Happy Thanksgiving Eve! :)

Today was an awesome day.  🙂

Breakfast was two slices of my aunt’s banana bread.  It wasn’t the healthiest breakfast I could have, but it was yummy and I made sure it was all I had.

After breakfast, I got a phone call that made my day.  But, you’ll have to wait to find out what it is about…  🙂

I was able to spend the day with my mom.  We went to lunch – Applebee’s.  I got the small BBQ chicken salad and some tomato soup.  I wish I would’ve gotten the dressing on the side for the salad, but I know it wasn’t that big. I’ll remember it for next time.

We were able to get our toes done.  Mine were suffering.  I’ll admit it – I neglect them, especially in the winter.  It was nice to get them done.  (I’ll admit it, I mainly go for the foot massage)

I helped my mom with some Thanksgiving preparation.  I made a pumpkin torte for dessert tomorrow.  (Recipe from JSOnline.com)  It was funny – I actually looked at the same recipe earlier in the day.  And, surprise!  My mom actually cut it out.

I don’t think it will look exactly like the picture, but it should taste good.  Let’s hope! (Image from JSOnline.com)

After spending the afternoon with my Mom, I went to swim club.  We were able to play some games with the kids in honor of Thanksgiving.  It was fun!

Dinner was vegetarian chili.  We love making chili – it is warm, yummy and pretty easy.  We’ve evolved it over time and it’s never the same twice.  We always have different things on hand.  The spices are pretty much the same.  They might differ a little bit.  I wrote down what I did tonight as an example.

Vegetarian Hodgepodge Chili


Don’t be afraid to change anything – make substitutions, try new spices, make it mild… whatever.  Have fun with it!

1 onion

1 T olive oil

1 jalapeno

1 can large diced (or crushed) tomatoes

1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans

1 palmful chili powder (Yup, exactly a palmful. 🙂  Use your own discretion.)

1 palmful cumin (my favorite spice)

1 t garlic powder

1/2 t cinnamon

1 T black pepper

1/2 t cayenne pepper

3 T hot sauce

Dice onion and jalapeno and add them to the large saucepan with the olive oil on medium heat.  Cook until soft.  (You can easily add meat to this recipe – and we have.  I would cook it at the same time as the onions and peppers)

When the onions are ready, put tomatoes and beans into the pot.  This is what we added today:

I’ve added every bean imaginable.  Anything that’s in the pantry goes into the pot.  🙂  I’ve also played with different kinds of tomato – crushed, diced, puree, etc.  It depends on how chunky you want it to be.  We’ve also added different kinds of veggies.  Just play with it.

Add the spices and other remaining ingredients.  Let it simmer for a minimum of 10 minutes.  I’ve let this chili sit in the slow cooker all day too.  The flavor is just a bit deeper.

Eat with your favorite chili sides.  I love it over whole wheat pasta, a baked potato or just on it’s own.  The husband likes it over tater tots.   I love adding sharp cheddar cheese and Fritos or tortilla chips.  I’m sure the possibilities are endless.  🙂


Dessert was banana soft serve.  I saw it on a few blogs and explored it further.  I guess it was introduced by Choosing Raw.  The post was entitled “This Post will Change Your Life”.  And, it did!  The recipe is as follows:

2-3 frozen bananas

A food processor.

That’s it.  Just “process” the frozen bananas in the food processor for approximately 5 minutes, stopping it every once in awhile to scrape the sides.  And, it turns into a soft-serve like consistency.  It is delicious.

I added a little vanilla to add a little extra flavor (I bet almond would be good too!) and a few chocolate chips.  I wanted to be a *little* naughty.  The husband even liked it!  I’ll have to keep some frozen bananas on hand at all times.

A few random thoughts:

Did anyone else watch The Biggest Loser’s “Where are they now?”?  Matt is such an inspiration.  I LOVED his story about the Ironman – in Hawaii.  I might actually want to do one now.  🙂  (I kind of wanted to already, but it was awesome to hear his story)  I told my husband that if I ever did an Ironman, I would want to do the Hawaii one.  If you’re going to do one, better do the best!  Plus, you can relax in Hawaii afterwards!

And, I was really, really excited for the “Top Chef” finale.  (Go Kevin!)  Too bad Bravo is lame and isn’t going to show it until next week.  What the heck?!

Want some semi-inappropriate Thanksgiving cheer?  Check out this YouTube video from Muscle Milk called “The Sexy Pilgrim”.  Don’t worry, it’s safe for work.  🙂

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!  Time for “Glee”!


Just a short post…

Today was close to the same as yesterday.  Same breakfast, same lunch – dinner was the only difference.

And, dinner wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.  Skillet lasagna, an English muffin (instead of biscuits) spinach salad and two small Greek cookies.  She was pretty good about not pushing anything.  Maybe I just have to tell her that ahead of time.  Granted, she did keep bringing it up.  But, I guess it’s a small price to pay.  🙂

She gave us things to take home.  I hate throwing food away – but it might be the only way to prevent from overeating.  We don’t need sausage and cheese laying around.  Is there another solution to the problem of extra food – that you didn’t ask for – laying around the house?  And, saying “no” is not the answer.  🙂

Tomorrow is a crazy day – there isn’t anything planned (except club practice) but there is a lot to do.  I need to make an apple pie, do some homework, workout and tidy up a little bit.  Can it be done?  You’ll have to stay tuned.

Alright, back to “The Biggest Loser”.  I wish my weight loss journey could just be one montage of footage.  I’ll get there… G’night!

A Dilemma…

I’m curious to see if anyone else has these issues – and if you do – how do you work with them?

I will be going to my Aunt’s house tonight for dinner.  I love her, but she doesn’t cook with my best health interests in mind.  She told me earlier today that she has skillet lasagna, spinach salad and cheese/sausage for dinner.  She’s not going to make biscuits because she knows I’m watching my weight.  She goes one to say – “Oh, but, we’ll have some cookies for dessert.”

She’s the kind of aunt that wants you to finish everything – and then have more.  We contribute this to the fact that she grew up during the Depression.  If it was fresh fruit, lots of veggies, etc, it wouldn’t be a problem.  However, most of the food she cooks is covered in grease or deep fried.  I once told her that we wanted fajitas for dinner – thinking that it was a safe bet.  What could she do?  Well, she pan fried everything – tortillas, veggies and chicken.  There’s nothing she won’t fry.  🙂

Don’t get me wrong – I love her to death.  She’s 81, lives by herself and she takes care of me like any aunt would.  But, going over there for dinner is always a challenge.  And, unfortunately, cooking/baking is what she does.

Does anyone else deal with this?  How do you cope?  Is this just something that you try and do your best but hit the gym a little harder the next day?

I Love A Good Slap Bet!

Monday, monday!  How was everyone’s weekend?

Today was supposed to be productive.  It really wasn’t.  🙂  I did get somethings done – but not nearly enough.  Blech.

Breakfast was pretty filling – Eggs a la Grandpa, some center-cut bacon, orange juice and a piece of toast.

It was a nice treat to have a nice filling breakfast.  After breakfast I had to make a stop at the grocery store for some necessities for the week.   I really enjoy going grocery shopping.  And, i was very good about not getting anything too “dangerous” for the apartment.  Nothing too snacky – only good for you things.  It was a successful trip.

Lunch was another Lean Cuisine.  Mmmmmm.  Not the best, but it worked.

After unsuccessfully searching for an online political science class that I need, it was off to club practice.  Where I almost just walked out right then and there.  Lame.  I’m trying to convince myself that I need to stick around for the kids – which I do.  They need another coach on deck to make sure they’re safe and so someone can work with them.  But, I’m about done with the club as a whole.  At least my choice is a good one.  🙂

Dinner was some BBQ chicken pizza with a spinach salad and applesauce.

We put the pizza together with refrigerated pizza dough, two chicken breasts (pre-cooked), BBQ sauce, some mozzarella cheese and sharp cheddar cheese.  Put it all together and cook according to the pizza crust’s directions.  It was simple, fast and yummy.  A perfect combination.

And, to finish it off, some Caramel Praline Crunch yogurt blends.  Yummy!

I scream for ice cream.

Well, the hubby and I have some TV to catch up on – including some Monday night TV.  A slap will be occurring on HIMYM.  Love it!  🙂

And, here’s Jackson to say “goodnight”.  🙂

Like a Stonewall.... kind of. 🙂

Where has the time gone!

I apologize for my long absence!  I didn’t think I would neglect the blog for this long!  I’m very sorry.

I had a very eventful – and busy – four days.  I’ll try to sum it up as quickly as possible.  (I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats!)

Thursday was busy – I spent the morning in the archives at Marquette attempting to do some research for a professor (I’m a research assistant).  It was a little difficult because he told me to find everything I can about one movement.  Turns out, there is A LOT of stuff.  Currently, I’m waiting for him to get back to me on what direction he wants me to go in…. it might be awhile.  After the archives, it was off to class.  Boring.  When I got back home, I had to make some Mac and Cheese for the swim banquet.  I’ll be sure to post the recipe later this week (I’ve been asked to make the dish for Thanksgiving).

The swim banquet went well.  I got a Corey Hart Brewer jersey from the girls.  So sweet.  🙂  After the banquet – it was time for “New Moon”.  My best friend went pretty early and I got there around 8:45 or so.  I couldn’t believe there were so many people waiting in line.  It was okay – Catherine had her computer and I had some magazines – we were set.  🙂  Overall, I thought the movie was good.  A LOT better than the first one (that’s not that hard).  You could tell what audience they were playing to – a lot of “ab-porn” as my mother called it.  I will say that I’ve always been on Team Jacob, I didn’t need the cute Taylor Lautner to sway me either way.  (It did help!)

Friday was a nice opportunity to visit my grandparents.  I’ve been trying to get up there every week, but I’ve been busy the past two Fridays before last.  It was nice to see them.  I got to eat lunch with my grandmother which gave me an opportunity to find out how she was doing.  We made some yummy cranberry bars and just had a nice time.  I really hate ALS.

I had to rush home and head to swim practice.  I was worried that after I made my choice I would regret it – and I’m sure I will have those feelings for awhile.  But, Friday’s practice helped me realize that I did make the right choice.  I was *helping* the new coach – I was usually put in charge on days like that.  (The other coaches were at a swim meet)  Oh well.  🙂

The rest of Friday was busy.  We needed to drop the pup off at the in-laws, had Five Guys for dinner and met up with my parents to see “Blind Side”.  I loved the movie.  It was so good.  🙂

Saturday, Dan and I were off to St. Paul to visit my sisters.  We started the day with a McDonald’s breakfast.  I know, I know.  Not the best choice.  But, we only get McDonald’s when we travel.  It’s kind of like a little treat for us.  It is a 4.5 hour drive.  We went straight to the Uptowner Cafe in St. Paul (my sisters had a study abroad meeting).  It was a cute little place – a place we love going.  It isn’t big, the cook is right in front of you, and they serve breakfast all day.  I had breakfast – again.  Two poached eggs, hash browns and whole wheat toast.   I can eat breakfast at any time in the day.  🙂

After lunch, I was finally able to go to the Minnesota History Center.  I had heard only good things about the historical society and museum and it did not disappoint.  It wasn’t at the level of the Smithsonian, but it was the best state historical society museum/center/library that I’ve seen.  (I haven’t seen many, mind you)  The Greatest Generation exhibit was very cool.  I would take a job there.  🙂

We stopped at the Mall of America before heading to my sisters’ dorm.  My sister had made us a delicious dinner – slow cooker chicken (the recipe called for turkey) with BBQ sauce, bacon and avocado.  It was very yummy and pretty healthy!


Chicken Wraps


Here’s the link to the recipe: Slow cooker turkey, bacon and avocado wraps.  It sounds like it was pretty easy.  It sure was tasty!

After dinner, we visited my sisters’ friend Georgia.  Such a sweet lady.  🙂  And, following our visit, we headed to a local place Cafe Latte.  You should see their desserts!  They are to-die-for!  I chose the Tres Leches cake.


Photo From Cafe Latte's Website

I had never had it before and I’ve always wanted to try it.  It was delicious – I’ll definitely get it again.  Or, maybe I’ll try their Turtle Cake.  I just noticed that they put the recipe online…  Hmmm…. it might have to be an experiment.  🙂

We returned to the dorm with our desserts in hand.  (We couldn’t find a seat!)  We watched “The Ugly Truth” and went to bed.  I had a long few days so I fell asleep right away.  🙂

Breakfast was Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancakes.  The hubby and I picked them up so we could try them – but the batches made a lot of pancakes.  I can’t be trusted around a lot of pancakes.  🙂  We thought we could bring them up and share with my sisters and their friends.


The hubs is a professional pancake maker.


We were right, they made a lot of pancakes!  And, they were delicious.

TJ's Comes Through Again!

A mix between pancakes and pumpkin bread. Not overly pumpkin-y.  I think I’ll try to make my own pumpkin pancakes but with pumpkin puree.  We’ll see!

After breakfast we got to visit The Container Store.  I love that place and we don’t have one around here.  I could do a lot of damage there.  We took a trip to the husband’s favorite store – Patagoina – and stopped to get a smoothie from the Tea Leaf.  After that, it was time to say goodbye.  😦

We stopped at Subway on the way home for dinner.  It was a good choice – especially considering the other places we could have stopped.  We had to stop and pick up the pup and we were on our way home.

It was an awesome weekend – but a busy one.  Time to get focused and work on my homework.  I have a lot to do in the next few weeks.  But, the good news is that I will be done with class in about two weeks and I’ll be done with everything in about three.  (Of course, I have the last exam slot for my political science test)

Must. Be. Productive.  🙂

A Day for Gleeks!

I’ll admit it – I’m a Gleek.  I’m a Gleek through and through.  I love the show.  I love everything about it.  I love the songs.  I love that the leads are Broadway veterans.  I love the messages that the show sends.  It’s one of the reasons why I love Wednesdays – in addition to “Top Chef”.

Okay.  I’m done now.  🙂

Breakfast was the same as yesterday – ‘Nanner oats.  I think I’m going to try pumpkin tomorrow.  I did hear there might be a pumpkin shortage *gasp!*  I might have to stock up.

I taught this morning.  I thought it went well – not as controversial as the last one.  The highlight of the day was a girl asking me if I was going to teach regularly, and when I said it was my last day, she responded “Aw, that makes me sad.”  Yay!  I made an impression!  Well, it was one student, but I’ll just pretend she has the attitude of the entire class.  🙂

Lunch was going to be tricky today – I was meeting my father and my Aunt Jane at a local custard/burger restaurant.  I walked away only having a plain grilled chicken sandwich (with BBQ sauce – of course), a few fries (we all shared) and a Diet Coke.  No frozen custard – which is a big step for me.

I was able to relax a bit while taking care of some emails and other business.  And then it was off to swim club.  It was weird – I felt a little better.  I think it was because I knew that I was going to go into a better direction.  I was more relaxed, not as tense.  After club, I went to the other one where I talked to the coach.  We decided that if I did switch clubs –  it should be after the natural break between seasons (around March).  I agree – I don’t want to do it out of spite, I don’t want to leave anyone in a bind – I just need a better situation.  A situation that matches my goals as a coach – and I think the new club does that.  We’ll see what happens… I haven’t decided how I’m going to go about telling people…

When I got home, it was after 9 o’clock and it was time for a quick dinner.  Enter Trader Joe’s (again!) Chicken Marsala.


Gotta love TJ's!


It only takes 3 minutes in the microwave – and it’s pretty good.  Not as good as my Mom’s – but nothing is.  🙂

(Yes, I resurrected my digital camera.  No more iPhone photos for you guys – only the best!)

We paired it with some mashed potatoes from a pouch (I cheated – so what?!) and some peas (from Trader Joe’s!).  It was a nice, healthy and quick meal.  Yum, yum, yum!


Nom, nom, nom

Tomorrow will be a fun – yet long – day.  Research at Marquette, class, preparing for the banquet (it’s a pot-luck – I don’t know if I’m going to make anything….), swim banquet and “NEW MOON”!!!  I’m excited about the movie because it was my favorite book of the series.  Yes – I’m totally Team Jacob and this is *his* movie.

Wow… I’m really showing my inner 14 year old girl.  I need to stop…

Alright – back to “Top Chef” and “Glee”!!!!!

There’s that 14 year old girl again…  🙂


Where’s My Tim Gunn Makeover??

Dinner is digesting and the “Biggest Loser” is on.  I love the makeover show – mostly because I love Tim Gunn.  And, they have Tabitha on??  I love her too – her show is a guilty pleasure of mine.  No. Shame.

Breakfast was the same as yesterday – oat bran with a ‘nanner, cinnamon a little vanilla sugar.  It was delicious. 🙂

I headed to class which was a bore.  It truly is amazing when the professor can make the Bolshevik Revolution boring.  That takes talent!  My goodness!

I had my education class tonight – I have A LOT of work to do before the end of the semester.  Our teacher told us that it would be easy because we have been working towards it all semester – but there’s A LOT more work to do before December 1st (which is when I am presenting).  I’ll get there…

Dinner tonight was fantastic.  The hubby and I made the decision that we aren’t going to watch TV and eat dinner anymore.  I was watching Dr. Oz yesterday and he talked about losing weight as a couple.  One of the changes that he suggested was not eating while watching TV – he said “It’s the death of couples”.  So, we decided to change.  Last Tuesday, we ate while watching “The Biggest Loser”.  That’s not right at all…  This week, we ate, cleaned the kitchen and sat down and enjoyed the show.  Sounds good to me.  🙂

But, the best thing about dinner was the dinner!  Pesto Chicken Pizza!  It was absolutely delicious.

It tastes better than it looks...

It was a refrigerated pizza dough (we like Trader Joe’s), pesto (prepared by you or Trader Joe’s), chicken breast (cooked in a skillet before putting it on the pizza), an Italian cheese blend and a balsamic vinegar (we used Rachael Ray’s).  We normally made our own, but the prepared Trader Joe’s stuff was so much cheaper.  Around here, it’s hard to find big bunches of basil (my personal garden died already).  It’s about $3 for a cup of basil – I need about 3-4 of those to make one batch – not to mention the cost of the olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan.   We found a prepared pesto at Trader Joe’s for $3.50.  It just made sense – and it was delicious.

For dessert, it was three squares of dark chocolate with sea salt.  Yummmmmmm!

Now, it’s off to look over my notes for my lesson.  It’s the last one I have to teach until student teaching next semester!  I’m getting antsy for the end of this program.  I want to be in the classroom – on my own – already!  🙂