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!

 

Spring Break WIAW

Good morning friends! It is a beautiful day here today, just cold. Boo! I can’t believe it’s the last week in March and we had freezing temps last night. I know lots of you up north even got snow. I am SO ready for warmer weather to be here to stay!

Since today is Wednesday, that means it’s time for What I ate Wednesday Tuesday. (Thanks Jenn for hosting!) Y’all, let me be honest for a second, I’m horrible at remembering to take pictures of my meals. I have good intentions, but I must just get too excited about digging in and chowing down. Ah well…maybe one of these days… Winking smile

Breakfast – 8:15am

Breakfast was a bowl of oats, topped with peanut butter and strawberries. Boring, maybe. Delicious, definitely!

After my food settled, I did this workout from Danica. It’s a good one!

Full Body At-Home Bodyweight Workout - in less than 25 minutes - quick & effective..jpg

I also completed a 35 minute pilates and cardio workout via fitnessblender.com. Fitness Blender is a GREAT resource for at-home workouts. Most of them require little to no equipment. Perfect for someone like me who doesn’t have a gym membership and relies on home workouts.

Lunch 12:40 pm

Lunch was an open faced whole wheat bagel. I topped it with regular hummus, turkey, lettuce, and tomato slices – with lots of salt and peppa! I served it with mini triscuits (why are bite sized foods so much better? ) and a dark chocolate and oatmeal cookie for dessert.

Photo Mar 25, 12 35 39 PM

Following lunch, I had the itch to get out of the house. I didn’t really have any intention of buying anything, but just wanted to get out and walk around. One of my favorite places to browse is TJ Maxx. Well, wouldn’t ya know I found some things I just couldn’t live without (catch my sarcasm there?).

Photo Mar 25, 3 43 39 PM

I fell in LOVE with these throw pillows for our couch. I’ve had my eye out for some new pillows for a while now, and when I saw these, I knew I couldn’t pass them up! I love how they turned out!

Photo Mar 25, 4 22 27 PM

Please excuse the lighting. I also purchased 2 more (of the same ) pillows for the loveseat.

Snack 4:05 pm

Aint nothing changed here! Still loving my chocolate dipped coconut Luna Bar (unpictured).

Following my snack, I had the itch to do some baking. My go-to when I want to bake, but don’t want to make a huge mess in the kitchen? Homemade chocolate chip cookies. So simple, yet so delicious. They’re John’s absolute favorite and the guys at his office love them too, so I knew I’d have no problem finding something to do with them. The 2 of us have a hard time polishing off 4 dozen cookies. Winking smile

Dinner 7:45 pm

I tried a new recipe last night for dinner. How delicious does this sound…Pizza-esque Tomato Basil Quinoa Casserole?! Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t take any pictures. However, I will hook you up with some pictures from feastie.com’s website. This dish was seriously delicious.

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While I didn’t snap a picture of the finished dish, I DID get a picture of these ridiculously huge grape tomatoes. Have you ever seen such?!

I also had a side salad topped with feta cheese, crushed almonds, and Newman’s Own balsamic vinaigrette.

Snack 9:20 pm

I had a handful of Publix’s Cranberry Nut Organic trail mix for a snack. Delicious!

On today’s agenda…

My mom and sister are driving down for the day. We’re going to re-do and makeover a china cabinet/hutch that my mom found for super cheap. I’m SO excited! I found a few pictures on pinterest that I like! I’m hoping ours will turn out something like these.

hutch by croskelley, via Flickr    painted china cabinet images - Google Search  Modern Cottage Painted China Cabinet. $775.00, via Etsy.

I’ll keep you updated as to how it turns out! On that note, I’d better get going!

Let’s Chat…

1. What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?

2. Have you ever refinished a piece of furniture?

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. 

Hour-By-Hour {WIAW 2/26/14}

Thank goodness we’ve reached the middle of this week. Y’all, as fast as last week flew by, I feel like this week is going by just as sssllllooowwww. Whew!

I thought today, I’d share a glimpse into my day, hour-by-hour. Some of my favorite bloggers have done similar posts recently, and I enjoyed reading them, so I thought I’d play along too.

I’m also linking up with Jenn today! A big thanks to her for hosting this little What I Ate Wednesday party each week.

5:15- Alarm goes off. I hit snooze. Finally, about 5:30-ish I roll out of the bed.

5:45 – Peruse blog-land a few minutes while washing my face, brushing teeth, etc. and finally hop in the shower.

6:45 – Exit the bathroom, prep breakfast for John and myself, gather my things

7:00– head out the door

7:20 – Arrive at school, sign in, get coffee, make copies, and enjoy breakfast while checking e-mails.

7:50 – open the door to let kids in and get the day started.

8-11:15 – Teach, Teach, Teach,

11:15-12 – Kiddos go to PE. I organize my mess of a desk, file papers, prep for my afternoon class, check and return e-mails, and try to get ahead in planning for next week.

12 – Pick up my 2nd block class (I only teach Reading/Language Arts and my pair teacher teaches Math, Science, and Social Studies).

12:11-12:34 – (How’s that for a crazy, specific, super short lunch time?!): LUNCH!!!

Sorry it’s not a legit lunchtime photo. As much as you want to see the cafeteria and the kids I eat lunch with, it’s kinda frowned upon to whip out my phone at lunch. 😦

12:45-3: Teach, Teach, Teach

3: Clean up and organize my room, and prep for the next day.

3:40 – Head out the door for home! Text John on the way home and ask him if he cares if we have leftovers/ make whatever you want from the fridge for dinner. He’s game. Score!

4: Enjoy a snack of a Chocolate Dipped Coconut Luna Bar, hot tea, and water. And epic combo that ain’t old yet!

4:45: Change clothes and kick my own butt doing this workout from Heather, over at a Fit N Cookies. It was a good one!

5:30 – Hubby gets home. I chat with my mom on the phone for a while since I haven’t talked to her in days! John gets in his own little workout.

6:30 – Begin typing this post

7– Head into the kitchen to make my lunch for tomorrow, and do the little meal prep necessary – aka pop things into the microwave.

7:30 – Answer a few texts from my sister

7:45 – Finally sit down to dinner. I had some of this leftover Cheesy Quinoa Bake, with a side salad topped with feta, almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette. SO good!

We watch The Bachelor, yes- I got sucked in again, and I play on Instagram for a while.

9:20 – Get up for a snack of about 1/2 a cup of this trail mix.

10 – Get ready for bed, make sure clothes are good to go for the next day, and read for a while in bed.

10:45 ish – Lights out, and after tossing and turning, I’m out too!

A slower day than normal, but a good one nonetheless!

Let’s Chat…

1. What time do you typically get up/ go to sleep? Do you get enough sleep? I know I don’t!

2. What time do you typically eat lunch? Mine’s the same M-F…Saturdays tend to be a little later. 

3. Do you eat a nighttime snack? I do most every night! 

4. Tell me something about your day!