Category Archives: Recipes

Five Things Friday: Currently

I often see blog posts written in the “currently…” style as in, I am currently doing/feeling/loving/eating/insert-verb-ing-here this. I thought I’d mash that up with Clare‘s Five Things Friday and do five “currently…” updates. (And if you missed yesterday’s restaurant post, be sure to check it out – it’s been awhile since I wrote a good old restaurant visit recap!)

Link up with Clare if you are sharing five things on this Friday!

1. Currently snacking on…Sweet & Salty Chex Mix Popped. I was sent a couple of new Chex Mix products (and honestly can’t remember who did so…but thank you to the mystery network/PR company that did so) from the lower-fat Popped line. I opened the bag and thought I was being all smart portioning out a bit to mix into my chocolate pudding…until I instantly became addicted after bite #1. I even got out of bed to get more after I’d finished my first helping. Foiled by crack-like snack products! Screw portion control.

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MorningStar Farms Meatball Bake

MorningStar Farms products were a staple in my household back when I was still living at home with my parents. My mom often liked to “sneak” the Meal Starter “Crumbles” into family meals (I say sneak because my siblings and dad are not quite as open minded about plant-based protein as my mom and I are!), like her Mexi-Casserole. But I hadn’t tried any other products from this brand aside from the crumbles, so I was excited to have the chance to try some new stuff, thanks to this Clever Girls campaign.

I was also fortunate enough to receive this lovely glass/plate set with wooden utensils, napkin, and a placemat!

I was also fortunate enough to receive this lovely glass/plate set with wooden utensils, napkin, and a placemat!

I was challenged by MorningStar Farms to pick a theme and build a recipe around it, so I selected 15-minute meals. I am a very busy person and quick is certainly a component I look for in a recipe, as well as “Does it match what I have on hand?” and “Is it healthy?” Luckily I was given the ability to choose which MorningStar Farms goodies I wanted to try, and the decision was tough since the products are so varied and versatile. But I was inspired by this Lightened-Up Meatball Casserole by Julie of PB Fingers, so that made my decision to try the veggie meatballs an easy one. Almost as easy as my recipe ;-)

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Five Things Friday: Marvelous!

My Taste of Nature bar giveaway ends tonight, and it has FIVE winners, so make sure you enter!

I missed the Marvelous In My Monday party this week but better late than never right? This week has been loads better than the last and I’m excited to link up with Clare today to share five marvelous things on Five Things Friday!

1. My workouts this week have been way better!

Thank goodness I was able to get back to my evening group fitness classes. Monday I took Danielle’s amazing spin class, and I took another pretty good spin class on Tuesday evening. Wednesday night I invited Jeannie to join me for Total Body Conditioning and I’m so glad I did because I may have copped out and done a not-as-tough StepMill workout instead if I hadn’t already committed to the class by inviting her! She was super curious since I am always talking about how tough the class is and yeah…it was tough. But we both felt great after and want to commit to going every week. I’m glad to have someone to motivate me to attend! Here’s one of the moves we did:

2. I’m proud of how well I handled Wednesday’s dinner out.

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Chicken Veggie Barley Bake

A few weeks ago, Brittany sent me this recipe from Layers of Happiness (she and I love sending each other recipes – especially those involving baby cabbages). I knew immediately I wanted to use some leftover uncooked barley I had to make my own version! So this past Sunday during my weekly meal prep, I did just that. Monday night dinner was the moment of truth. How would it turn out? The verdict was…GREAT! So I’m here to share my take…

Chicken Veggie Barley Bake

(Adapted from Layers of Happiness Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Quinoa Bake)

Makes 4 servings

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The Better Chip Crusted Chicken & Buffalo Brussels

The Better Chip provided me with product and/or compensation for this post, however the opinions I shared are my own.


I recently joined The Better Chip Blogger Program and received a kit with samples of many different chip flavors, plus some fun “accessories”.

How awesome is that headband? I already promised Becki the gluten-free button!

How awesome is that headband? I already promised Becki the gluten-free button!

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WIAW: Cheddar Chicken-Veggie-Potato Chowder

A very special happy birthday to my darling blend Kaitlin of For Love of Carrots! I will be visiting her this weekend so we can celebrate in person and I just can’t wait!

I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds it helpful to focus on goals that don’t have to do with food/fitness! Though I have to admit I was a bit of a fail with some of my goals the day I set them – blah.

  • Appreciate More: I certainly kept my head up despite snow changing my gym plans and being a general nuisance. After all I got to go home to hang with my dad, who’d just returned from our FL condo (bad timing Dad!), and my boss was nice enough to let me leave work a bit early to try to beat snowy rush hour (I didn’t, but it was a nice thought!). I had plenty to appreciate, and I certainly did so.
  • Cook At Home More: More on that later in this post!
  • Separate From My Phone More: I was definitely on my phone less yesterday than usual, most likely due to writing my blog post, but I still didn’t want to leave it downstairs at all during dinner. I was watching SNL on the DVR with my dad and kept finding so many tweet worthy things to comment on – not things Drake said, but #shitmydadsays!
  • Go Outside More: Another fail. I knew that a polar vortex and a storm was coming so I just did not go outside during the work day, not even to take one breath of fresh air. However I was feeling a lot more upbeat yesterday and didn’t really find a need to go outside to “center myself”. I had lots of paperwork to do and that is always nice for me, to just plug away at my desk with my music going.

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Pacific Foods: Man-Friendly Casserole

Interrupting my Thanksgiving long weekend recapping to bring you this sponsored post for Pacific Foods. You can read the full-version over on their blog!

I recently started doing some cooking on my own, but with other peoples’ recipes. So imagine my excitement when I created my OWN recipe! Casseroles are a great “first recipe creation” because they seriously are just a bunch of ingredients mixed together in a pan and then heated in the oven. Have pan and oven, will casserole!

photo

Right before the star ingredient – the beans – was added!

I dub this the Man-Friendly Casserole because I made it with my main man – my dad – in mind. My mom was still down in Florida at our condo but he came home to go back to work. So on a Sunday afternoon, I put together this casserole for the two of us to share the next night. It was super easy to throw in the oven and heat up after we both got home from long days at work and the gym. The size was perfect for two. Also the only green in it came from peas, which bros just adore because you can’t taste them.

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WIAW: I Cooked!

Whenever I do a What I Ate Wednesday post (thanks Jenn!) that features at-home meals, it shows off my mom’s amazing healthy dishes. Truth (though I’ve never been secretive about this): pretty much every one of my recipes was created by her. Well today I’ve got something new cooking…two dishes THAT I MADE. They may not be recipes I created (I’ll be sharing one of those later!) but they are recipes I took from my Recipes I’d Actually Make Pinterest board. And now I’m able to take a cue from Sam and move those two recipes to a board titled I MADE THIS. Yes in all caps, because I”m that excited about it.

The reason I don’t have much experience with cooking is because I live at home to save money (I always feel the need to throw the reasoning in there…I’m not a 30 year old living it up in my parent’s basement – although my room IS in the basement). My mom is an awesome cook and she always makes super-healthy dinners for me. Believe me it’s come in handy especially given the fact that I do the gym after work, and when I get home I am just hungry and ready to chow down after my shower. But I won’t be living at home forever and I definitely have been fearing getting too content with my mom’s cooking and too dependent upon restaurants, take-out, and the Whole Foods salad bar. My parents have been spending more time than ever in our FL condo so I decided it was the perfect time to practice my cooking!

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Mom’s White Bean Chicken Chili

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for a personal wine cellar from Staples – don’t miss out! And remember to check out my post about New Britain Museum of American Art events…they announced yesterday on their Facebook page the winner of their giveaway for a pair of tickets to tonight’s Scotch vs Bourbon event. Tickets are still available – hope to see you there!

This past Tuesday night I settled in no the couch with a perfect fall dinner (especially given the cold temperatures that evening)…a steaming bowl of white chicken chili with added turkey sausage and roasted zucchini. My Instagram of the meal got lots of positive feedback, and a few recipe requests. (This is also the same chili I enjoyed after my night out on Wednesday).

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From Left to Write Book Club: The Funeral Dress

No one has ever entrusted impoverished Emmalee with anything important, but she takes it upon herself to sew her mentor’s resting garment in The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore. Join From Left to Write on October 15 as we discuss The Funeral Dress.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

My mom actually read this October From Left to Write book club novel before I did, and I went into it a bit wary because she wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. She did though, because The Funeral Dress takes place in the South around the same time she grew up in the same region. I ended up enjoying it too! My parents’ Southern heritage, my fond memories of visits to relatives in the South and to the University of Tennessee, and my fondness for most people I meet from the area may have biased me slightly toward that enjoyment. But no matter where the novel took place, I am confident in saying that I think Susan Gregg Gilmore succeeded in telling a story that had me invested in its characters and glued to each chapter.

From Left to Write is all about inspiring members to publish not a review, but a blog post on any topic the novel inspired within us. I actually drafted an entire post about fond memories of visiting my relatives in the South, but I really didn’t like it. I felt forced while writing it and I hate hitting “Publish” if I’m not happy with what I wrote. SO I just deleted it all and am starting over right now. I’m actually going to take a totally different turn (think a turn that the GPS told you to make, and so you did, but then you end up crashed into a lake) and write about a completely silly topic – tater tots.

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