Hi Bloggies – this is going to be a big post…we have lots to catch up on!
Let’s see, where to start, where to start. How about lunch on Saturday? Sound good? 🙂
Saturday I made some yummy wraps for Chris and I with some new found goodies from Costco. My wrap featured a whole wheat + flax Flat Out Wrap, sundried tomatoes (which I rinsed and blotted to get rid of some of the oil they were packed in), gouda and oven roasted turkey breast. On the side, I made mega-veggies on the Griddler. First, I grilled some French cut green beans and tossed them with lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper and a little feta. This is seriously becoming an obsession in our house. They are SO good! I also made a sweet side with baby carrots grilled and then tossed with a mix of pure maple syrup, cinnamon and Emeril’s essence. I think the carrots would have been better had I grilled them and then maybe baked/microwaved them with the sauce so it thickened up a little and the flavors melded a little better. But…they were still a hit!
And then, I started baking. Do you ever just have a really intense urge to bake/make elaborate meals? I couldn’t stop myself Saturday and made 2 batches of whole-wheat dinner rolls (which I neglected to take a picture of when they were pretty in the pan…they’re just not as photogenic when you break them up to put in a tupperware :() and a mega-loaf of focaccio. Normally, the recipe (from Betty Crocker’s Best of Baking) makes 2 loaves but I knew we’d be using this bread to make paninis this week and wanted something a little thicker. I adapted Betty’s recipe and used 1/2 bread flour and 1/2 whole-wheat flour. The result is a dense, chewy, flavorful bread. Love it!
While my rolls were rising I ran out for a quick 3.88M run and came home to a few snacks I picked up at Costco (by the way, LOVE Costco right as it opens on Saturday morning, I was in and out in less than 40 minutes which is a record since I have a need to peruse the whole store when I go in). I had a small bowl with Sahale vanilla/pom cashews and some dried apricots.
These apricots are great, no added sugar and the only item on the ingredients list I don’t 100% love is the sulphur dioxide added to retain color. The cashews are HEAVENLY. They have cashews, dried apples, dried pomegranate, pomegranate juice, sea salt and crushed up vanilla beans. Mmmm!
Saturday night we were going to rent Crazy Heart, but alas I had my dates wrong and it actually doesn’t come out until this weekend. Boo 😦 Instead, I caught up on this week’s episode of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge while Chris played video games (surprise, surprise). This season seems like it will be drama filled and fabulous…what can I say, I”m a sucker for MTV reality shows!
I also started reading a new book series – the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I have to admit that I picture the heroine in the story looking like J-Wow from the Jersey Shore 😉 I’ll provide a full book review soon!
I picked up a great deep sided/covered skillet at Costco Saturday morning ($21…score!!) and knew just what to make Saturday night to try it out. I had seen Rachel Ray make skillet lasagna when I was home sick Thursday and we had all the ingredients on hand for my own version.
First, I browned about a pound of lean turkey in a little olive oil with Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, once browned, I drained off the excess liquid.
While the turkey was cooking I made a big pot of pasta, I forget what this cut is called, they are shaped like long s’s and held up really well to the saucy mixture I subjected them too. This is from an organic brand at Costco.
Once the pasta and turkey are ready, I combined them in my skillet with a jar of pasta sauce (I hate to say it, but we love Ragu in this house…I know it’s not organic, but the ingredients list isn’t a mile long and we both just like the flavor…so sue me ;)) and a small container of ricotta cheese. Heat this fabulous mix to boiling to be sure it’s heated through.
Once hot, top with gobs of mozarella and either place under the broiler/in the oven or, if you are already using the oven for a massive baking extravaganza like I was, just put a lid on it and let the cheese steam melt 🙂
Oh yes, ooey gooey perfection.
Sunday I woke up and went for my long-run, it was only 6 miles this week but felt like I was running for HOURS. At the 3 mile turn around I seriously wanted to just sit in the field and make smoke signals until someone came and rescued me (I normally carry my cell phone on LR’s but was thinking “It’s only 6 miles, I can do 6 miles in my sleep” right…). I knew I was dehydrated when I started my run, but since we had things to get done Sunday afternoon I grabbed 3 Clif shot blocks (cran-razz flavor, yum!!) and a big bottle of water and hit the trail. #1 issue? The stupid !@#@!#@ fuel belt I grabbed, I hate it. I really do. It was my very first fuel belt and I have to tighten it about as tight as it will go so the single bottle doesn’t bounce. I much prefer my 4-bottle belt which fits close to the body with slimmer bottles. I just can’t handle a bouncy bottle! Then, my legs felt like lead from hill repeats on Saturday and the sun was blazing high in the sky by the time I got out on the trail. It was a hilly 6 miles and the last 3 miles I told myself I was going to gut it out no matter how slow I was going (finished at right about 12 min mile pace) and I conned myself into saying hello/good morning/have a good run/ride to everyone I passed for the last 3 miles. It was so nice to turn some of my negative energy into positive energy…even though I was seething on the inside, I was smiling on the outside. Fake it til you make it, right? I also dumped some water on my head at about 4 miles…oh it felt good! It wasn’t even that warm out…just a bad run. We all have them from time to time 🙂
Post-run we grabbed Quizno’s for lunch before hitting our storage unit (had to fill out paperwork for a locksmith to come out and cut our lock off as we have lost our keys…boo) and visited Chris’ dad for his birthday. We also saw my niece Sunday, she’s seriously turning into the CUTEST kid on the block. Here are a couple pictures from Easter – yes, she’s quite the little Diva and had an outfit change mid-day, she just wasn’t mobile enough in her dress and tights 🙂
We also hit up Safeway on Saturday…for the drum-roll please…much awaited Safeway/Betty Crocker/My Blog Spark giveaway! I have been promising to share with you for too long and finally made it to the store to cash in on my prize pack 🙂 I received a great sampler pack from Betty Crocker/Safeway Family of Stores and My Blog Spark of a mixing bowl/spoon, oven mitt, baking pan and $25 gift card to Safeway.
I cashed in my $25 gift card for some great goodies – muffin mixes:
Gluten free mixes:
I was really pleasantly surprised at the variety of mixes available as well as the price – that’s a load of loot for $25! I also had enough left on my gift card to pick up some cupcake tins and a bag of organic turbinado sugar.
It just so happened I hadn’t had a cake for my birthday yet and what is a birthday without cake? Growing up, my dad would always make a chocolate cake with “peanut butter frosting” for my birthday. The frosting is probably the most unhealthy thing known to man – butter cream frosting + a HUGE gob of peanut butter…but it tastes like birthday to me! I used my Betty Crocker dark chocolate cake mix and was really happy with the results. The cake turned out moist and fluffy and just plain good. I added some chocolate chips and toffee bits to the mix before baking for a little extra something. This giveaway is to promote Betty Crocker’s Bake Sweet Memories website so it only seemed fitting to bake something that brings back so many memories.
To go with my cake, I made Chris and I baked chicken paninis. I baked the chicken with tons of savory spices, sliced it and grilled it on Saturday’s foccacio with sliced gouda. I topped my sandwich with hot sauce and insane amounts of avocado.
On the side we had baked beans and rice which I steamed with chicken stock and veggies
All together now
Phew…this post IS getting long!
Today’s eats were actually pretty boring…for lunch I made a bowl with rice, avocado and tomatoes (it also had a new chick pea product which I’ll review later in the week) and a pink lady apple. Dinner was leftover skillet lasagna…love making a huge pot that lasts for days 🙂
And with that…here’s your chance to win your very own gift pack from Safeway/My Blog Spark/Betty Crocker. You’ll receive a baking pan, mixing bowl, mixing spoon, pot holder and $25 gift card good at the Safeway family of stores. To enter, just leave a comment below with your favorite food related memory by 5pm Mountain Time on Wednesday April 21st. I’ll randomly select a winner in my Wednesday night post. Just a reminder – you do not have to be a blogger to enter, I know my blog sees a lot of non-blogger traffic, feel free to enter! Everyone (sorry Chris, you’re excluded) is eligible 🙂 Cannot wait to hear your memories!