Writing My Story

new-years-eveHappy New Year! I’m welcoming 2014 with open arms.

We rang in the new year with friends and family at my sister-in-law and her boyfriend’s house. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a terrible hangover on New Year’s Day, but I felt great today due to the fact that I only had two drinks last night and chased them with multiple bottles of water! It feels nice to start off 2014 on the right foot 🙂

And today has been super chill. I took a glorious 2-hour nap this afternoon, complete with the dog and cat snuggling on the bed with me. I’m making a batch of Hoppin’ John to ensure this year is a lucky one. And no New Year’s Day in the Philly area would be complete without watching the Mummers’ Parade by a cozy fire.

mummers

I also spent a little bit of time defining my quarterly goals and my resolutions for the year. I printed them out and am going to post them in my home office where I can see them often.

quarterly-goals

Here’s what it says:

Health:
Attend Camp Savage in January, 2014

Happiness:
Pay off Target credit card
Plan a mini-getaway with my love for Valentine’s Day

Habitat:
Finish home office redo
Make a winter wreath for our front door

Hobbies:
Learn how to knit
Restart my blog as a personal diary

The last goal listed above brings me to my final point — I have rejoined Cathy Savage’s coaching services (!!) and am really excited to tackle some new health & fitness goals in 2014.  She has challenged her clients to “chronicle our year.  12 months, 12 chapters.  Your life story…it’s going to be an amazing odyssey.”  I know this blog has had a lot of starts and stops along the way, but I’m going to use it as my place to record my personal story…even if no one but me reads it but me 😉

And finally, if you would like to download a copy of the little printable I made to write down your own quarterly goals, click here!

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Thanksgiving for Two

No need for a bird this big!

This year, my husband and I will be relaxing at home on Thanksgiving, just the two of us.  It’s a little strange – every year of my life since birth, I’ve been surrounded by a big group of family members on turkey day.  But it will be nice to relax at home with my love and my fur kids.  Plus, it will be my first chance to have a hand at cooking Thanksgiving dinner from start to finish!

However, a party of two will clearly not need to roast a 20 pound bird and cook up 5 pounds of potatoes.  Most traditional Thanksgiving dishes serve 10 – 12 people – yikes!  But the best part of Thanksgiving (in my opinion) is the leftovers, so I wanted to find traditional Thanksgiving foods in smaller portions that would give us a day or two of leftovers to enjoy.

So, I’ve come up with the menu and thought it would be fun to share.  I searched the ‘net and found some relatively easy-to-prepare dishes that serve 2 – 4 people.  I haven’t prepared any of these recipes before, so I can’t vouch for how they will turn out, but I’ll follow up with another post-Thanksgiving review!

Click here to view our Thanksgiving Menu for Two, as well the full recipes for each dish.  (available on Google Docs)

And just because I’m a total weirdo, I thought it would also be fun to share my shopping list, which I’ve put into an excel spreadsheet.  Each ingredient is listed, along with the quantity needed, the recipe that it is used for, where I can find it at the grocery store, and if I can buy it in advance.  I’m planning to shop once this weekend and once next weekend for our Thanksgiving groceries.

Click here to download my Thanksgiving menu shopping list. (available on Google Docs)

And to give credit to my sources, here is where I found each dish listed in my menu:
Spiced Pecans
Brined Turkey Breast
Apple Sausage Dressing
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Potato Casserole
Spinach Cranberry Walnut Salad
Maple Pots de Creme with Praline Topping

Please let me know if you try any of these recipes!

Anyone else having a non-traditional Thanksgiving this year?  Please share!

(and have a fabulous weekend!)

Skinny Cinco de Mayo

Eek!  Has anyone seen the new Crystal Light Mocktail flavors??

You best believe that even though I was in competition prep mode a couple of weeks ago when I spotted this at Target, I snatched one of those puppies up faster than you can say “margarita!”

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, let’s talk about some skinny recipes with Mexican flair!

First – I’m totally going to try to make my own “skinny girl” margarita with this Crystal Light.  No, I’m not a big fan of the chemicals and fake sweeteners AT ALL.  But I am, however, a big fan of my ass not getting any bigger.  So there.

I plan to try the following recipe:

  • 2 – 3 parts skinny margarita drink mix
  • 1 part goooood tequila
  • a splash of cointreau
  • fresh squeeze of lime
  • serve over rocks glass with ice & salt

Next, let’s talk about my kryptonite.  I’m talking chips and salsa.  For as long as I can recall, they have been my absolute favorite food to nosh on.  And I’m not picky!  I love just about any kind of salsa and any kind of chip and any kind of fixin’s.  But let’s do the math, thanks to this post on Cooking Light:

IF YOU STOP AT A QUARTER-BASKET … You’re eating well. That’s a sensible portion (about 1¼ ounces). 169 CALORIES

KEEP CRUNCHING … Half a basket means 338 calories. Salt’s starting to add up. 200MG SODIUM

IF YOU ASK FOR A REFILL … for both the chip basket and the margarita you’ve just emptied: 1,085 CALORIES

HOW THE SIDES ADD UP (2-tablespoon serving)

Salsa: 10 CALORIES Guacamole: 50 CALORIES Queso: 70 CALORIES

Holy guacamole!!  Here are a couple of ways to cut down on calories:

These are my favorite!!  Only 100 calories and it’s the perfect portion of guacamole.  They taste fresh and delicious and spicy and yummy.  And, the little packs freeze beautifully!  I like to keep them in my freezer and then grab a pack and throw it in with my salad or sandwich.  By lunchtime, the little pack is thawed just right.  If you don’t like spicy foods, Wholly Guacamole also makes a regular version of this as well.

And how about the chips?  Substitute baked for fried chips and you’re saving yourself countless calories and fat grams.

Here’s a nice recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com for baked tortilla chips that includes added zing of spices and lime juice!

1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
             Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).               
  2. Cut each tortilla into 8 chip sized wedges and arrange the wedges in a single layer on a cookie sheet.               
  3. In a mister, combine the oil and lime juice. Mix well and spray each tortilla wedge until slightly moist.               
  4. Combine the cumin, chili powder and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle on the chips.               
  5. Bake for about 7 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 8 minutes or until the chips are crisp, but not too brown. Serve with salsas, garnishes or guacamole.               

Finally, how about a delicious entree that has all the flavors of Mexico and is still healthy and vibrant?

Well…my husband absolutely LOVES fish tacos.  He could probably eat them every single day and never get sick of them.  Even on our wedding day he ate fish tacos for his “last meal” as a single guy!

And last year for his birthday I made him this recipe, courtesy of Bobby Flay on the Food Network site, which I think made him want to marry me all over again 😉

Ingredients

Tacos:

  • 1 pound white flaky fish, such as mahi mahi or orata
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 flour tortillas

Garnish:

  • Shredded white cabbage
  • Hot sauce
  • Crema or sour cream
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Thinly sliced green onion
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • Pureed Tomato Salsa, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place fish in a medium size dish. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, ancho, jalapeno, and cilantro and pour over the fish. Let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade place onto a hot grill, flesh side down. Grill the fish for 4 minutes on the first side and then flip for 30 seconds and remove. Let rest for 5 minutes then flake the fish with a fork.

Place the tortillas on the grill and grill for 20 seconds. Divide the fish among the tortillas and garnish with any or all of the garnishes.

Pureed Tomato Salsa:

  • 2 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat grill or use side burners of the grill. Heat oil in medium saucepan, add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add tomatoes, serrano and jalapeno and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Puree the mixture with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Add the hot sauce, oregano, cilantro and lime juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Please let me know if you try any of these recipes and enjoy a happy healthy Cinco!!!

A happy Easter in pictures

Hey friends!  Hope you had a lovely Sunday.  We had such a nice Easter…the hubby and I went to his sister’s house and ate a delicious lunch together out on their deck.  It was sooo warm and sunny and relaxing!

Here’s the day (mostly in photos):

My Easter gift!!

My Easter outfit:

It was a little chilly, so I threw on this sweater with it:

I like how the belt looked with the dress!  (First mentioned here):

Speckled easter nails

My hubby and father-in-law

My hubby Picklebowing 😉

How was your weekend?