsed and drained), depending on your preference
1/2 fresh cucumber, sliced in quarters
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
Sliced carrots (I buy mine julienned)
1/2 yellow pepper, sliced into strips
4-5 leaves of romaine lettuce, rinsed
1/4 cup of shredded cheese - I used a fiesta blend
Mrs. Dash's Chipotle Seasoning
McCormick's Hawaiian meat seasoning
~ 2 tsp of butter or margarine, divided
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of Tony's seasoning
Juice of 1 lime

HINT: Roll your lime to get the juices going, then chop it in half. You'll use one half at a time for this recipe.


Heat 1 tsp of butter in a small skillet. Slice chicken into strips, then chunks, and throw into the skillet. As the chicken cooks, add in your seasonings, salt, pepper and half of the lime juice. Cook and flip until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

In a separate skillet, slowly melt the remaining butter. Carefully slice the corn kernels off of each ear of corn and add to the skillet with just enough water to barely cover the corn. Season with salt and pepper, and add a dash of Tony's if you prefer. Cook until water is almost cooked out and corn is thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat and let it cool.

Rinse your lettuce leaves, and chop into strips. Add to a serving bowl along with cucumber, tomato, rinsed/drained black beans, carrots, and yellow pepper. Once cooled, add chicken and corn.

Top with a sprinkle of cheese and the remaining lime juice and serve.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Wonders

Helloooooo Wednesday! So many thoughts bouncing around inside this head of mine - making it very hard to concentrate today!

Hope everyone is doing well - let's chat awhile, shall we? Let's catch up on a few things.

One. Wipeout is quickly becoming my favorite show. Multiple times I have come home, grumpy after a rough day at work, turned on the TV, and BOOM. Instant laughs due to this show. It's hilarious, and it will keep you on the edge of your seat because you want the underdogs to WIN!

Two. Today my boss has paper lined all over the floor of her office. I cannot tell you how badly I want to run in there and play hopscotch.

Like I've said before...I'm weird. I've accepted it.

Three. My sweet friend Jessica is visiting from Georgia and staying with her family for a few weeks. She came over for dinner last night and we talked for four hours straight. No pauses, no silence - just four wonderful hours filled with chatting, laughter, pictures, videos and girl time. Aahh girl time. It's a blessed thing. Before we knew it, it was 10:30 and we both said "AAAAAHHHH!!!!!!" So she crashed on my couch and we had a sleepover. It was delightful.

Four. I made baked chicken parmesan for supper and it was a definite success. However, in the excitement of it all (plus we were crazy hungry) I didn't snap a photo. Upside: I'm making it again this weekend - and I'm oh-so-pumped to share the recipe on here. Love it.

Five. A random lady at the gym stopped me yesterday post-workout and asked what my diet is like. Endorphins + food talk = a very excited girl. I may have scared her. I hope not though. I just really like food, man.

Six. I have the attention span of a squirrel today. And I haven't even have coffee...yet ;)

Seven. Vacation is scheduled for the beginning of October - and I couldn't be more ready. We found the MOST PERFECT PLACE ON THE BEACH EVER to stay for the week and we were REALLY REALLY REALLY pumped to the point of shaking when we decided on it.

However that place is booked already. Whomp whomp whomp.

No biggie though! More adventures to be had!

Deep breaths, sloooooooow deep breaths.


Oh Happy Day!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mean, Green, Smoothie Machine

Folks, summer has arrived.

It's 90+ degrees over here - and it's wonderful. I'm loving the sunshine and being able to relax by the pool =)

Things are getting a little crazy over here. Not "bad" crazy - just lots of decisions to make and work to do for September!

With the crazy comes the reminder that it's important to eat right and keep my energy up - can't get sick now! So allow me to introduce you to my breakfast:

Yep - that's a green smoothie. Isn't she a beaut?

I know it looks disgusting - slime, anyone? But I promise the taste is MUCH better than the sight of it.

The main ingredient: Spinach.

Oh, Spinach. Lovely Spinach. I've touched on the subject before, but I really do enjoy the stuff. Raw, cooked, steamed over chicken - YUM. Maybe the fact that it's really good for you is what I love more than the actual taste itself, but I promise you, you really probably might not be able to tell that there is any spinach in this shake.

Besides the color, obvi.

I drank these all the time when I was training, but took a break once I was done -- which may or may not have been because I re-discovered chocolate chip waffles.

However, upon that discovery I ALSO discovered that I felt really gross after eating said waffles. Maybe next time I'll just have them for dessert :o/

So here we are - back to le frappe' verte!

That's FRENCH for The Green Smoothie! Jealous? Impressed? Yeah you are.

I've been drinking them again for about a week now, every day for breakfast. I've definitely noticed my skin looking better - and I definitely feel better throughout the day.

Plus it gives you an extra serving of veggies, starting your morning off in a great way.

If you know me then you know I am obsessed with veggies.

I'm weird. I've accepted it.

Try this -- it only has five ingredients and the lovely taste of vanilla and almond butter completely cover the bitterness of the spinach. And here's a side note: I am NOT a fan of Greek yogurt. Like -- at all. It makes me gag. Even I can't taste it in this.

Do something good for yourself and make this for breakfast. Bottoms up! =)

Lean & Green Breakfast Machine - Smoothie

1 cup of fresh spinach
1 heaping tbsp of Greek yogurt - I prefer vanilla or honey flavored
1 tbsp of almond butter (use peanut butter if you prefer)
3/4 cup of vanilla almond milk (use skim milk if you can do that sort of thing)
1 banana

Combine all ingredients into a blender or smoothie maker and pulse. Mix until all ingredients are evenly combined and top with a cute Hawaiian umbrella.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Double Digits

We're in the double digits, people.


T-minus 99 days until our wedding!!!!!!!!!!!

What in the world? Where is this time going? I can't let myself think about it too very much or else I'm going to get EXTREMELY emotional here!

I'm still convincing my dad that our first dance HAS to be a fast one. The mere thought of a slow, sentimental, very sweet song makes my eyes well up with the crazy tears. I can't take it!

All the daddy's girls say yeaaahhhh!!!!

Someone told me recently that weddings are so emotional because, in a way, you really are saying "goodbye" to your family to join another one.

I say NO!

No goodbyes!

None, I tell you!

My family will simply add to ours a very tall son-in-law.

And his family will simply add to theirs a very short ball of energy.

...with some mad cooking skills.

Just kidding on that last part.



99 days sounds like such a short time! I looked at my phone at 12:01am and literally screamed.

So much to do! But I'm not sure what!

Those who know me best know that I have no idea what I'm doing. I plan events for work all the time, so I thought I MIGHT be good at this - nope!

Colors, flowers, tablecloths, dresses, decorations -- not my thing.

However --- cake, food, and music -- THAT, my friends, is my thing.

Choosing the cake was the easiest part. That decision took all of ten minutes. And that includes us tasting the cake.

I've been dreaming of that bad boy for years. YEARS I tell you.

Not even kidding.

I've never had a picture of my wedding in my head - so I was TOTALLY unprepared when The Fiance' slipped this shiny object on my finger. Unprepared, yet so elated. =)

I think it's safe to say this process has included an abundance of research.

Over-abundance, really. Probably more than necessary.

Yet I still feel clueless.

But it's okay! You know why?

Because despite the moments of panic when I had doubts about my dress...and when I had doubts about our wedding colors....and the bridesmaid dresses...and editing discussing the set list for the band...

...despite the fear that someone will think our ideas are cheesy...despite the fear that I'll trip walking down the aisle...despite the fear that it will rain that day...despite the fear that I will cry and/or look fat in the pictures.... the end of the day, The Fiance' will be The Husband.

And that, folks, is what's important.

Here's to laughs, vows, memories, and cake. Lots of cake.

Let's just all pray that it doesn't rain :)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Delightfully Fishy

Confession? Busy weekends = little time for grocery shopping.

I'm running low on groceries, man.

Thankfully I will be on the other side of town tonight for church, conveniently located down the street from the Wal-Marts. It's gonna be a good night ;)

Last night's supper was the result of yours truly literally digging deep within the depths of the freezer to find something that wasn't a bag of frozen peas.

I don't even like peas.

I'm not sure how that bag got there.

Although I vaguely remember finding a recipe that sounded incredible despite the fact that it called for peas.

I have yet to find that recipe again.

Le sigh.


I usually have frozen fish on hand. Next to salad, it's my go-to "quick meal." It thaws quickly, it cooks quickly, it's healthy, and it's delicious. Nuff said.

After the gym yesterday, I threw this meal together relatively fast and it was not only delicious, but surprisingly filling! Very healthy too :)

Tilapia baked with seasoned veggies wrapped in foil. Seriously delightful.

And WOW that is a rough picture. Clearly I felt the need to be up close and personal with my supper.

Then again it did smell delicious.

This is a ridiculously easy dish and you can incorporate basically any ingredient that you'd like. I had a bag of frozen veggies on hand (the good kind - with broccoli, snap beans, cauliflower, bell peppers, and corn), so I threw that in and WHA-BAM! Meal time.

Also, be sure to use your favorite seasonings - I didn't measure a thing  but all of the seasonings and flavors just blended together as they soaked up one another. I'm thinking you should make this for yourself ASAP.

I paired it with additional steamed veggies and some lima beans that were leftover from breakfast.

Yep. Lima beans for breakfast. I'm telling ya...low on groceries, man. It's a good thing I crave green stuff.


Here's another photo that's a weeee bit more colorful. Hopefully this will entice you a little more than the latter :D


Baked Tilapia with Veggies
(Serves 1)

1 tilapia filet
1 cup mixed veggies (broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, snap peas, corn, etc)
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or half of a lemon squeeze)
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of Tony's
dash of lemon pepper
Italian seasoning, to taste
aluminum foil

Season tilapia to taste and place on foil. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, then add the vegetables and season to taste. Wrap the entire combination and close the foil tightly at the top. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until fish is done (I left mine in the oven for about 20 minutes, then turned the oven off and let the fish remain for about 10 more minutes; it cooked perfectly).

Serve with a nice portion of steamed veggies and/or brown rice.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Birmingham Recap

A little over a week ago The Fiance' and I trekked to Birmingham for one of my closest friends' wedding. It was such a nice little getaway from the craziness of The City, and since it was my first time to visit there, it was a fun little adventure.

I won't mention the other "adventure" we had due to a defective GPS...and I also won't mention the "fun" we had by being late for the wedding! ;) I will say, though, that God is good, and I am SO THANKFUL for churches with balconies that allow late comers to discretely sneak in! ;)

We met up with my friend Nicole from high school, who brought her husband along. We all sat in the balcony together and had a grand ol' time watching the ceremony from afar:

 Note the ninja pics.

...and Nicole's hand.

Afterward we headed to the most beautiful country club for a reception filled with dinner and dancing. The Fiance' and I danced the night away and happily ate lots of delicious cake :) #score

Fast forward to Sunday morning - my first trip to The Cheesecake Factory! We met Nicole and her hubs for brunch - classy right?

THIS was the view on the patio - so pretty!!!!!

...and THIS is what I ordered!

Grilled chicken with spinach and mushrooms with a side of fluffy egg whites and tomatoes.


Also ordered was a nice slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake, but that may or may not have disappeared too quickly to have a picture taken!

Oh - and the view FROM the patio? Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

I never realized how beautiful Birmingham is - hopefully next time we'll have a little more time to explore and even more time with sweet friends! Here's to a great week and happy times!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Monkeyin' Around

I am stoked.

I am so totally STOKED.

I am so totally STOKED and now I will show you THIS RECIPE  ----------->-------------->------------->



Yes! Yes! YES! All of my Monkey Bread dreams have finally come true! As I mentioned a few posts back, I have been drooling over the mere THOUGHT of making The Monkey Bread since Christmas time. Well, last Friday night The Fiance' and I decided that we'd waited long enough and dug in, got our hands dirty, and baked the deliciousness that IS The Monkey Bread.

My oh my, was it ever worth the wait. And an apt start to a fabulous weekend, I do believe!

While this is a relatively quick recipe, it did take us a little longer than expected to make it, mainly because I'm obsessed and I wanted to make sure that we had wonderful, delicious brown sugar and cinnamon in every. single. bite. I may or may not have triple double dipped each piece into layers upon layers of cinnamon and brown sugar. Oh my yum.


This is a great Saturday morning breakfast with coffee. It's also a great late-night snack. Or after-work-waiting-on-the-chicken-to-bake appetizer. Whatever floats :)

NOTE: This is NOT a healthy recipe. There is a whole stick of butter/margarine in this bad boy. I almost could not take it! But alas, all in the name of The Monkey Bread. Please use small portions :) It will last longer that way :D Or share with friends! They will love you that much more.


Nom Nom.

Nom Nom Nom!

THE Monkey Bread

3 cans of biscuits
1 cup of sugar
2 tbsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp honey or Karo syrup
chopped pecans or walnuts (I used about 1/4 cup, but add more if that's your thing!)
1 stick of margarine (THIS part. Yikes. Please use caution ;) )

Note: If using a dish that is NOT already non-stick, please-oh-PLEASE remember to grease the pan with either cooking spray or a thin layer of butter.

In a medium bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, and brown sugar (YUM).Cut biscuits into quarters. To ensure that every bite gets flavor, flatten the biscuit pieces, dip in the sugar mixture, the roll the biscuit piece into a ball before placing it into a baking pan. Stack the biscuit balls on top of one another, making a nice cake shape.

Melt the margarine and stir into the sugar mixture, then add the honey/Karo syrup. Stir in half of the pecans, then pour over biscuits. Top with remaining pecans and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Turn out of pan immediately. Pairs wonderfully with a hot cup of coffee and friends.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Free of Charge

My sweet friend (in real life and in BlogLand!) Natalie from Life As I Know It tagged my blog in one of her most recent posts, challenging me to take a "getting to know you" quiz - pardon me while I have a flashback to my MySpace days!

This is such a cute game, and I couldn't pass it up. So here's an extra post this week, free of charge ;) Enjoy!

Apples or oranges?
Not a great question for an indecisive person! Here's my take:

  • Apples at night, as a late afternoon/night snack (grilled or baked with cinnamon, please!), or when I'm in the mood for pie.
  • Oranges in the morning, in smoothies, and when I'm running.

What's your guilty pleasure T.V. show?
Friends :)

If you have one last meal, what would it be?
Spaghetti, mashed potatoes, pulled pork sandwiches, coconut shrimp, my mom's red beans & rice, my grandma's gumbo, warm brownies, cookies, and key lime pie.

If it's my last meal, waistlines don't matter :)

What's your first blog you want to read during the day?
Usually it's Eat, Live, Run but lately she's been on her honeymoon! :) Second is usually The Pioneer Woman. Oh Ree =)

Northern or Southern?
Southern :)

Out of the 24 hours in a day, what is your favorite time on the clock and why?
9am and 6pm :)

What is your favorite magazine to get in the mail or buy in the store?
Southern Weddings and Southern Living

Twitter or Facebook?
Twitter because I have no Facebook!

What's your best memory of high school?
Football games and late nights working at Taco Bell =)

What's your go-to website for shopping?
Amazon, haha.

A blogger who inspires you?
Jenna from Eat, Live, Run and Ree, the Pioneer Woman. They're both so interesting and seem so normal at the same time.

What's a book you'd recommend to read?
Ree Drummond's book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
Not only is this a great (and true) story recounting how Ree and her husband met, it's also filled with loads of laughter. I really could not put this one down (I had the bags under my eyes to prove it!) and laughed until I cried on many occasions!

A favorite recipe you love to make?
Cake =)

You've got an afternoon kid-free and job-free, what would you do?
Laying out by the pool, reading a book :)

The restaurant you always crave?
Lulu's in Gulf Shores, AL. Fun atmosphere, fabulous fresh seafood and the best Key Lime Pie I've ever had.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Real Deal Kind of Meal

Let's face it. If you're in your twenties, you're on the go and on the cheap.

If you're in your twenties and you're planning a wedding, you're on the go, on the cheap, and have VERY little time to plan meals.

During the week, I typically get home around 8pm. I've had to work late a good bit as of lately, then hit the gym right after. Supper usually consists of what is in my fridge at the time and what can be defrosted the fastest :) I'll be honest, for someone who LOVES to cook, it's taken some adjusting to be able to throw together a fast (and healthy) supper so I can eat before 10:30 at night. However, it's really been great for my creativity - sometimes everything tastes great, other times I'll find out a recipe needs a tad more tweaking, haha.

Friday night was no such night, however. Knowing we were going out of town on Saturday for my friend's wedding, I'd looked forward to being able to cook a REAL meal all week. Because I worked late on Thursday night, I was able to leave work a tad early on Friday and prep everything before going to the gym. #SilverLining  :o)

This recipe is, yes, another recipe found via Pinterest. I don't have a lot of time to play around on Pinterest, but when I have a few minutes I go straight for the food. I call this the "Real Deal Kind of Meal," because it's the first "real" meal I've been able to cook in a long time. "Real" as in, the kind of stuff you get from your momma's kitchen - rather than quick one-dish suppers that are barely done by 8:45 at night! Ha!

Pardon me while I flash the photos of this meal - I'm still so excited about how well it turned out!

This dish was, surprisingly, very easy and very quick to make. The longest part is waiting for the chicken to bake, which is in total around 25 minutes. However, it gives you time to prep everything else and have it ready to eat as soon as your chicken comes out of the oven.

Baked chicken smothered with spinach and mushrooms - with sides of mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. Hungry yet? I know I'd like more :) It was light on the calories too. Waistline friendly, ladies (and gents, too)! 

Oh yeah, we made dessert too -- but that's another recipe for another time ;)

This will for sure go on the books to make again. Like I said, this was a Pinterest recipe, so please note the real chef and see her adorable website.

I can't wait to post a recap of this weekend in another post! Until then - go make yourself something delicious in the kitchen!

Smothered Chicken with Spinach and Mushrooms

For creamed spinach:
1/2 of a large bag of spinach leaves (I used frozen spinach, worked great!)
2 ounces of cream cheese
Shredded parmesan cheese, to taste
2 tbsp of olive oil
Garlic powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

For sauteed mushrooms*:
8 ounce package of sliced mushrooms
1/2 stick butter
2 tbsp olive oil
garlic powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
italian seasoning
a dash of Tony's
*I cut this recipe slightly since there were just two of us

For chicken:
2 chicken breasts
shredded mozzerella cheese
garlic powder, to taste
seasoned salt (Mrs. Dash, Tony's, etc. I used both!)
Italian seasoning
a dash of oregano
pepper, to taste


Heat oven to 350. Sprinkle the garlic powder, seasonings, and pepper on both sides of each chicken breast. Bake for 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the creamed spinach. Heat olive oil in a skillet, then add spinach and garlic. When completely cooked, add the cream cheese and parmesan cheese and stir until it's melted and combined. Remove from heat.

Start on your mushrooms: Melt butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add in the mushrooms and cook until they are completely browned. Once cooked, season with all of the goods :) I added just a splash of water to sort of deglaze it at this point, but this is totally optional. Cook until the water is absorbed and remove from heat.

Back to your chicken! Take your chickens out and flip them over. Place the spinach and mushrooms on top of each chicken, then add the cheese. Cook for another 12-15 minutes or until you see that the cheese is very melted and gooey :) Test your chicken to ensure that it is cooked through and remove from the oven.

Serve with veggies of your choice and impress your friends with your fabulous cooking skills! =)

P.S. Fun fact: Spinach is great for your skin, being fantastic for preventing acne, wrinkles and keratinization. It also helps with brain function and protects us against aging. Guess Popeye was onto something, huh?

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Results are In: Paleo Lasagna

And Helloooooo again Friday!

Last night's experimental supper turned out to be quite tasty. It was my first time trying a "Paleo" recipe, but it honestly was not all that different from the recipes I usually make. Around the time I moved here to the City, I began cutting out dairy for health reasons and, over time, decreased my bread intake.

Don't get me wrong, I still put cream in my coffee and enjoy a nice pasta dish every once in awhile. And let's face it, sometimes a girl just needs a cookie. Or a brownie. Or cake, but we've addressed that already :) However, I still do what I can to eat natural foods and incorporate vegetables as much as possible, which is why this recipe appealed to me.

Someone told me once: "If God didn't make it, you don't eat it." I guess you can say that it kind of stuck ;)

I found this recipe (and its many variations) on Pinterest. If your not familiar with The Paleo Diet, in short, it's a way of eating void of dairy, refined sugars, cereal grains, legumes and processed food. While I'm not a fan of what many call "Fad Diets," this seems more like a lifestyle change rather than a temporary diet. I'm not against it, but the concept is intriguing. I can only speak for myself, but it definitely feels better when I'm eating fresh veggies and lean meats.

Then again, I also feel good after a cupcake. All in moderation I suppose! ;)

This recipe is for Paleo Lasagna, aka no pasta noodles! But don't let that deter you from trying this. Like I said, I do enjoy a nice hot dish of pasta every now and then, but I do have to watch the portions or else I'll walk away feeling heavy and searching for stretchy pants. This dish is a lighter variation, and I can honestly say that not only was it delicious, it did not weigh me down and I actually had a second portion without guilt.

And if you think about it, no pasta = no carbs. :) If you're into that sort of thing.

Instead of pasta, this dish uses vegetables to separate the layers: in this case, zucchini and yellow squash. There's also broccoli mixed in with the filling, and I would suggest adding spinach if you're a fan. It also calls for raw goat cheese - which technically is considered a dairy product but is easier for our bodies to digest. If you're like me and curious, you can read about it here.

I've got another experiment up my sleeve for tonight's supper, so here's to hoping for more great results.  Until then I'll be busy at work and then heading to the gym for a nice boot camp workout before road trippin' tomorrow! Looking forward to the next couple of days - hope you are too!

Enjoy the recipe (I left out the onions and it still tasted great)! See the original here.

NOTE: This is not my recipe - please visit the links to see the original chef's masterpiece!

Paleo Lasagna

from Tastebook

1 white onion, diced
1 lb extra lean turkey (I used less because that's what I had on hand)
1 15oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp Italian spice blend
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb zucchini and/or yellow squash, cut into medallion rounds
1/2 raw goat cheese (again, I used less because of what I had on hand)
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 head broccoli, roughly chopped
1 egg

In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and add onions. Saute' on medium-high until softened. Add ground turkey, canned tomato and paste, spices, salt pepper, and garlic. Cook until turkey is completely cooked. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix goat cheese, yogurt, broccoli, and egg. Mix until it's nice and combined.

Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish. The remaining veggies will act as your "pasta" to separate the layers. Place a layer of zucchini and squash rounds around the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of the turkey-tomato mixture. Top with the broccoli-yogurt mixture and repeat until you have no more left!

Bake for 45-60 minutes, then let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Unless you're like me and you're just hungry. Then I would suggest be careful not to burn your tongue :)

But above all else - enjoy!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday Things

I'm currently experimenting with a new recipe for supper tonight. However, during suppertime I'll be at work answering telephones on live television. Therefore, the deliciousness that would have been is currently in my oven, back at my apartment, whilst I am at the office, on a break, watching the rain. And working of course! ;)

NOTE: The oven is not on. Silly me :) I covered the dish with foil and ran home over my lunch break to let it bake for 30 minutes, then turned the oven off. Here's to hoping the heat remains and supper is complete later tonight when I return home!

Until I can post a recipe, let's play a game. A game called Thursday Things. Original right? ;) Five things that are going on in Lisa's head this lovely Thursday.


one. One of my closest, oldest, dearest friends is getting married this weekend. We've been friends since 5th grade, and I am seriously excited. Not only will this weekend involve a road trip to a new city, it will be a mini-reunion of some of our high school friends, many of whom I haven't seen since. It will also mean The Fiance' in a suit and yours truly in cute shoes. :) This trip will also involve cake. Need I elaborate?

Please help me find this shirt. It will complete me.

two. My wedding dress came in yesterday. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) The dress shop called and said I was free to come in, try it on, and admire it anytime I'd like before scheduling my first fitting. Oh my. These people know what they are doing.

three. My departure dress also came in yesterday. It was waiting for me on my doorstep when I arrived home last night. Two of the most beautiful dresses I've ever seen INMYENTIRELIFE arrived in one day. I squealed. Then I had a nightmare that they weren't going to fit. Then I cried. But then took deep breaths and thought happy thoughts :) We also scheduled our engagement photo session and details are in the works for our cake topper. AAAAHHHH!!!!! #wedding

four. Yesterday a co-worker left this in my chair while I was away for a meeting. It's amazing - and a nice reminder of - how seemingly small gestures can be so encouraging.

five. About a month ago, one of my teachers from junior high had a retirement party and invited all of her former students. While everyone was home, our high school group met at our old hangout for lunch. Not everyone was able to make it, but it sure was wonderful being in the company of old friends - you know, the ones that make you feel as though you belong...the ones who knew you when you were awkward and chubby with bad skin and gaps between your teeth and STILL hung out with you :)

Here we are...all of us with our babies, wedding rings, engagement rings, fiances, college degrees, big kid jobs. Things change all the time - but it felt like we never left :)

My heart is still warm from that weekend - what a way to recharge your batteries. We all drove away that day with grateful hearts - for friendship, for laughter, for growth, and for memories.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ode to Tuesday

Tuesday, oh Tuesday, how can it be?
Just two days ago, I was wild and free!

It's back to the grind,
Though I really don't mind.

For I'm here in my office,
At times I feel like a novice.

But once I am done,
I will run, run, run! {fun!}

Then I'll work on my wedding,
Which will be worth all of the sweating! {HA!}

And later I'll cook!
Maybe crack open a book!

And let my mind wander,
To a place somewhere yonder.

A magical land, 
Filled with music and sand.

The food is delicious,
healthy and nutritious.

And everyone gets along,
Filled with joy all day long.

And then I'll recall,
I'll waste no time at all.

Laundry, sweeping, cleaning dishes,
Not simply dwelling or waiting on wishes!

But that is just fine,
I won't dare to whine.

For it means I've been given,
Another day of this livin'.

My belly is full, there's a roof near my head,
And I'll thank God for all this, as I lay down in bed.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Quick Monkey Muffins

Happy Saturday!

This morning's breakfast was purely an experiment - and a delicious one at that. After a few crazy weeks at work and a few more busy out-of-town weekends in between, it was high time for a laid-back Saturday morning spent drinking coffee and watching cooking shows. Love :)

FYI - Today the Pioneer Woman reminded me I needed to bake this amazing chocolate cake and Trisha Yearwood now has me craving pimento and cheese sandwiches. Be still my heart.

FYI 2.0 - I despised pimento and cheese sandwiches until about two years ago. Nothing happened, I literally woke up one day and immediately, waved my fist and declared, "I MUST HAVE PIMENTO AND CHEESE!" (dramatic interpretation, obvi.) I couldn't stop thinking about how delicious it suddenly seemed and eventually made my way to the store to purchase said product. I haven't turned back since.

But I digress.

Last night while heading home from the grocery store I heard a sudden "POP!" from the floor of the car. A can of biscuits I'd grabbed in the store (for a future experiment!!!!) had burst open and into the grocery bag.

It only made sense to use them to make these little beauties this morning. Couldn't let the biscuits go bad, now could we? ;)

I've been dreaming about making monkey bread since this post at Christmas time. Then I joined the crazy boot camp and went on a crazy "healthy food only" kick for about four months. While I still aim to eat healthy, I've slowly allowed myself to indulge in something sweet every now and then. So this morning, I decided it was high time to cash in on my monkey bread dreams.

Since I am a household of one, a full monkey bread cake is probably not a good idea. So hence these baby monkey muffins - just enough for a taste of monkey bread for one :)

I scaled down a Bell's Best recipe to use with only two canned biscuits, then added a few of my own ideas. My suggestion: before baking, poke a few holes in top of the biscuits, then add the glaze. This way the inside of the biscuit has a nice flavor as well.

These also taste great when they're dunked in a cup of coffee. Enjoy!


Mini Breakfast Monkey Muffins for One

Adapted from Bell's Best cookbook
Canned Biscuits (I used two)
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1 tbsp Karo syrup
pinch of brown sugar
cream cheese
Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Brush 1 tbsp of melted butter on biscuits dip in the cinnamon mixture. Place in a baking pan. Combine remaining butter and Karo syrup, then add to remaining cinnamon mixture. Poke holes in the tops of biscuits, then drizzle the glaze over the top, making sure it seems into the holes. Top them off with a pinch of brown sugar and touch of cream cheese - adds just a little extra sweetness! Bake for 10-15 minutes or until biscuits are cooked thoroughly. Serve warm and enjoy!