Warm Weather Eats & A Summertime Recipe

Happy Hump Day!

Whereas last week seemed to drag by, this week seems to be flying by. No complaints here! I know as the school year draws to a close, I’ll be begging for things to slow down so I’ll have time to get all my loose ends tied up, but for now, I’m happy for things to keep on speeding by!

Speaking of the school year ending and summer approaching, do y’all have those certain foods that just scream warm weather to you?

For me it’s always fresh fruits and veggies. But, there are also a few other foods and drinks that just radiate summertime to me.

1. Watermelon

2. Corn on the Cob – mmm!

3. anything on the grill

4. Strawberry Shortcake

5. Peaches

6. Popsicles – yep, I’m still a kid

There’s actually a place in my hometown called Steel City Pops that sells all kinds of unique popsicle flavors. It reminds me of the cupcake or froyo craze, only in popsicle form. You should definitely check them out if you’re every in the Birmingham, Alabama area. They have a few locations throughout town.

7. Lemonade

8. Cold pasta salad

Speaking of pasta salad, I recently shared a picture with you of a new recipe I tried. I know, I know… it wasn’t very nice of me to tease you like that. Today is your lucky day though, a new summertime recipe is commin’ atcha!

Balsamic Chicken, Tomato, Basil, and Pasta Salad

How’s that for a long name?! Don’t be alarmed though, the name may be complicated, but I assure you, the recipe is simple and delicious!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

– 1 bag Refrigerated Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips

*** OR, if you’re not lazy like I am, 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast – cooked***

– 1 1/2 C. cherry tomatoes, diced

– 2 C. baby spinach, chopped

– 4 tbsp. basil, finely chopped

– 1/2 C. red bell pepper, diced

– 1 Tbsp. olive oil

– 1/2 C. balsamic vinaigrette

– 1-2 Tbsp. dijon mustard

– salt and pepper to taste

– 8 oz. dried pasta (I recommend rotini or farfalle)

Directions

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, and drain.

2. While pasta cooks, chop tomatoes, spinach, and basil.

3. Dice bell pepper and sauté in the olive oil for 2-4 minutes, or until tender

4. Dice chicken breasts into strips.

5. Stir together pasta, prepared vegetables, and chicken.

6. Combine balsamic vinaigrette, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to make a sauce/dressing to pour over pasta.

7. Stir dressing into pasta mix until dressing coats all pasta, vegetables, and chicken and all ingredients are well combined. Serve immediately, or chill an hour+  for flavors to really set in.

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This was absolutely delicious and is most definitely one of my new “go-to” summertime recipes! I served mine alongside a pretty awesome salad topped with feta and crushed almonds.

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Doesn’t get much more “summery” than a meal full of fresh fruits and veggies, served chilled on a warm Alabama night.

Let me know if you give the recipe a try. You’re gonna want to, I promise!

Linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons today for WIAW. Go check out all the goodness!

Let’s Chat…

1. What foods scream summer or warm weather to you?

2. What’s a new recipe you’ve tried recently?

3. Best thing you ate last week? For me…DEFINITELY that pasta!

 

Accountability and an Extra Delicious Dinner

It’s another wonderful Wednesday around here! I like Wednesdays since it means we’re now on the “downside” of the week, coasting into the weekend. Smile

Yesterday was another pretty normal day of eats. I tend to get repetitive with my meals and snacks – especially on weekdays when things are more hectic. On one hand, it’s great because on those crazy days when I don’t have any brain power left, I don’t have to think about what to pack for lunches or snacks. I just pack what I have on hand, and what I  normally take.

However, on the other hand, I think it can be harmful for me. Since I have a history of disordered eating, and in fact still definitely consider myself in recovery, eating repetitive meals and snacks lets me stay in my “safe zone”. It allows me to remain comfortable, and doesn’t challenge various “food fears” that I may have.

That said, I DO plan to begin to challenge myself more – especially with lunches and snacks. However, today’s WIAW doesn’t showcase any challenges. Soon enough though, and I need you guys to keep me accountable!

Enough talking, let’s hop to it. I’m featuring my eats from Tuesday – a pretty normal day overall, with an extra delicious dinner!

Breakfast7:45am

This week I have morning duty at school, meaning I have to be in my designated position at 7am in order to supervise kids before they’re allowed in their classrooms at 7:45. Yes, some kids really do get there at 7am. Crazy, right?! Since I was busy “supervising” I didn’t have a chance to eat my pre-made breakfast until a little later. Needless to say, after being awake since 5am, I was about to eat my arm off! I learned my lesson. I will be grabbing something to nibble, pre-breakfast, from here on out.

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Lunch – 12:11 (yes, that’s correct, 12:11)

Oh the joys of school lunch. 22 minutes, and not a minute longer… Needless to say, I’m good at shoving my lunch down quickly. Since I couldn’t really whip out my camera at the lunch table with my kiddos, you’ll have to use your imagination and this recycled photo. It was pretty much exactly the same. But in Tupperware and plastic baggies.

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Snack – 4pm

Obviously I was too hungry to take a picture pre-snack. Winking smile Scarfed down my favorite Luna Bar to tide me over, and because I needed a few extra calories.

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Dinner – 7:30

Oh my, it was a delicious one! I’ve made this chicken salad a handful of times recently and I cannot get enough. It is so delicious! I served the chicken salad in a whole wheat pita alongside some roasted sweet potatoes that I seasoned with season-all, cumin, and chili powder (don’t knock it until you try it!).

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I’m not a mayo lover, and never have been. And that’s one reason that I love this chicken salad. It’s also so fresh, which is exactly what I always seem to crave this time of the year. Since I’ve been loving this chicken salad so much, I thought I’d share the recipe with you!

Healthy Guacamole Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

– 2 cups shredded chicken

– 2 roma tomatoes (or about 1- 1 1/2 cups of diced tomatoes)

– 1 6 oz. container of plain greek yogurt

– 3 tablespoons guacamole

– garlic powder to taste

1. Shred your chicken and set aside.

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2. Dice up 2 of these bad boys.

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3. Add in greek yogurt yogurt, guacamole, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.

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4. Let it sit in the refrigerator until chilled. Serve up and enjoy!

I think this would also be delicious on toasted bread, as a sandwich, or served atop a bed of romaine or spinach.

Snack – 9pm

I ended my day with a little bedtime snack of trail mix, which consisted of a mix of almonds, cashews, and craisins.

It was certainly a great day of eats! Smile

Let’s Chat…

1. Do you have any “fear foods”?

2. What’s the most recent, delicious thing you’ve made?

Bear With Me & A Delicous Snack – WIAW {3/5/14}

HI friends!

Unfortunately, I’m having computer trouble, so I won’t be able to post my regularly scheduled WIAW today. Thanks to Jenn for hosting the par-tay!

I’m hoping to have it fixed relatively quickly. If it isn’t a quick fix, I’ll be able to bring my computer from school home, so hopefully I’ll be back to posting soon! Thank you for understanding, and don’t go anywhere, I’ll be back ASAP!

In the meantime, here’s a recipe for you today.

I made these homemade yogurt granola bars for the husband to grab and go in the mornings. Like  said the other day, he’s hard to please in the breakfast department, but these were a hit!

Ingredients:

– 2 1/2 cups granola (your choice)

– 1/4 cup butter, melted

– 1 cup creamy peanut butter

– 3 (5.3 oz) greek yogurt containers (any flavor and any brand will work)

– 1/2- 1 C. frozen OR fresh fruit (I used strawberries, frozen blue berries would be great too!)

– 3/4 C. crumbled granola

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 dish and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the granola, melted butter and peanut butter. Firmly press mixture into the bottom of your baking dish. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on cooling rack. Freeze for about 5 minutes, or until cold.

3. Spread all 3 yogurt containers evenly on top of the granola mixture. (I used banana flavored greek yogurt, but again, any flavor will work!)

4. Sprinkle fruit and granola evenly on top of yogurt. You can use how ever much or little you’d like.

5. Freeze 3 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before cutting. Cut bars into 5 rows by 2 rows. wrap in parchment/wax paper or foil and return to freezer.

6. Grab and go when you’re ready to eat!

I hope you enjoy if you decide to try it out! Seriously so easy and so yummy. The husband is a fan!

Again, hang with me while I get my computer issues straightened out. I’m hoping to be back tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Let’s Chat…

1. Have you ever made homemade granola/granola bars?

2. What is the best thing YOU ate this past week? I ate lots of yumminess, but I think the winner is a stir fry I threw together randomly, and it turned out great! Love it when that happens. 

Quesadilla Casserole – WIAW {2/19/14}

Welcome to Wednesday! So glad to be half-way through the week already.

If you haven’t chimed in, I’d love to hear your thoughts on yesterday’s post about finding my own fitness style.

Seeing as most of my meals throughout the week are similar from day to day, I won’t bore you with the same ole thing you saw last week. Trust me, it’s all pretty much the same. I’m also happy to report that I’m still adding in some healthy fats, facing food fears, and taking baby steps. 

Today is going to be a long one, since I’m driving to my therapy and nutritional appointments after school, which are a little over an hour away. But, I wanted to pop in quickly to share a new-to-me recipe that I tried out last night, and I think you’ll enjoy!

Last night for dinner, I made a Quesadilla Casserole. It was delicious and something that both John and I enjoyed. It’s a meatless dish, however, you could definitely toss in some grilled chicken or steak to beef it up or if your man likes meat in his meals! 🙂

Quesadilla Casserole

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 15 oz can black beans + 1 15 oz. can canelli or kidney beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved

1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 tsp. parsley flakes

3 10-inch whole wheat tortillas

8 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded

cumin, taco, chili powder to taste

1 cup store-bought enchilada sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add black beans and mash into a chunky paste. Stir in the reserved liquid.

Grease pie plate or round cake pan. In a bowl, combine the corn, parsley, spices, and remaining beans. Place a tortilla in the skillet and spread with 1/3 cup mashed black bean mixture. Top with 2/3 cup corn-bean mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Press to compress the layers. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, mashed black beans, corn-bean mixture and cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve with the enchilada sauce.

**Adapted from this Rachel Ray recipe**

Not the prettiest photo, but it sure was delicious! (Head over to Jenn’s blog, Peas and Crayons to check out more deliciousness from other bloggers participating in WIAW!)

And with that, I’ve gotta run. I hope you all have a Happy Hump Day!

Thursday Thoughts #3

Hey, hey, hey! It’s Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday! Not sure why, but for some reason this week has seemed to drag by for me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s the first time I’ve worked an entire week since early December?

Anyway, it’s that time of the week…Thursday Thoughts! Thanks for hosting this little par-tay Amanda! Head on over to Running with Spoons to check out more Thursday Thoughts

1. I ate my lunch in the car yesterday, out of tupperware. And I must say, it was lovely. Peace and quiet is hard to come by at lunch time, so I’ll take it when I can get it!

2. Why did I eat lunch in the car? I was chosen by my administrator to attend “Turn-Around” training once a month at the county level. That basically means I go hear a bunch of education mumbo jumbo and then am responsible for “turning it around” and teaching the other teachers at my school what I learned about.

While it does stink to have to make sub plans once a month (don’t get me started on how much extra work THAT can be), it is nice to get out of the classroom occasionally and actually get a lunch break. Since I had some errands to take care of today, I didn’t get to go to lunch with the other teachers at the training, but usually that’s a treat too!

3. My husband is a tech genius. Tuesday night, he installed a new outlet that goes with this home automation gadget thingy I got him for Christmas. I obviously have no clue what it does (I just knew he asked for it!). But I think he can remotely control it from his phone…from ANYWHERE!

There are so many things you can buy to go with the device…thermostats, light bulbs, motion sensors, and so on.

4. I’m trying out a new recipe tonight. It’s called Italian Wonder-pot. I found it on pinterest, and it claims to be quick, easy, AND delicious. I’ll let ya know how it goes!

5. I did Jillian Michael’s Ripped in 30 level 1 dvd yesterday. While it wasn’t too challenging, it did make me work hard and get nice and schwety! After a day of meetings, it was nice to move some. I hear level 4 is intense. We’ll see!

6. I also did this butt workout I saw Ashley pin on Pinterest.

Holy glutes! I hope I can get up once I sit down tomorrow!

7. Like I mentioned earlier, Monday night John and I went to watch my little brother play basketball (and my dad is his coach). It was SO fun chatting away in the stands with my mom and watching the boys play. My mom and I never run out of things to talk about.

          

About 5 minutes after the game began, one of my sisters who goes to Auburn University (gag…Roll Tide all the way!), which is about 45 minutes from where we were, walked in. What a fun surprise!!

John and I post-game with my brother Jake and sister Anna. And no, I usually don’t over dress this much for basketball games. 😉 No chance to change after work.

8. Did you guys watch The Bachelor on Monday night? I had to record it on the DVR since we were at the basketball game, but we watched it Tuesday night. What did y’all think? That one girl was crazy!!! And Lucy…um, bold much?! I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.

Who are your favorites? I like a lot of them. I thought Kat was cute, and Clare too. I also like Chelsea and surprisingly, Renee too.

9. I’m a gum addict. So, if you ever feel like sending me some gum, feel free! My favorites are Extra Sweet Watermelon, Peppermint, and Spearmint. 🙂

10. Well, on that note, I’d better go get my “Wonder-pot” on!

And, because my brother’s dog is the cutest, I’ll leave you with this…

Have a great Thursday friends!!!

1. Bachelor chat – GO!

2. Favorite new recipe you’ve tried?

3. Favorite gum flavors?

To Be Honest

To be honest in Alabama, we’re really big babies when it comes to the cold. However, it IS pretty darn cold here, Alabama or not.

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To be honest… when my principal announced yesterday at in-service that there would be NO SCHOOL TODAY and a 10 am start tomorrow, it sounded like someone won the lottery or something, there was so much screaming (out of disappointment, of course ;-)) And then, all motivation for getting prepared for the 2nd semester went right out the window.

The reason for school cancellation and a late start? The cold. I’m not even kidding. Not snow, not ice, just cold (see above, I rest my case). Seriously though, the reasoning behind the decision is that because it did not get above freezing all day yesterday and won’t today either, the brake lines on the busses are in danger of freezing. The risk of harming all the kiddos isn’t worth it (remember, we’re in Alabama, we don’t have fancy non-freezing brake fluid).

To be honest…I think I’d make an awesome stay at home wife. 😉

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This is the picture I’m sending my husband when I tell him I’m making a career change. 😉

To be honest… I was PUMPED when Auburn lost that National Championship last night. That whole “you should pull for the SEC” thing just aint my deal. I’m an Alabama fan through and through and I just can’t find it in my heart to pull for Auburn. #sorryimnotsorry (see this story to get an idea of the Alabama/Auburn rivalry)

To be honest… I’m working up the courage to share my story of disordered eating and my continuing battle with what MY healthy looks like.

To be honest… I thought my legs were going to die after I completed this workout. Thanks for the burn Danica!

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To be honest… I’ve been loving simple circuit or barre/pilates based workouts. Since it’s not currently in my best interest to participate in running or high intensity workouts (another post for another time), these have become my go-to’s. And I must say, they leave me feeling the burn well into the next day.

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Source

To be honest… I’m a little more than excited to watch The Bachelor that we recorded from last night.

To be honest…I’m really bad about getting in food ruts. Do you guys ever do that? I eat the same things over and over. I think it’s due to the fact that I get complacent and it takes no brain power to eat the same things over and over. Also, I have food fears that I need to/am trying overcome, so I think some of it comes from that too.

To be honest…I’m stepping out of my rut tonight and making this for dinner.

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Source – Thanks Gina!

It’s Cajun Chicken Pasta on the Lighter Side…holy yum! I can’t wait to try it, and neither can John. He’s a huge spicy/buffalo/cajun fan. I’ll definitely let you know what we think.

To be honest… my baby brother is such cutie!

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Aaaand, on that note, I’m off to tackle the laundry. (Let’s be honest, I don’t mind washing/drying/folding, but I HATE putting it away.)

Your turn! Be honest with me about…

– how you’re feeling

– what you’re loving

– a guilty pleasure

…the sky’s the limit! 🙂