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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

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Hello!

Well I mentioned it this morning, but tonight I’m kicking off a week-long, Summer Inspired Dinner Series! With bright mornings, warm nights and carefree summer days coming to an end, I thought, what better way to wave goodbye to summer than with a week of dinners that are easy, fresh & celebrate my favorite summer tastes?! 8)

Up first: Baked Tilapia with Grilled Asparagus & Wild Rice!

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YUM!

The tilapia was my second mystery item from Costco 😉 My Mom and I split a big pack for $5 each! I’ve mentioned this before, but Costco is a wonderful place to buy fresh seafood if you live in the Midwest, like me. 🙂

I really love the fresh, light flavor of Tilapia so I simply seasoned my filets with an Old Bay inspired mix. I combined:

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  • Dried basil
  • Lemon pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Onion powder
  • Red pepper
  • Ground ginger
  • Paprika
  • Ground mustard
  • Salt & Pepper (unpictured)

Feel free to add or delete any spices. I just looked online to see what was in Old Bay and used whatever I already had on hand that matched. I combined everything in a seasoning shaker I just happen to own:

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Next I seasoned each side of the Tilapia filets with the mix, placed them in a non-stick sprayed oven-safe dish, and topped with a few, wee pats of butter. Then I squeezed a wedge of lemon over everything and put it in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes, or until it was flaky.

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Meanwhile, I cleaned up some asparagus and fired up the grill. Hello! Fresh asparagus + grill? Totally summer!

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I let these babies char and rolled them every couple minutes, until they were done.

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Finally, I took some help from Uncle Ben and popped a Wild Rice packet into the microwave to heat up. Easy!

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When I assembled my plate, I couldn’t help but smile. Easy, breezy dinner for an easy, breezy summer night. Perfect!

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I’m so glad I simply seasoned my Tilapia filets instead of breading or sautéing them in oil. It was the perfect amount of spice, and I could taste the fresh fish.

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I served lemon wedges on the side for squeezing 🙂

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The grilled asparagus were smokey and perfectly cooked. I like my asparagus a little crunchy. How about you?

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Wild rice, Ben’s request, was a perfect side dish. This particular product didn’t have a lot of preservatives or funky ingredients. Plus, it was ready in 90 seconds!

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Now…what would a good summer dinner be without a perfectly summer dessert?? Nothing! That’s why I made Grilled Pineapple with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert – wheeee!!!

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I just grilled fresh pineapple until they were slightly charred and while we ate, I put them in a gladware container with a lid so they could steam and get soft.

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When it was time for dessert, I dished out some vanilla ice cream and placed my pineapple around it.IMG_7478

I don’t think you need me to describe how incredible this was…cool, creamy ice cream + sweet, smokey pineapple…WOW!

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Well – I am a FULL and HAPPY lady 🙂 The Summer Inspired Dinner Series is off to a good start if you ask me! Tonight’s dinner met all the requirements: fresh ingredients, insanely easy preparation and TOTALLY the taste of summer! 8)

Stay tuned tomorrow morning for a fun announcement – until then, have a super night!

~~~~~

Do you ever cook fresh fish?

This was actually my first time cooking white fish and it seriously couldn’t have been easier…it was actually easier than cooking chicken because you don’t have to trim it, you can tell when it’s done, etc. Loved it!

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Happy Monday! Ready to start your week? Who’s starting school back up today? Good luck if you are 🙂

Well – put it in the books – this is the first morning since Spring that I’ve had to wear pants on my morning Mom walk!! It was a nippy 55 degrees this morning…ice cold. We heated up soon enough though and it’s supposed to be in the low 80s today, so all is not lost!

Last night I made an overnight Green Monster with some spinach that I picked up at Costco yesterday (item #1!). This morning I whirred that baby up and devoured!

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I literally have 1 scoop of almond butter left! Ben is heading to Chicago this weekend though, so I have a list of things for him to pick up at Trader Joe’s 🙂

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Is your Green Monster ever too thick? Add a splash of water. Overnight green monsters get suuuuper thick from the oats absorbing the milk, so I add a splash of water in with the ice and banana, which gives me the perfect consistency!

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Today for lunch, I packed a: Spinach Salad, Blueberry Yogurt & an Orange.

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In the salad we’ve got:

  • Spinach
  • Feta Cheese
  • Chopped Celery
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Cherry Tomatoes

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Look at these beauts. Fresh from the vine!

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Sir, I think you could use a haircut…

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Love the salty feta with the tart cranberries.

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While I don’t eat oranges a lot, they are actually a really good snack option. After you peel them, it takes awhile to remove each section and eat!

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Finally, one of my faves – Blueberry Buckle Yogurt. Sweet and creamy!

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Today’s Running Tips

Monday’s running tips are from the “Advanced Running” section of the 101 Greatest Running Tips list. Don’t let the advanced name scare you – again, these are tips that I pulled out of the list of 101, that I thought were applicable for runners & athletes at all levels!

Tip #37. Go with mind over grind: "Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger." –Keith Brantly, U.S. Olympic marathoner

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I think it’s important not to go from 0 to 100 when you first start getting into running, or are getting back into it from a break. If you go too hard too fast, you’ll likely get super sore, which can be discouraging. My advice would be to ease into a running/exercise routine and slowly increase time and miles.

Tip #44. Rest assured: "Back off at the first sign of injury. Three to 5 days off is better than missing a month or two. Take regular rest days." –PattiSue Plumer, two-time U.S. Olympian

We touched on this in Tip #16. It’s really important not to push through an injury – you’ll likely make it worse! Taking rest days is important too – your body needs time to recover from heavy exercise and runs.

Tip #45. Divide and conquer: "Pick one thing each year that you need to improve, and work on that. It might be improving your diet, getting more sleep, or increasing your mileage. You can’t work on everything at once." –Bob Kennedy

– This is my favorite tip of the day. I think getting into a healthy lifestyle is daunting for a lot of people because they think ‘Oh, I have to be perfect. I have to workout, eat right, drink lots of water, sleep 8 hours a day, etc., etc.’ Be easy on yourself – again, you can’t go from 0-100 in one day. Baby steps! It’s ok!

 

Alrighty friends, off to begin another week! Check back tonight for the start of a week-long, end of summer dinner series. Tonight’s going to be a good one!

~~~~~

What did you have for breakfast today? Do you typically go for a “healthier” breakfast on Monday’s?

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Heeeello, hello!

Lunch at my parent’s house was FAB, as usual! We started out with a Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Salad, drizzled with an olive oil based dressing. SO fresh and summery!

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My stack of salad with some Sweet 100 tomatoes from my Mom’s plants!

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Our main dish was Chicken Parmesan with noodles & extra sauce.

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Mmmm…cheesy, saucy deliciousness…what’s not to love??

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Dessert was a Homemade Peach Tart. This was fresh peaches, spices and a crunchy almond topping, all wrapped in a golden-brown pie crust.

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Go Mom! This had so many wonderful flavors and textures – from the sweet peaches and fragrant nutmeg, to the flaky crust and crunchy almonds. AMAZING!

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After lunch my Mom and made a Costco run where I picked up some additional supplies for meals this week – all to the tune of $10. If you’re debating on joining a Costco or Sam’s Club – I’d definitely suggest joining with a family member or friend. That way you can split the cost of the yearly fee AND split some of the big bulk groceries. My Mom and I picked up two things (to be revealed later this week 😉 ) and split them both. Win-win!

By the time I wrapped everything up, it was dinnertime! I wasn’t super hungry (thanks Costco sample day!) so I made myself a big Mixed Fruit Bowl for dinner.

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We’ve got:

  • 1/2 a banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peach
  • Apple

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This filled me up, without weighing me down. Know what I mean?

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Oooo boy, I am not ready to go back to work tomorrow – it was so nice having a three day weekend! Labor day, labor day, labor day… This will be the mantra that I keep repeating to myself for the next two weeks! 😀

Have a good night everyone!

~~~~~

What’s your favorite pie? Do you prefer cream based, or fruit/berry based pies?

I’ve got a soft spot for Dutch Apple Pie – love that crumbly crust on top!

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Cafe Su Me

Good morning everyone!

Last night Ben and I went to dinner at one of the best little restaurants in town: Cafe Su.

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I always forget that it’s here and that makes me sad because this place is incredible! It’s a Chinese cafe with funky decor that plays music like Norah Jones. Totally random, eclectic, unique and you really feel like you’re having an “experience” while dining here.

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There were pink roses on every table and on the windowsills. Very sweet 🙂

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We started with what may be my favorite item on Cafe Su’s menu: Crab Rangoon. These rangoons are the size of my hand, pillowy soft, and bursting with savory crab filling. Heavenly!

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For my main dish, I ordered a Vegetarian Garlic Stir-Fry.

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Broccoli, water chestnuts, onions, bamboo shoots, snap peas, baby corn, zucchini and mushrooms in a garlic sauce. They even let me sub out the carrots & celery (I hate cooked carrots & celery) for more broccoli. Score!

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Umm I could have drank this sauce in a glass – it was SO good!! Perfectly light and the garlic wasn’t too overwhelming – it was exactly what I was looking for. Cafe Su knocked it out of the park with this dish!

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Served with some fluffy rice.

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And how can you not love a restaurant that not only gives you fortune cookies at the end – but gives you chocolate covered fortune cookies at the end?! These tasted like Kit Kat bars and were key.

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His & Hers fortunes 🙂

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As I mentioned, we were going to go hit up Inglorious Bastards after dinner, but Ben wasn’t really in the mood for a movie, so we came home and watched the Vikings play. Now, I moved to Minneapolis right when the whole “boat” incident happened, so I didn’t get the best first impression of that team, if you know what I mean… Either way it was fun to hang out with the husband. We had a great night!

This morning I woke up pretty hungry, actually! I popped some bread in the toaster, smeared it with some almond butter & sugar-free raspberry jam, cut up a peach and called it breakfast.

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I am getting down to the bottom of my Trader Joe’s Almond Butter and am slightly freaking out…

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The rest of today’s agenda includes:

  • Post office run
  • Maybe grocery store run
  • Maybe cleaning? (didn’t get to it yesterday…)
  • Hit up neighbor’s garage sale

I’m off to seize the day – have a great one yourself!

~~~~~

What’s your favorite Chinese food dish?

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DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?!

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That’s my neighbor’s tree leaves turning colors! FALL IS COMING! Wow. This sight literally made me come to a screeching halt as I drove up the street today. Unbelievable…the summer has passed in the blink of an eye…

It’s pretty fitting that I saw this Fall sight today, as there is a briskness in the air right now – I even have a hoodie on! Warming comfort food was calling my name, so I hit the proverbial “easy button” and made some Mac & Cheese 🙂

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Have you ever had Annie’s brand macaroni & cheese? It’s made with organic pasta, real cheese and no additives or preservatives – sweet! A bunch of varieties were on super sale at the grocery store last week so I got boxes of classic, white cheddar and Real Aged Cheddar.

I knew I couldn’t very well eat just mac & cheese for dinner, so when the pasta had about 2 minutes left to cook, I threw some broccoli florets into the boiling water to cook.

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8 minutes from the moment I put the shells into the boiling water, dinner was ready!

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Ok, LOVE Annie’s Mac & Cheese! This tasted so real, if you know what I mean. There were no artificial-tasting flavors at all.

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Now I’m going to be honest, Velveeta Shells & Cheese holds a very special place in my heart, but I usually feel pretty icky after eating it. That was definitely not the case tonight. This is super light with just the perfect amount of sauce.

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I will definitely be purchasing more of these mac & cheese varieties. I’ve also tried Annie’s Bunny Graham’s…omg…soooo friggin’ good! What other Annie’s brand foods do you like?

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So maybe you’re wondering what the heck my post title means? Well, TROUBLE is spelled CBBWAB as in: “Chocolate Banana Bread With Almond Butter!” I am not kidding you guys…this combo is like crack!  I can’t stop eating it and had another slice for my after dinner dessert. 8) You should really make this recipe – you know you’ve got some bananas on your countertop right now!!

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Like a delicious peanut butter cup in bread form 🙂

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I savored every sweet bite!

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Well good news, I took tomorrow off of work! I foresee 50% lounging, 20% exercising, 20% errand running and 10% cleaning in the forecast…it’s going to be great! Have a great night – tomorrow’s FRIDAY!

~~~~~

How often do you eat “boxed” products? Frozen meals, mac & cheese, canned soups, rice mixes, etc.

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Hello!

I’m happy to report that today was a great exercise day for me. I escaped during lunch and went on a 40 minute walk – SO nice. After work I hit the trail for a 4 mile session. I did not run, I did not rog, I jogged that B – it was really hot out. Near the end I played a fun little game of sprinting through the completely shaded parts of the trail, rogging through the semi-shaded parts and jogging through the completely sunny spots. It made the run go a lot faster and definitely got my heart rate up. Nice! In the spirit of running tip #19, I am completely content with my daily activities!

After my run I consulted my 101 Simple Salad Challenge list and made a modified version of #60: Sweet & Sour Tuna Salad Sandwich.

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I started with a pouch of chunk light tuna packed in water.

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To the contents of the pouch, I added half a diced apple, about 10 quartered midnight grapes, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon of EVOO, 1 tablespoon of Kraft Light Sicilian Roasted Garlic salad dressing, S&P and a dash of cumin.

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Next, I toasted 2 slices of whole wheat toast and made a quick slaw for some CRUNCH in my sandwich. I just combined some coleslaw mix, chopped pickles and a squeeze of the roasted garlic dressing. Finally, it was assembly time!

1 slice of toast:

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Crunchy, pickle slaw:

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Tuna salad mixture:

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Toast topper!

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LOVED this! The sweetness of the apples & grapes went so well with the sour pickles, and savory dressing. Add the crunch of the slaw – and well, you’ve got yourself a pretty great sandwich!!

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This is actually the FIRST tuna sandwich I have ever made. No lie. I always associate tuna salad sandwiches with that canned, “fishy”, tuna taste. This tuna pouch combined with all these great ingredients really made a super sandwich though! Win!

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I bet you can’t guess what’s for dessert… It’s chocolate, it’s banana and some almond butter may find it’s way in the mix…muwahahaha! Have a great night!

~~~~~

Do you ever make “salad” sandwiches? Tuna, chicken, egg, etc.

I usually don’t, because of the reason above and because mayo kind of freaks me out – which is usually what I associate salad sandwiches with. The use of EVOO in this recipe by-passed that all for me though!

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