Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Getting Back on the Horse

Yesterday, my physical therapist finally gave me the all clear to start exercising again. I was sent away from the office with instructions to go back to my normal routine but stop if I have any pain. If I am able to do my normal routine, I can then try some exercises to "push" my muscles. We would regroup in a week after I tried a couple days of working out.
This made my day! I eagerly laced up my running shoes this morning, turned to Fergie Radio on Pandora, and jumped on the elliptical. I don't know if it was the music or my newly healed muscles, but this workout felt amazing! I rocked out an hour of cardio and then moved on to crunches, planks, squats, and some light weight lifting (just using 5 lb weights). Now that I am sitting here thinking about it, since I haven't worked out much at all for the last 2 months, it was probably the endorphins that I have been missing.
Anyhoo, I am definitely going to get my workouts in until Saturday at which I will stuff my face at Jerame's aunt's Labor Day party and probably negate the whole week of working out. But hey, I work out so I can have fun :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Pasta

I love pasta salad in the summer. Pasta pairs perfectly with all the fresh summer produce that is in season. Here are 2 of my favorite summertime pasta salads that make for healthy, delicious, and light summer dinners.

Orecchiete with Roasted Peppers, Spinach, and Tomatoes
Link to recipe:

This recipe is pretty good as is. The only changes I make are to broil the peppers for 10 minutes instead of 15. I find that the peppers just get too mushy if you broil them that long. It is also difficult to find Herbes de Provence here in Kentucky so I usually just throw some fresh basil in. I also subbed spinach for the arugula (just a preference).

Pasta Salad with Tuna, Olives, and Parsley
Link to recipe:


This recipe is also good as is. I did throw in a yellow bell pepper because I had it and I subbed green olives for the black olives. I also omitted the red onion as the hubby will not eat raw onions. Delish!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

I love Asian cooking. I love the flavors they use, from fish sauce to hoisin to Sriracha. Back in Oregon, it wasn't hard to find excellent Chinese or kick ass sushi. Here in Kentucky, well, that is another story. The husband and I have to get our Chinese fix from our kitchen. One of our favorites is Cooking Light's Kung Pao Chicken. I must warn that if you are looking for an authentic Kung Pao Chicken as you would find in a Chinese restaurant, this is not what you are looking for. It is Cooking Light's version of Kung Pao Chicken. And for an Asian stir-fry, this is a good one. We serve it over steamed rice. Yum!

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World), divided
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted peanuts
  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and 2 teaspoons ginger to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add water. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; keep warm.
  • Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan; add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  • Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Return broccoli mixture to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.
The only alterations I made were to add 1 onion, sliced, and 1 red bell pepper, sliced. I actually steamed the broccoli for 3 minutes on it's own and then threw the broccoli in with the other vegetables after I had sautéed the onions and red pepper. My one note is that the dish is not that spicy if you add the crushed red pepper to the chicken. Next time I will add the red pepper to the sauce and allow the spiciness to incorporate with the sauce. As for the sauce, I recommend making extra if you are adding more vegetables to the dish.

The final result! We dusted our plates with toasted sesame seeds for garnish.

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Exercise in Control

About a month ago, Jerame and I were rear-ended by an intoxicated driver. The other driver was driving at a pretty good clip so needless to say both Jerame and I are feeling some neck and back pain. We both started physical therapy 2 weeks ago, 3 times a week. At my first appointment with the physical therapist, he banned me from working out for at least 3 weeks. Meaning, in 3 weeks he would re-evaluate and then we could talk about my exercising. I am now going on my 3rd week of not working out and frankly it sucks! I never thought I would say this, but all I want to do is work out! It's taking all my self-control to rest during this time period. Last week the therapist finally gave me some stretches to work on and while this helps, it is not taking the place of my exercise time.
I had an appointment this morning at which the therapist told me it seems like I am improving and he cut me back to 2 appointments a week! He also told me that he thinks I may be able to start up my weight lifting next week as well! This was music to my ears! So, for 1 more week, I will remain a couch potato. I do have some reading to attend to anyways :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good Eats: Stuffed Eggplant

I recently tried this new recipe since eggplants were on sale last week and I love eggplant! I usually make Eggplant Parmesan but I decided to try it stuffed instead. Here is the recipe I used, courtesy of Cooking Light (www.myrecipes.com):

  • 2 medium eggplants, each cut in half lengthwise (about 2 pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
  • 1 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Score cut side of each eggplant half by making 4 crosswise cuts. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven; cool on pan 10 minutes. Carefully remove pulp, leaving a 1/3-inch-thick shell; reserve eggplant shells. Chop pulp.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
  • Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Drizzle the breadcrumbs with olive oil, and pulse to combine.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, oregano, and garlic; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, parsley, salt, and black pepper. Stuff each eggplant shell with about 1/2 cup onion mixture; sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned.
-I did alter this recipe to make it more man-friendly as stuffed vegetables are not necessarily the husband's thing. I did use seasoned bread crumbs in favor of making my own. I also substituted the fresh oregano for fresh basil and substituted the feta cheese with sharp cheddar cheese, which gave the dish a more American vibe over the Greek vibe. I did this mainly because I can get Jerame to eat anything if I put cheddar cheese on it. The end result was pretty tasty and there was plenty of flavor! My one note would be to not cook the eggplant as long initially. The recipe calls for 25 minutes at 400 degrees but next time I will check the eggplant after 15 minutes and probably go for a maximum of 20 minutes. Cooking it initially for 25 minutes left the eggplant a little too soft for my liking. Altogether, this was a solid recipe and a good use of summer produce.

Sweating the onions and the initial roasting of the eggplant
The final result! Served with salad greens tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of parmesan cheese. Yum!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

CVS Haul 8/1/11

I had a really good day at CVS on Monday. I saved 67%, paying $14.58 for $46 worth of product. I also earned $10 in Extra Care Bucks to use on my purchase next week. CVS has been by far the easiest store to coupon at. Here is what I got this week:

Suave Body Wash, Deodorant, and Shampoo, Swiffer wet clothes, Maybelline mascara, Skinny Cow Candy, and Q-Tips.
It's hard to tell from the picture but there are 2 men's body wash and 3 men's shampoo.  Jerame is set now! Once again, it's hard to believe this stuff would have added up to a $46 purchase. But, the register doesn't lie and it nice to pocket my savings for more important (or fun!) things.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Proud to be a Gleek!

My husband and I have incredible impatience when it comes to TV (or incredible patience, if you want to look at it that way). We can't stand to wait a week to see another episode of our favorite shows so most of the time we wait until a show's season is over and then we download the whole season so we can watch all the episodes. This has been going on for a long time so a pattern has been set so that we always have something in the cache to watch. For example, right now we are watching Season 4 of 30 Rock.  We just finished up Season 2 of Glee. I love Glee! Yes, it's cheesy and unrealistic. I can attest that there were no choreographed groups of kids breaking into song in the hallways at my high school. But I love the writing and the humor on the show. How can you not love the scene in which Sue has been told she cannot fire Brittany out of a cannon and she goes on a rampage? I laughed till I cried! Anyways, since it will be a a while before I can get my Glee fix on again I have produced the top 10 things I would like to see on Season 3 of Glee:

1. For Will to get a haircut! Come on, it's Hollywood! Isn't there something else they can do with him? I have been on Team Sue since Day 1 regarding Schuester needing a new hairstyle.

2. For Sue to run a successful campaign and be elected to the House of Representatives. I can only imagine the hijinks that would ensue! Jane Lynch plays this role to a T, I can't image anyone else playing her. And she is at her best when she is mean.

3. For Finn and Rachel to break-up. For good. The Ross and Rachel (coincidence?) of Glee, this story line is seriously stale.

4. More guest stars! My two top choices would be Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm. We already know that Jamie Foxx can sing, plus he is funny. If you have seen Jon Hamm on SNL, you know he is surprisingly funny! With a Broadway background and negotiations for the next season of Mad Men not completed, why not take some time to be on Glee?

5. More of Puck. Ok, chock this one up to hormones. Don't judge me! Mark Salling, the actor who plays Puck, is 28 which makes me feel significantly less creepy about my school-girl crush.

6. For Brittany's online web show "Fondue for Two" to become a YouTube hit leaving Brittany famous. Lord Tubbington would also rise to fame as co-host of the show. Speaking of Brittany, more Brittany in general! Next to Sue, her character is one of the funniest on the show.

7. For Sunshine Corazon to transfer back to McKinley High. As much as I love Rachel, I would love to see her have to take a back seat to someone that was better than her. Maybe on an episode regarding learning to be humble perhaps?

8.  For an influx of new talent to the New Directions. Once they have more bodies behind them, they should start throwing Slushies in the faces of the football players. How good would that feel?

9. I have read from interviews with the show's producers that there is going to be less music on Season 3. I'm vehemently opposed to this as this is not what the show is about. I am not sure Gleeks will be willing to accept the show in its new format either.

10. For Glee to go country! I'm not talking crossover pop-country like Taylor Swift and Lady A (love them both!) but something that is really country and transforming it into something modern. My top choice? An episode featuring the music of Alabama!

- I know, I am such a dork. Let the ribbing ensue.