Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

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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!



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:


  • 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:


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.




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.


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


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


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.


I served lemon wedges on the side for squeezing 🙂


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


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!


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!!!


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.


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!


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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Guess Who’s Back?


WOW I’m so refreshed! I slept until 9:00 today – unbelievable! I stayed up a little later than usual last night watching Project Runway and a new show right after it that’s about the models of PR. It was dece!

You know what I was thinking yesterday? There are hardly any “shows” left on television. Gone are the days of Seinfeld, Friends, Mad About You, Full House, etc. You know, the ones with a live studio audience? Now it’s all reality shows, all the time. Which is fine – I actually happen to like reality shows – but it’s just funny what 10 years can do to television!

Anyways – the Fall weather continued through the night and into the morning…so guess who made a comeback? OATS! It’s actually been so long since I made oatmeal, that I had to consult my own How-to Stove Top Oatmeal directions because I had forgotten how!

I dug out my dried fruits, spices and old fashioned oats to make Fig & Apricot Oatmeal.


In the mix:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • splash of cinnamon & vanilla
  • 1 banana
  • 3 dried figs
  • 3 dried apricots
  • drizzle of sugar-free syrup


Oh how I have missed you, oatmeal!


The sweet, creamy, comforting, warm bowl was just what I needed on this chilly morning.


I sure did miss the pOp of those fig seeds too 🙂


I may not be thinking clearly because this bowl of oatmeal was so satisfying and the current temps are so cozy, but…I can’t believe I’m about to say it…bring on Fall! Bring on the football games, crock pot dinners, apple picking, hoodies, leaf raking and everything else that comes along with my favorite season! 😀

Here’s the rest of today’s agenda:

  • Catch up on emails
  • Go to bank
  • Go to drugstore
  • Work on blog (ch-ch-ch-changes are in the works!)
  • Vacuum & dust
  • Relax with trashy day-time television 🙂

Sounds good to me!


What’s your favorite part about your favorite season?

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Pictures are up! I think I’m going to switch them so the more detailed picture is closer to eye level – but I think they look pretty sharp! I am so glad I get to walk in the door everyday and be reminded of all the amazing memories I have of Japan. 🙂 Thanks again to my wonderful parents for the gift!


Sooooo, my secret baking project last night was Chocolate Banana Bread!


For some reason the placement of my fruit basket/banana hanger in my kitchen, always causes my bananas to ripen in literally one day. I could bring home a bunch of green bananas on Sunday, and they’d be as yellow as the sun on Monday. So in my kitchen, the banana philosophy is “use ‘em or lose ‘em.”


I usually cut the bananas that I’m about to “lose” into slices and stash them in the freezer for Green Monsters. Last night I had other plans…


I used this Joy of Baking recipe, but left out the chocolate chips. The result was this decadent, moist, chocolatey banana bread – positively sinful tasting!


This recipe was easy as pie – er, banana bread – and was seriously amazing. I use real butter when I bake too – no subbing in applesauce for fats up in here. I just try to eat my baked creations in moderation. Sometime it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Today it did because this bread is RICH. SO GOOD!


For breakfast, I had a slice of the bread with a crispy Braeburn Apple. Bananas, apples & chocolate? Pretty delicious if I do say so myself!



Lunch today is – you guessed it – an exact repeat of last night’s dinner – Greek Turkey Burger Spinach Salad.


Today I added a sprinkling of dried cranberries for a little pop of sweet & tart in my salad.


The great thing about these burgers, like the frittata, is that they’re just as good cold, as they are hot!


I also packed some Midnight Grapes.


They taste like red grapes, but are a little bit bigger and of course, as the name suggests, a little bit darker!


Today’s Greatest Running Tips

Tips #16, 17 & 19 wrap up the “Starting Out” portion of the 101 Greatest Running Tips list and move into the “Basic Training” section. Again, these are tips from a list of 101 that I felt were particularly helpful for runners at all levels!

Tip #16. Listen up!: “You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain.” –Dr. George Sheehan

– Last winter I ran into some terrible IT band issues that I tried to run through. Not good – it definitely got worse. I let myself rest and didn’t run for a couple weeks, and magically I have felt no pain ever since. I see absolutely no point in running through pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Go see a doctor!

Tip #17. Create your own running creed: “My whole teaching in one sentence is: “Run slowly, run daily, drink moderately, and don’t eat like a pig.” –Dr. Ernst van Aaken, renowned German coach

I think this is really cool. The creed above is really a creed for life, not just for running. What would your life creed be? I’m going to steal the one above, I think it’s awesome!

Tip #19. Take what you can get: “So-called ‘junk miles’–those slow miles done on easy days or during warmups–do count. They burn calories as effectively as fast miles; it just takes longer. Regardless of pace, each mile you run burns about 100 calories.” –Hal Higdon, runner/writer/coach

This tip is from good ol’ Hal Higdon, so you know it’s good. It kind of goes along with Tip #10 from yesterday. ALL EXERCISE COUNTS. No matter how slow or how short – it counts, so lose the “all or nothing” mentality!


I am literally smiling from that banana bread – it is YUM-E. Definitely a dessert for breakfast kind of situation, but sometimes, that’s ok. 🙂

Don’t forget that the Food Should Taste Good Chip Giveaway ends today @ 1:00pm Central. Enter up to three times to enjoy these crunchy, flavorful, better for you chips!


Do you like breads or loafs? Banana bread, zucchini bread, cinnamon swirl bread, poppy seed bread, lemon loaf, pumpkin loaf, etc.?

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Heeeeey Hey!

Well you’ll be happy to know that my car was in fact, not stolen, although I feel as though I’ve been robbed… The cost to fix a busted alternator was more than our Vegas Vacation! UGH. This is the reason why we save though, so the one glimmer of goodness out of this whole thing is that it shouldn’t affect our day to day lives that much. But still – knowing that I could have gone on vacation for the cost of a stinking car repair makes me really consider taking the bus from now on. Who needs a car anyways?!

Another glimmer of goodness = the Geisha prints from my birthday were ready today! I got them framed and they look just terrific 🙂 Here’s a shot of one on the wall. There was an existing hook there from the previous owners (yes, I’m gangster and haven’t taken it out in the year and a half I’ve lived here) which actually worked out perfectly. Ben’s going to hang the other print underneath it tonight, and then my Lisa Kristine dreams will be complete 🙂



So a couple of weeks ago, packages of Jennie-O 99% fat-free lean ground turkey breast were on sale at the store for $2.99. STEAL! Those babies usually go for $5.99! I snatched up a couple packages with tonight’s dinner in mind: Greek Turkey Burgers.


I made these the same way as last time, except I didn’t have any frozen spinach on hand, so I chopped up a couple handfuls of baby spinach and sautéed them with ~1.4 diced red onion in a little non-stick spray.


I served my burgers over some more baby spinach and drizzled them with Bisignano’s Italian Dressing. A perfect Mediterranean combo 🙂


The Greeks know their stuff… Oregano, Thyme, Garlic, Sun-dried Tomatoes – OPA! (That’s Greek for yeehaw!)


I made four patties out of my Greek burger mixture, so each patty was 1/4lbs of guiltless, gourmet, goodness. 99% fat-free, lean ground turkey is dope.


Here’s a cross section. Look at those chewy sun-dried tomatoes… MMMM!!


I have a fabulous baking project to work on tonight…I’ll share in the morning – it’s going to be a good one (crossing my fingers, because I’ve never made it!!)

Have a supah Tuesday evening and don’t forget to enter up to three times in the Food Should Taste Good Chip Giveaway!


Do you cook with turkey? Are you a vegetarian? Vegan? Where does everybody stand? Let’s share!

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Hey guys! How was your Monday? Mine actually went really well. I used tip #3 from this morning and went on a 35 minute walk during lunch today! Not a run, but still movement, which means I’m happy 🙂 Plus, I feel like I’m so much more productive in the afternoons when I get out and about during lunch. I’m refreshed, my head is clear and I have time to prioritize and plan the rest of my day while I’m out walking!

I came home pretty hungry so while I fixed dinner, I snacked on these crunchy loves:


These chips are hysterical. They are the crispiest chips I’ve ever eaten which makes them SO fun to just chomp on as loud as you can (in the comfort of your own home, of course…nothing worse than a loud chip chomper!) Ben got semi irritated with me last night because I was crunching them so loud, but I couldn’t help it – it was too much fun! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway so you can crunch and laugh your way through your own variety pack. 🙂

Dinner was planned to use up some of the vegetable stock pile I have going on in my fridge. I made my Fresh Vegetable & Thyme Frittata.


Star of said frittata was this GIANT yellow squash. This is HALF of the squash… Why/how do these things grow so big?! I cut this guy in half, cut each half into quarters and then cut each quarter into thirds…phew! I used 1/3 of a quarter for the frittata. Got that?? 😀


The frittata was made the exact same way as last time but I didn’t have any leftover pasta, so I boiled 1/3 cup of acini de peppe pasta and when it had  about two minutes left, I tossed in the vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes to cook/hydrate.


I also topped my frittata with cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella this time around. Mmmm…the smell of this under the broiler was unbelievable!


Perfectly melted and ready to cut.


I’m telling you – if you’ve never tried pasta in a frittata – you’ve got to ASAP! It’s so chewy and hearty. Love it!


The sundried tomatoes are absolutely necessary too. They give such a nice PoP of sweet flavor.


I had this x2. Love, love, love this meal! No oil, no extra fats – perfect. Period.


I have some more blog stuff to work on tonight so I’m skidaddling. Don’t forget to enter the Food Should Taste Good Giveaway – you have up to three ways to enter until Wednesday @ 1:00pm Central! Do it!


What’s your favorite ways to eat your veggies? In pastas, raw, with dip, on salads?

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Butter Fingers

I keep spilling things!

Tonight I’ve already spilled an entire bottle of beer (I wasn’t even drinking it!) and soup puree! D’oh!

Let me start from the beginning…

One thing you need to know about me is that I am soup fanatic. Like sitting in the front row of the bleachers, waving a “Soup’s #1!” pendant, style. So when I saw Kath’s Bacon, Corn & Potato Chowder on her blog earlier this week – and I happened to have ALL the ingredients randomly on hand –  I immediately wrote it into my schedule!

The star of the chowder is, of course, the fresh-from-the field Iowa sweet corn that my Mom and Dad picked up for me at the Farmer’s Market last weekend.

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Enter spill #1: As I was pulling the bag of corn out of the fridge, it took a bottle of beer out with it, which proceeded to shatter and spill smelly beer ALL over my newly cleaned kitchen floor…rats! I calmly cleaned everything up and proceeded to shuck the corn. Shuck that. Shucking corn is the worst, right?! Thankfully the sweet, sweet corn kernels are totally worth it! 🙂

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Next, I cooked up some bacon slices in a big soup pan on the stove and took them out to drain on a paper towel when they were crispy. Then I cubed up a bag of baby, yukon gold potatoes while I sautéed some onion & garlic in the bacon drippings.

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After the onions were soft, I added some thyme, S&P, the corn and potatoes, plus 1 cup skim milk and ~3 cups chicken broth. After simmering until the potatoes were tender, I ladled about 3 cups of the soup into my food processor.

Enter spill #2: As I put the processor container onto it’s base, some soup leaked up under the blade and spilled all over the counter and onto the floor. Come on!! I not so calmly got that cleaned up – proceeded to blend it all up, add it back to the pot and crumbled the bacon in.

I ladled my soup into a mug, topped it with a little more bacon and dug in!


Well – let me just tell you – the spill duo was WELL worth it. This soup was so summery, if you can believe it! The corn stayed super crunchy despite simmering away for about 15 minutes.


The potato hunks that escaped the food processor were so creamy – a delightful texture contrast to the crunchy corn.


The smokey bacon was the perfect flavor accent. Couldn’t image my mug without it!


The rest of the night involves laundry, not spilling things, general resting and these:


Tomorrow is a big day which involves something out of THIS:


I’m so excited!!!!


What are you doing this Friday evening?!

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