Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pinterest Weekend

Last weekend gave us an extra day since we were off for MLK Day. I decided to use such day trying healthy recipes I found on Pinterest. I've taken about 3 months off from healthy eating and exercise due to play season and the holidays, but the scale don't lie... And the bastard basically yelps in pain when I step on nowadays, so I decided it's high time I got back to it.

I like to meal prep for the week. That helps me stay on track and not come in from work starving, which leads to eating whatever is quickest. I looked up three different recipes for my weekly meal prep: one for breakfast, one for snacks, and one for dinner. For breakfast, I settled on a quinoa egg bake.

Quinoa Egg Bake
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
8 eggs
1 1/4 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup finely shredded romano or parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 dish with the teaspoon of butter; set aside. Rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear and drain well. In a large bowl, whish together eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and quinoa. Stir in spinach, then pour mixture into dish. Cover tightly with foil then jiggle dish gently from side to side so quinoa settles to the bottom. Bake about 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle top with cheese; return to oven and bake, uncovered, until golden brown and crisp, about 10-15 minutes more. Set aside and let cool before slicing into 6 equal servings (250 calories each).


Verdict: This was my first experience with quinoa, and once I invest in an extremely fine-mesh strainer, I'm sure I'm going to love it. I did not use nearly a whole cup of cheese (though I love it) because I didn't think it would need it. Turns out, I could've used more cheese. Also, I could've read the directions in full before slicing because I cut it into 9 servings... which makes mine only about 170 calories per serving (actually less since I used less cheese). The first time I tried it, I thought I was going to have to throw the entire pan away. But after having it for 2-3 days, I'm rather enjoying it. I put each slice into a container and I just pop it in my microwave at school for a quick breakfast. I'll be making it again! Possibly with a few variations.

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For snacks, I decided to try a flour-free peanut butter muffin. I LOVE peanut butter, so how could this be bad, right?


PB & Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 medium ripe banana
1 large egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 TB vanilla 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Spray mini muffin pans with Pam or Baker's Joy. Add all ingredients (except chocolate chips) to blender. Blend on high until creamy. Add chocolate chips and stir with a spoon (if you're adding them). Spoon mixture into pans until about 3/4 full. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until tops are set. This makes 17 mini muffins at 100 calories each. If you skip the chocolate chips, they're just 65 cals.

Verdict: WATCH THE MUFFINS CLOSELY! I burned mine. These suckers cook QUICK. Of course I just tore the outside off and ate the inside because that would be wasteful to throw them away. They're really tasty! I think next time I'll cook them on 350 and start checking them at 5 minutes. It might help to do liners as well. Also, I might even skip the chocolate chips. It was almost too rich with them. I know, shocking revelation for a chocolate lover like myself. I think this will be a keeper once I perfect them!

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For dinner, I knew I was going to make spaghetti squash, but I needed a "topping," so I found an amazing-looking recipe for sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and caramelized onions.

Sauteed Spinach/Mushroom/Caramelized Onions
1 TB olive oil + 1 TB
3 onions, sliced thinly
Salt
1 TB balsamic vinegar
10-15 mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/4 cup milk (optional)
1/2 cup grated parm (optional)

Heat 1 TB olive oil on high heat in a large skillet; add sliced onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly stirring with spatula. The onions should start to brown but not burn. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking onions for 10 more minutes, continuing to stir, as onions brown even more. At this point add just a pinch of salt over onions. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. By the end, you should have cooked onions for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.

While onions are cooking, heat 1 TB olive oil in another pan, and add sliced mushrooms and minced garlic. Add just a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook mushrooms and garlic covered for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring.

Add cooked mushrooms to the pan with caramelized onions, add 3 cups of spinach and stir on low heat just until spinach wilts. Serve as is as a side dish or proceed to make a creamy sauce.

Optional step: Add heavy cream, milk, Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the mushroom-onions-spinach mixture on medium-low heat and mix. Stir to coat on low heat for about 5-10 minutes until cheese melts and starts to coat the vegetables.


Verdict: OBSESSED. I used a whole package of mushrooms cause I love 'em. I didn't do the FULL cream sauce at the end, but I did add a little sum'n. I skipped the milk and just added about 1/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup parm. It was delicious as-is, but cheese ain't never hurt nothin'. It makes 4 servings (my version has about 215 calories each... would have less without any added stuff at the end), but I divided mine into 3 containers for dinner this week. I piled it on top of roasted spaghetti squash for a healthy and satisfying meal that could be heated in 1 minute. The entire meal is less than 300 calories. #Winning.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 in Review

Another one bites the dust. Holler, 2014.


JANUARY
Penn at 11 months

We celebrated 5 years of marriage, and Penn turned 11 months old. That's about it. :)


FEBRUARY 

Jane's shower

Penn is 1!

I hosted Janie's baby shower; Penn turned 1 year old and it snowed; and Penn celebrated his birthday with a Hole in ONE Birthday Par-Tee.


MARCH

Second surgery on ears

MaryCollis had a half birthday (3.5), Penn said his first word (ball), we went to several birthday parties, Penn got a second set of tubes and his adenoid removed, AND Miss Holland Holder Blake graced us with her presence.


APRIL

Pizza Party

We had spring fever and spent a lot of time at the park and had many tea parties. Also, Easter. And not much else happened (or at least I didn't blog about it).


MAY

Mugshots for Passports

Mother's Day

We celebrated Mother's Day, the kids got passports for our upcoming Mexico trip, Penn turned 15 months old, and MC had her AWANA program + ballet recital at school.


JUNE

Oklahoma City

I started personal training, we celebrated Father's Day, attended the Touch-a-Truck event downtown, I directed Vacation Bible School and MC attended, and we took a road trip to Oklahoma City with LaLa.


JULY

July 3

Mexico

We celebrated my 29th birthday and July 4th, we stopped at the Louisiana Children's Museum on our way to Mexico, and we had THE BEST VACATION EVER in Mexico for Lindsay and Andrew's wedding.


AUGUST

MC's first day of K3

MC Under the Sea

August, as always, brought the beginning of school. Not just for me this year, but MC too! I moved to high school (hallelujah!), and MC started K3 at St. John's. Penn celebrated a half birthday and got rid of the pacifier. We went to Peyton's 4th birthday party. And we had MC's 4th birthday party a little early (to avoid football season).


SEPTEMBER

MC is 4!

Farm fun

We celebrated Labor Day and bought a new car. MaryCollis turned 4 on September 2nd. We went to Kayla and Bret's engagement party. I hosted a tailgating girls night at my house. And play season officially began.


OCTOBER

Auburn win

K3 Halloween party

This month we celebrated Pink out the Jungle, we went to Loblolly, we took the kids to the Auburn game (which was awesome and made us #1 in the nation... what?!), we went to Eagle Fest at St. John's and the fair, MC performed with her children's choir - Cornerstone Kids, Chad turned 35 (and got a Rolex!), and we had many Halloween parties and trunk or treats.


NOVEMBER

Family photos

Cinderella

Emma Kate's 4th birthday party was this month. We took horrible family photos. I was consumed with my first production at NEJ: Cinderella, we had the laziest Thanksgiving break in the history of ever, and we threw a tailgating shower for Kayla and Bret.


DECEMBER

Reading after the annual cookie party

Pennster

The first week of December, as always, brought the downtown tree lighting, MC's annual cookie party, Pancake Day, and the parade. It also brought the arrival of Miss Madilyn Grace McKenzie, and I enjoyed so many snuggles this month. MC had her first recital with her new dance class, and we finally got Kayla and Bret married. We hosted the Arts League Christmas party and enjoyed some time in NOLA by ourselves. We saw LOTS of family over the holidays and did LOTS of eating (just ask my bathroom scale). We took the kids to NOLA for a last-minute trip and came back just in time to do nothing on New Year's Eve.

I didn't do much blogging this fall, so you can catch up on October-December events here. All in all, 2014 was pretty good. I decided I can hang with this teaching thing... as long as it's high schoolers. I fell in love with my play kids this year, and I look forward to doing many more shows with them. MC is loving St. John's and looks forward to seeing Mrs. Elizabeth and all of her friends every day. Penn is flourishing at Kids Kingdom and learning so much. Two of my friends had babies, Lindsay officially joined our family, and I got a new car. I'm looking forward to what 2015 holds for us...  especially our 6th anniversary; Penn's second birthday and Hollis' first; our upcoming trip to NYC; my girls getaway to Savannah; the start of a new schoolyear and new play babies; MC's 5th birthday, Chad's 36th, and my 30th (!); the Egg Bowl in Starkville; and more. Bring it on!

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