The Excellent Adventures of Kim and Kev

Monday, January 31, 2011

Eating Clean

Many of you have asked about my eating plans. And yes, I consider TWO people to be "many". So, I thought that I would give you a glimpse in to the eating habits of the Snyders.

It could get messy.

Which is why I will not be showing you any pictures of what I look like after finishing a meal.

Your welcome.

A couple of years ago I came across this magazine....

And I was intrigued.

You see, I have tried a MILLION diets ( Ick! Hate that word) and have been through my share of weight gain and weight loss.

My share PLUS one thousand.

I have done the following "diets"...

No carb.
Low carb.
Low calorie/Low fat.
No dairy. ( probably the hardest... because that meant NO CHEESE)
And a ton of other ones that had fancy names that were based on one of the above.

Obviously, I failed at all of them. Because they were too stringent. Too restrictive. When you deprive yourself of something for too long... it usually pushes you over the edge. And then you start eating whatever you want and can't stop.

At least that is how it is for me.

I need balance in my life.

Which is why I was interested in the clean eating concept.

Clean eating is described as "consuming food in its most natural state... or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet, it is a lifestyle approach."

You can read more about it here.

I have been collecting these magazines for years. I even have a subscription now. The recipes are delicious and incredible. The stories are inspiring. The meal plans are easy to follow.

There was just one thing missing. The fitness part.

And so now that I have that down..... every thing is coming together.

The great thing is that once you start eating clean, you actually crave it over processed foods. Your taste buds change and real food tastes SO MUCH BETTER!

I mean... you see what we eat on a regular basis. I don't feel that we are deprived in any way!

I actually look forward to each meal. And I look forward to recreating our favorites in the healthiest way possible.

And as for Kev, he is pretty much a "go with the flow joe". Which makes him the perfect match for me.

A perfect match in so many ways.

But I also want to tell you that just because I am "eating clean"... it doesn't mean that I won't have a treat now and then. That's the thing about living a lifestyle and not being on a DIET... it is all about balance.

And happiness.

And living life.

Luciano Pavarotti once said..."One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating".

I couldn't agree more!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Things I'm Loving Right Now

1. First and foremost.... this absolutely gorgeous day!! I just got home from work and am actually sitting on my back porch/deck/slab of concrete enjoying the weather. A porch/deck/slab of concrete that was covered in ice just a week ago. I've never been so happy in all my days to feel such nice weather.

Too bad it will all be over tomorrow.

2. The list of running races being held in South Carolina this year. I'm like a kid in a candy store... which ones will I do? which ones should I do? Am I really ready to start running races? And really it is all about the t-shirts. I ruined all of mine during the "dream home renovation" that spanned for several years. And I may have spilled some tea on a few. So, it is about time that I start replenishing my collection. And, of course, there are some great causes to be supported.

Who is up for a race with me? FYI- I may or may not run with a fanny pack.

3. La Croix.

Have you even heard of it? It is a carbonated water drink. They had them on sale at Publix a couple of weeks ago. So, I bought some of course. Sale=get in my cart. But the issue is that I detest carbonated water! DETEST. Or at least I thought I did. My one and only experience with it was at an upscale restaurant in Disney World. We were trying to be fancy. Kev and me. And I'm sure that you can guess how that turned out.

Let's just say that we had been sitting by the pool the entire day and were a tad bit dehydrated. And carbonated water does not seem to quench the thirst. And upscale restaurants tend to make us sweat. And fear for our lives. So, long story short...... We were SO thirsty that we... well, we got grumpy. Which is unfortunate when you are on vacation.

And that is why I have never had carbonation again.

Until now. Because I figured that the taste would replace my love for Diet Dr. Pepper. Something that I am obsessed with. But trying to stop to being obsessed with. Do to the unhealthiness of soda.

And I figured that I do drink some pretty insane liquids after all...

Like FOUR family bags of tea + TWO cups of water. It is called "mud tea" around these parts. It is strong. It is harsh. It will grow hair on your chest.

I've got proof.

If I can drink that.... what is a little carbonated water. With lemon flavoring....

It has done the trick. I haven't had a Diet Dr. Pepper in a couple of weeks. The exact same amount of time since I bought La Croix. Interesting coincidence!?

4. My dinner plans for the month of February. There is a LOT going on if you don't already know. And I've got lists. And plans. And enough excitement to fill the state of Texas. ( whatever that means) And I will just go ahead and let you know that a trip to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods is in the plans.

It has to be. For the celebrations to be a success.

5. How completely and utterly sore my legs are from doing Body Pump on Friday. I haven't lifted weights in a while now.... ( shame on me) and it "hurt so good" ala John Cougar Mellancamp.

I have got to work that in to my routine more. For my jiggly parts sake.

6. And just because it has brightened my whole day.... I have to mention the GOR-GE-OUS weather we have had- AGAIN. Awesome!

I'm looking forward to a week full of food and fun... with a side of workout. Hope you have all had a great weekend!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Full Of Hummus

I just ate my weight in hummus. And I don't regret it one bit.

I love it so much.

I love it even more when I make it myself. It's my new favorite thing to do.

And it is SO easy. Which is why I planned it for tonight. I had a full day of work. An hour of Body Pump at the gym. And thirty minutes to make dinner.

That is for us to eat on time at eight.

Except for we hardly ever eat on time. No matter how organized I am.

Maybe it has something to do with me watching The Real Housewives while I cook. And it doesn't matter what version. I heart them all.

(Tonight was a re-run of the Beverly Hills reunion show)

Anyway, I had "The Staci Special" on the menu tonight. Which is otherwise known as a Boca burger/hummus/pizza. Staci just happens to be the person who gave me the recipe and so I thought it only fair to name it after her.

It starts with making the hummus. With garbanzo beans. Except for this little can decided to be sneaky and not only jumped in to my hands, but let me open it before I realized what I had just done.

Oh well, I can't have food going to waste. And I figured they wouldn't hurt anything. They are beans after all. So, they went in to the mix.

Along with four cloves of garlic and one can of ACTUAL garbanzo beans...

Kosher salt, pepper, and a 1/4 cup tahini. I put every thing in to the food processor and turned it on.

And I got the perfect consistency. And a delicious result. I'm sure there are a million ways to make hummus.... and a million fun things to add... but I just love it plain and simple.

And just to make sure that I loved it, I ate about 10 Wheat Thins loaded with it.
I had some muscles to feed.

Then I cooked up some Boca Burgers - easy eight minutes on the stove - and crumbled them up with a fork.

Now I usually put all of this goodness on a pita. But since we had some whole wheat tortillas that needed to be used up, I made more of a quesadilla instead of a "pizza".

I spread hummus on 1/2 of the tortilla. Then added the "burger". Then added some reduced fat feta cheese. And baked it at 375 on a crisper pan.

Once it looked cooked and crispy, I removed it from the oven and added chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and crushed red pepper.

I guess you could call it a Greek quesadilla.

It was very good and VERY filling.

Or maybe that was because I had already eaten so much hummus.

Hummus that I was hoping to have for a couple of days. But after making two more quesadillas for Kev's lunch, IT IS GONE. Every last bit.

It's a good thing I have the ingredients to make another batch.
And now I will leave you with an interesting quote that I came across yesterday...
"The greatest wealth is health" ~Virgil

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Running On Empty

I went running today. At the gym.

It is the new way that I like to spend my days off. Instead of going to a class. Unless there is a yoga class, of course. ;)

It seems to work better with my schedule ( my day off mean TONS of errands) not to mention that I really just need the running practice. How else will I be successful at running a race? Or just calling myself a runner... for that matter.

So, I entered the super dark theater and climbed up on a treadmill. Actually, I STEPPED up on a treadmill. I'm short... but not that short to have to "climb".

Unfortunately, they were showing the movie "Fool's Gold". Now, it's not really a bad movie per se... but it is not necessarily one that I need to see twice. I blame it on Matthew McConaughey (gasp!). I realize that he is a LOT of ladies' fantasy and I'm sure he is super nice and wonderful. But I tend to like my guys with a little less ( not much at all) hair. And there is the assumption that I have that he probably smells like a sweaty trash can.

I'm just sayin'.

However, I must state for the record that I am totally and completely in love with Johnny Depp - who has lots of hair and probably smells like a sweaty trash can - but he is also a pirate and therefore can sleep in my guest room any day.

But who cares about the movie. Because I was there to run, after all. And run I did. Except for I made the BIG mistake of trying to set the treadmill to a 5K run.... instead of a manual. I thought it would be a great way to time myself and get a feel for running a race. Except for that the machine went wild and went up and down in speed. Which resulted in me running like I was being chased by Jason Voorhees. My nemesis.

So, after I caught my breath and got control of the treadmill, I settled for a manual run with a little fast walking at a major incline.

It was quite the sight to see... I am sure. In fact, I think the lady on the elliptical behind me just stopped working out and watched the show.

I do what I can to entertain others at the gym.

Just not by choice.

In other news..... we had Shrimp Scampi tonight. I got the recipe from a fabulous blog called The Girl Who Ate Everything. She actually posted it over the, I have made it MULTIPLE times. It is super easy and refreshing and delicious.

Not to mention the yummy carbs that my body needed after a good run. I was starving!

And just in case I didn't get enough carbs from the whole wheat linguine, I bought some fresh bread from Publix...

It is sourdough. But with nine grains and nuts and seeds. Heaven in a loaf. A little Smart Balance and some freshly shaved parm....and it became the perfect addition to the scampi.

(AND I've got leftover bread for my eggs in the morning!)

The only changes I made to the recipe were that I used whole wheat linguine and NO butter. It makes the sauce much lighter and not as rich. However, I'm sure the butter makes this recipe out of this world!

I was also out of fresh parsley - so I used dried. Meh.

The shrimp that I got was from Publix. In the frozen section of the seafood department. It was raw, deveined, tails off.

For years I bought the cooked shrimp from Publix. And then I would make the recipe exactly how it said to and my shrimp would come out so tough and rubbery.


I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure that one out. But this shrimp is PERFECT. AND I don't have to deal with deveining or anything remotely gross.

The lemon is the best part of the recipe (to me). I LOVE lemon. And Kev bought me the most wonderful tool to zest a lemon. It is a Microplane zester. It is SO much better than the ones that I had purchased in the cooking sections of stores. And he got it off of Amazon which means it only cost a wink and a smile.

Look at all that yummy lemon zest...

And I finally got to use my new tool that I received for Christmas from Kev's Aunt Kim. It is SO much better than squeezing the lemons in my fist.

The finished product.....

Unfortunately, it looks like a big plate of khaki. But, believe me, it was very flavorful. And made enough for FOUR more meals. Gotta love that.

And now my poor dishwasher is running for the THIRD time today. That's THREE times in ONE day! Ridiculous. I would highly recommend to any one remodeling their kitchen to go ahead and install two dishwashers. That is ... if you like to cook.

Or maybe I just need someone to teach me how to load a dishwasher.

Perfect Portions

I went to yoga yesterday.

And I have officially named it my new favorite class.

Out loud. To any one that would care to listen. Which means my favorite snow couple
and the lady bugs that will NOT get out of my bathroom got an ear full.

Oh. And then of course YOU know because I only write about it every other day.

I literally roll in to class like a hard shelled roly poly. Sore, achy, hunched over. And after an hour, I walk out (up right!) like a graceful swan.

Ok. Maybe graceful is not the right adjective for me. More like a swan that has seen better days... but still a swan. With a hard shell.

That makes lots of sense. But not really.

And not only do I feel so incredible after all of that stretching, lengthening, and balancing. But the meditation is the best part.... in my opinion. I can't tell you enough how peaceful it makes me feel.

I lay there with my eyes closed and forget about work, to-do lists, bills, and drama. And think about sitting on the balcony of the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park watching the sunset. It is my dream vacation. In case you were wondering.

And then some times I might think about double-the-marshmallow rice krispie treats.

It just depends on my mood. And hunger level.

Regardless, I think every one should do yoga. It would make the world such a happier place.

On another note, I felt the need to share with you this bowl.

Because it is only the greatest perfectly portioned meal holder for those of us on the go.
Wow. A "perfectly portioned meal holder". I can't believe that I don't have a job in marketing with titles like that.
I got a set of these bowls for Christmas in our Switzer family name drawing extravaganza. My sister, Holly, drew my name.
And I fist pumped the air when I found out. Because she not only has a similar love for cooking and good food... but she is a great gift giver. And I couldn't wait to see what she came up with.
Side note: Holly is the sister who lives close to D.C. I have never been to visit. Because I am lame. And now she is moving to Alaska. And you all know how I feel about the cold weather. And igloos. Which means I think her moving there is ridiculous. The End.
When we do our name drawing, we are able to put three things down on the paper that we would like to receive. That way the giver has an easier job and the receiver is happy. And all is right with the world.
So, my list had on it...... Bowls with handles.
It makes them easier to hold when driving.
Pretend I didn't just type that.
Well, Holly not only got me bowls. But they have LIDS.
Lids for bowls is like better than a grilled cheese sandwich.
As painful as that sentence sounds - it is the truth for some one like me who cooks a lot, eats a lot, and packs lunches A LOT.
So, you better believe that these delights have come in handy.
Like when I make oatmeal for breakfast. I can make a big batch. Separate it out in to four servings. And then for FOUR mornings in a row - I can eat a batch of oatmeal on my way to work.
Or then there is the vegetable chili I made last week...

I portioned it out. Put some toppings on. And wah-la ( I just spelled that word the way it sounds) I have my lunches ready for a couple of days.
She also got me some amazing looking soup mixes from Whole Foods (best store ever). Every week I put them on my menu and every week they get bumped due to an abundance of leftovers. I keep putting them on a night where I will get home late - so, I'm just going to have to schedule them in on a regular day. Because I have to try them SOON!! I LOVE fun soups!
And bowls with lids!
(The eighteen year old me would have cringed at the thought that one day I would be writing a story about soup, handled bowls, and yoga.) ( It's a good thing she has never met the current me a la Back to the Future)
And just because I need this post to be about one more thing. I want to let every one out there know ( if you didn't already) that PLAIN Greek Yogurt DOES taste very similar to sour cream. It is just much healthier. I had been anxious to try it for a while now because I love sour cream so much that I use it as a hand lotion. But I didn't love the non healthy ingredients. So, I put some on my chili. In my special bowl....

And all was right with the world. Again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

South Beach Lasagna

Last night I worked my buns off. Literally. In my Body Attack class.

I hadn't been in a couple of weeks because I had been focusing on spin, yoga, and running instead.

And honestly, I planned to go to spin. But as I have mentioned before... the gym is crazy packed these days and unless you get to class a million hours before it starts - you will NOT get a bike.

So, I reluctantly headed over to Attack. It used to be my favorite because it really is so much fun. But since I hadn't been in a while - I knew it was about to kick my tail. And it did. But in a good way. I did much better than I thought I would. Probably because of my focus on running and yoga. I felt strong. And only had to wipe the sweat from my forehead seventy times. Instead of 100.

And then I was absolutely FAMISHED! Like "I just finished a half marathon food better get in my belly" famished.

And lucky for me, I had made dinner the night before. While I was waiting on the honey vegetables to roast. So, all I had to do was warm it up and we were ready to go.

I love it when that happens.

I couldn't get home fast enough. I needed a filling carbalicious meal. And that is why I had made lasagna.

South Beach Whole Wheat Vegetable Lasagna. To be exact.

From the infamous South Beach Diet.

And yes. It was very successful for me. About six years ago. And then I lost my focus and my balance in life. And forgot all about this book.

You can tell it was WELL loved. I literally used the book EVERY day during that diet. It has some pretty good recipes. Even though I would change some things up nowadays... as a lot of it is very meat heavy.

But the lasagna was one of my favorites. Because I could make a batch of it and eat on it for a couple of days.

And who doesn't love lasagna!

You can find the recipe online here.

I did make several changes to the recipe. Just because I wanted to make it substantial with more nutrients.

I got an organic chopped tomato sauce....

And then added eggplant, squash, and tomatoes to the zucchini called for in the recipe.

And used FRESH spinach instead of frozen.

And here is where I feel that I made a mistake. It was almost TOO much. As you can see it barely fit in the dish. And I probably should have sauteed or steamed the vegetables before I put them in... as they still were a little crunchy even after baking for one hour.
But none of that stopped me from gobbling it up. I seriously felt like my family at an all-you-care-to-eat buffet. Except for I just had one BIG slice of lasagna and a HUGE side salad. ( And maybe the salad had some extra chunks of mozzarella on top). But I ate it fast. So fast that the clock turned backwards.
And I really could have kept going... but my belly quickly reminded me of how miserable I feel after I stuff myself.
Plus, that just leaves more for today's dinner. And tomorrow's. And the next day's.

( I'm still working hard on perfecting my food pictures. It is not as easy at it seems.)
I'm already looking forward to my dinner break tonight at work. There is something about whole wheat noodles, fresh parmesan, and mozzarella that just blows my skirt up. Oh. And vegetables. I can't forget about the vegetables. ;)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Empty Promises, Bob Villa, and Root Vegetables

If that title isn't a casserole full of random - I don't know what is.

But I have a reason for it. And hopefully it will all make sense in the end.

You see, back during the times of "Kim may or may not post at some point this month" I would make lots of promises. I would promise to tell you a story. Or a recipe. Or show you a picture of something.

And then I would fail to post for a week and would move on with my life and just leave you hanging.

Except for no one has ever complained or questioned my sanity. You have just moved on right along with me and have forgotten those promises.

I just spent an hour reading back through some older posts. Looking through pictures. And deleting posts that I started and never finished.

And right now is one of those times when I wish I was wearing my hat.

But never fear. Because my resolutions are holding tight. And I plan to keep my word this year. And keep up with the posting. And not make any more promises that I don't plan to keep.

Except for the promise I made to Kev yesterday to put away the piles of clean laundry I have accumulated in the laundry room.

We both knew that was never going to happen.

Anyway, I have a story to tell you about Kev. aka Bob Villa. Or aka Ty Pennington. ( I gave two aka choices depending on your age)

AND I can't believe it has taken me so long to tell you about this!

Kev/Bob/Ty built an actual piece of furniture for our home! Like a REAL GROWN UP USEABLE piece that is NOT a speaker stand or a plant stand or a step stool.

( Not that there is anything wrong with building those things)

And it all came about after we spent months looking for a tv stand/credenza for our "entertainment/Gamecock room". Kev had a certain idea in mind and couldn't seem to find it anywhere. Or if we did, it cost a fortune.

So, he did what any guy with a garage, a saw, and a piece of sandpaper would do.

He designed and built this....

Isn't she a beauty!!

I was SO proud! Like jumping up and down screaming proud! And then I may have begged for a dining room table, a cabinet for my dishes, and a dollhouse complete with tiny furniture.

I am married to a furniture builder.

That is cause for a celebration!

A furniture builder was the only thing on my list that I let slide. My wish list titled "My Dream Husband". He had met every other wish so I decided to count the speaker stands. Like any proper 80's girl would do.

But now my list is really complete. Not that I didn't already think Kev is the bees knees.

So, I joined in on the fun. And painted it black. To match the decor.

And it works perfectly in the room. And gives our tv plenty of room to grow.

This table will be forever special to me because of the love that went in to making it. And let me just tell you that this picture doesn't do it justice. It is FABULOUS in person!

And now for a recipe. For root vegetables.....

I got this recipe from Tina's blog: Carrots N' Cake.

It is sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots and shallots. Drizzled with olive oil and honey. Salt and pepper. And then roasted in the oven.

SOOOO YUMMY!! They really tasted amazing.

Served with a baked pork chop....

And a huge side salad. Light. Healthy. Tasty.

And delicious again for lunch the next day.

Now if I could just pull together that Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom post that I promised you. Then I think we would be all right again.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reasons Why I Wear A Hat To The Gym

I have had multiple people ask me why I dress the way that I do to go to the gym. My pants are long and baggy. My shirts are over sized. My hat is usually on and pulled down low over my eyes.

I'm basically unrecognizable. Usually.

But the other day I decided to be brave and go hatless. To give every one the chance to see the face that is attached to the body of the girl who dresses like " a little man" ( as Kev says).

And also because I was taking yoga.

I have found it very difficult to twist and turn in to random positions in a dark room and still be able to see what the instructor is doing when there is a hat bill in my view.

But 30 minutes in to my class, I realized why I need that hat.

1. My hair. It has a mind of it's own. Especially when I have just gotten out of bed to attend a class. It's a little bit frizzy. A little bit curly. A little bit straight. A little bit country. A little bit rock and roll. And a whole lotta unmanageable- even with several bobby pins and a headband.

2. My tea stained shirt.It is amazing how many times a day I seem to forget where my face hole is. I spilled this tea just seconds after I pulled in to the gym parking lot.

Some times I think it would just be easier if I used my shirt as my plate and cup. Then I wouldn't have to wash so many dishes.

3. The glob of honey that was on my chin. I felt it as I randomly touched my face and my hand stuck in place. I don't even want to think of the amount of people that I smiled at or talked to before I discovered it.

4. The angry and contorted faces that I was making with every plank, hard stretch, or basically any move that I was doing that involved my core. Which means I had an angry face throughout the class.

It's been known to scare people.

5. Have I mentioned that I had a glob of honey stuck on my chin?

Basically, my hat makes me feel invisible. I can do some thing ridiculous and not have to worry about ruining my reputation.

The reputation that I'm worried about ruining? I have no clue.

But I have one. You can ask my Mom.

It is the reason that I won't start randomly singing and dancing on public transportation with the rest of my family.

Unless I'm wearing a hat.

But I realized that I'm much more sociable when I don't wear the hat. I'm much more myself. I met new people. I made new friends.

Tea stained shirt and all.

It is funny the things people (ME) worry about when nobody else cares.

And really, who cares what my hair looks like, or if I fall off my bike, or if I have cereal stuck to my pants.

When I have pictures like this circulating on the internet...
My attempt to show you my dirty shirt. See, I'm even pointing to the stain. I clearly have too much time on my hands.

You wouldn't believe the amount of pictures I took. It's scary.

In other news... It was announced at the gym that almost $7000 was raised for Camp Kemo during our burnathon last weekend!! Isn't that fabulous!

And my favorite quote from last week...

"Don't fuel your body at the same place you fuel your car"

And I guess that concludes the most random post ever. But I'm sure you are used to that by now. Random posts. It's my signature style.

I should probably stick to cooking.

Speaking of cooking.... I've got to go pull some yumminess out of the oven. And I will be sure to tell you all about it tomorrow.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cheese, Glorious Cheese!

Yesterday was National Cheese Lovers Day. If you haven't heard by now.

A day created for someone like me.

Some one who could eat cheese for every single meal. Or snack. Or any time in between.

Which is why I'm sure that you are imagining that I served platters upon platters of cheeses. With wine and grapes and crackers.

Or maybe a side of cheese fondue.

Or a big bowl of broccoli cheese soup. With a glass of melted cheese.

(Ew. I'm not so sure I would actually like to drink a glass of melted cheese.)

Anyway, if you thought these were the types of things we were celebrating with last night - then you were not alone.

Kev walked in to the kitchen expecting the same.

I mean, I have only been talking about this day for over a month now.

But for the first time ever, I decided to keep our celebration low key.

And a little more refined.

( I know I've just shocked you. I shocked myself)

So, I chose my current most favorite macaroni and cheese dinner.

Autumn Mac and Cheese. From Jessica at How Sweet It is.

I stumbled across this recipe a couple of months ago. And just realized today that it is from the same person that created the BBQ chicken fingers that we had the other night.

I think she is my new girl crush.

When I made the mac and cheese dish the first time, I just new it would remain a favorite of ours.

So, besides the fact that it dirties a million dishes and takes much longer to make than a basic recipe - IT IS SO WORTH IT!

Trust me!

I started with some top quality whole wheat pasta...

Roasted some apples and butternut squash in olive oil....

Sauteed brussel sprouts and onions in olive oil...

And then mixed it all together with a (reduced fat) colby and jack cheese sauce

I sprinkled panko and parm on the top and popped it in the oven. It came out looking like this...

A perfect serving for one...

I actually ate the mac and cheese as my meal. With a side salad, of course. It is so filling. But light. And a total taste explosion.

Kev, on the other hand, is a growing boy. So, he needs a little more of a substantial meal in his life. Which is why I got him a real treat... Hudson's Smokehouse BBQ...

As I'm sure you have noticed, we haven't been eating that much meat lately. And if we do it is usually chicken or shrimp.
I actually think I heard giggles in between bites. He was just that happy!
I served his BBQ on Hawaiian sweet rolls. With a mustard sauce on the side.

But that's not all. Because I felt the need to make Kev something sweet. For several reasons.
1. He loves a sweet treat every night and had finally finished off the pancakes from LAST Sunday. ( I always make too much of every thing. )
2. I found a half used box of Rice Krispies in my pantry when I was cleaning it out. I have absolutely NO idea why I have them or why they were half eaten. They are definitely not something I would normally buy.
3. I was up for a challenge. A challenge to try something that I had failed at in the past.
Rice Krispie Treats.
Yes, I failed at making them.
They were too oily/greasy/buttery and not enough marshmallow. Or something like that.
Basically they were gross.
I've never claimed to be a good treat maker. ( At least I don't think that I have)
But this time I had a plan. To double the amount of marshmallow.
More Marshmallow cures every thing!

I love the smell and taste of these little white fluff balls. I especially love them after they have been roasted over a fire.
Marshmallows are my downfall.
I thought I was stronger than that. I mean I can pretty much withstand just about anything sweet. I would rather have a carb or CHEESE if given an option.
But these extra gooey delights were not some thing that I should have made if I wanted to zip up my pants tomorrow.
But a good cook ALWAYS has to try every thing that he/she makes before she serves it. Even if it is not something he/she would normally eat. The Food Network taught me that.
So, I licked the spoon.
And then I proclaimed my love for the treats at the top of my lungs.
Then I cut out a square to take a picture.
And then I realized that I couldn't fit it perfectly back in to the dish. So, I was forced to eat it.
And maybe a couple of spoonfuls more. By necessity.
And now I am SO thankful that I went to the gym twice today. Otherwise I would have to wear sweat pants to work tomorrow.
So, a day that was supposed to be all about cheese ended up being about every thing else in between. Like BBQ and marshmallows.
But ultimately, it was a great holiday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

National Cheese Lovers Day!

Today is the day!! The day that I have been waiting for since the beginning of the year.

National Cheese Lovers Day!

Who in the world came up with such a thing?

Because I think they are awesome! Like totally.

You better believe I have special plans for dinner tonight. Because that is what I do best.

"Celebrating nonsense holidays" is what I like to call it.

Except I think that loving cheese is anything BUT nonsense. It is one of the greatest foods in the world.

I began this beautiful day ( the weather is fab) with my all time favorite breakfast.

Eggs over easy ( with super runny insides) on toast.

Unfortunately "super runny insides" doesn't sound that appealing now that I actually see it in print.

So, I will call them "dippy" eggs. I had never heard that word before. Until last week when I was telling a friend how much I love runny eggs. And she told me what they were really called.

Good to know.

Eggs on toast is a breakfast from my youth. So, basically it has been my favorite breakfast for 75 years.

I've got this breakfast down to a science. Two eggs. A little salt. A little pepper. A little more salt. Flip 'em over. And put them on top of your favorite toast.

I would LOVE to have some Great Harvest bread right now. But since we don't have one any where near us.... I have to settle for Ezekiel bread. My second favorite of all time.


And makes you feel good when you eat it.

AND I have just recently discovered Ezekiel English Muffins.

It was like winning the lottery.

I use English Muffins for burger buns. So, I was able to buy a box and eat them for breakfast AND for lunch with my black bean burgers.

You gotta love some double timing bread.

On the side I have a Ruby Red Orange. Or at least that is what Kev's customer told him they were when he brought us a bag. And they are BY FAR the BEST oranges that I have ever had.

Partly because I haven't been able to eat oranges for the last ten years. Because of some annoying little problem called Reflux. I used to take meds that would help me through the day - but the meds were NEVER a match for oranges. And I would just feel miserable just thinking about eating one.

Nowadays, I am refusing medication and attempting to manage my issues with organic, healthy foods. As much as possible.

But these delights are not too acidic. And have a mild, sweet flavor that is seriously to die for. Plus I never realized how much fun it is to put an orange slice in your mouth and smile like a monkey.

I crack myself up every time.

After my delish breakfast, I went to the gym. To the 10:15 Pilates/Yoga class. My new favorite. And you will never guess who I ran in to! One of my favorite people of all times... Diane. Seeing and talking with her was the highlight of my day!

I left that class with a spring in my step, a smile on my face, and some sore butt cheeks.

I was off to run errands. But strangely enough, once I got to the other side of town and got a couple of random things accomplished... I felt the need for another gym class.

A spin class to be exact.

I know that sounds crazy. And maybe a little excessive. But it is a great class. And I love the teacher. And it is National Cheese Lovers Day after all.... and I figured I needed to start early on working off all the cheese I will consume tonight.

And on that note... I've got a dish to create. One that is probably going to take me a while. So, I better get to work. But I will be sure to tell you all about it later!

In the mean time... go eat some cheese!! It is time to celebrate!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crock Pot Chili

Don't you just love crock pots?

I think they are just the best thing. Not that I use mine that often. But when I do I always remind myself to find more recipes to make in it. And then I forget all about it. Until the next time I pull it out.

For the longest time, I would only use it to make a roast. Mmmmmm. Roast. That sounds really good right now.

A yummy roast. With mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. And rolls with lots of butter.

Holy carbs! Some one is having a major craving all of a sudden.

But it is not me. I'm sure of it.

Anyway, I came across a scrumptious looking vegetarian chili recipe in the latest Real Simple magazine.

(I love Real Simple. In fact, I just got a two year subscription to it because they had a special which made each issue about $1.00. It is normally $4.99 in stores.)

So, not only did the recipe blow my skirt up because of all the healthy goodness in it... but it was a crock pot recipe. Which meant that I could make it on a day that I worked late and then Kev would come home to a fresh, hot meal.

What could be better about that?

I'm sure Kev would say that coming home to me would be better than just a hot meal.... but he is not around right now, so I don't know for sure.

So, I pulled out the crock pot from it's new completely organized home....

Add threw in the following:
1 can of black beans - drained and rinsed.
1 can of kidney beans - drained and rinsed.
4 cloves of garlic. chopped.
1 green pepper. chopped.
1 medium sweet potato. peeled and chopped.
1 medium red onion. chopped.
1 TBS. chili powder
1 TBS. cumin
2 15oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes. With juice.
1/2 cup water.
salt and pepper.
And I added in a jalapeno pepper. Just because I need heat in my life.

I set the crock pot to 8 hours. And went to work. Or if you don't have to work you can take a nap. Or whatever the heck you feel like doing because your dinner is basically taken care of for you.
It says to serve the chili with tortilla chips, sour cream, and freshly sliced radishes.
Kev forgot about the radishes. Which proves how much he needs me around during meals.
But other than that - he said it was VERY good and he really enjoyed it. He even commented that the chips were a nice side as they added some crunch.
I love my little food critic. He makes what I love doing so much more fun.
And on a side note.... while I was prepping vegetables.... I happened to catch a "story". Or what some people call a soap opera. And let me just tell you that it was the cheesiest and silliest thing that I had seen in a long time. And I sit through some pretty weird shows with Kev. The funnier thing about it was that I used to watch these religiously with my Mom. We were a little obsessed. I remember when Santa Barbara first aired - we actually sat there with pen and paper and wrote down every one's names and relationships.
Yes we did.
So, I don't know if they have always been so bizarre and we just didn't realize it. OR if we really enjoyed watching such ridiculousness.
We probably enjoyed the ridiculousness.
Regardless, I got a good laugh out of it.
And now I'm off to try some chili. And make believe it is roast.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Summer Picnic

It is called ACTING. Or pretending. Or using your imagination to it's fullest.

Basically, I have had enough of this winter. And cannot stop daydreaming of the warmer days ahead.

Wearing a sundress, no shoes, and running through a field of wildflowers.

Except for I would never do that. It would probably hurt my shins. Plus I cannot run without wearing a sports bra. And let's face it... a sundress with a sports bra underneath?

That sounds like something I did in my awkward middle school years.

So, until the temps start to climb, we are having to pretend that it isn't winter any more with our dinner.

Which is why I made this dressing the other night....

It is a balsamic vinegar based dressing. With shallots and garlic and olive oil and spices. I got the idea from a Paula Deen magazine ( yes, I have a million of them) but just changed up a few of the ingredients and whipped it up in two minutes in my food processor.

It is very vinegary and healthy and would be yummy on a regular green salad. But her recipe was for a potato salad.

A non mayo based potato salad. I had never heard of such a thing.

And you know how much it excites me to take an "unhealthy" dish and turn it in to a healthy one.

( It excites me a little too much actually... which is one of the reasons I write this blog. As an outlet for my excitement. There is only SO much that Kev can take of my constant blabbering about food before he holds his hand up in the air and says "Hold that thought" and then leaves the house forever)

So, I roasted some red potatoes and leeks in the oven. Let them cool. And then poured the dressing over the top and mixed it all together. Added some green onions for fun. And this is what I got.....

But you can't just have potato salad without a burger.

Which brings me to my high light dish of the week. The black bean burger.

I came across this recipe a couple of months ago. It is from Emily who writes The Daily Garnish.

She is an amazing chef and is always coming up with delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes. I have to admit that I have been a little intimidated to make some of them. Fearing that the dish just wouldn't turn out quite right. But as I am always up for a challenge ( as long as it doesn't involve sky diving or something wacky) I decided to give these burgers a go.

The thing about Emily is that she doesn't just throw things together. You can tell that lots of thought and love go in to each recipe... not to mention good ole fashioned "hidden" nutrition. For instance, one of the ingredients was pepitas.

Chinese Pumpkin Seeds to be exact. At least that is what it said on the bin at the health food store. And yes, this was my very first time to actually buy some thing that I had to measure from a bin. It was exciting and scary all at the same time. I just knew that I was going to spill seeds all over the floor and be banned for life.

Where is Kev when you need him?

But the addition of the seeds didn't so much add a certain flavor ( that I can tell) but they added an extra nutrients and made me feel good while I was eating the burger.

Especially because I got them out of the bin without spilling.

A real highlight in my life.

And the burgers themselves were really not that hard to make. They were quite fun actually. And tasted AH-MAZING! They kind of reminded me of Mexican food ( probably because of the black beans). And so I think that next time I make them I will add some avocado and hot peppers and perhaps some salsa as toppings.

And yes, I discovered this Coca - Cola plate during the (ongoing) kitchen reorganization. Once again, it is not ours. And probably should not be in my cabinet. But I felt like it went with the picnic theme. Even though we do NOT drink Coca - Cola. :)
It has been a weird week around the Snyder household. We are like ships passing in the night. So, other than me cooking and Kev eating it later by himself, there hasn't been much else going on.
But don't you worry! Thursday is a big day for us! And I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Change Of Plans

There comes a day when every great planner has to change their plans. At the last minute.

Except for I'm not necessarily a great planner. Just a girl with an obsessive list making habit and a need to know what I'm going to do three months from now on a random Saturday afternoon.

It is a sickness that can't be cured. Kev has already tried.

Regardless, I want to make it known that I handled the changes with grace. Mainly because they were changes for the better. And ended up benefiting me in the end.

It all started with last night's meal. I had been planning it for a month. I had been anxiously awaiting to try it. I had every intention of making it.

Until I spent the majority of the day organizing the kitchen.

And when 7pm rolled around. I was exhausted. And permanently attached to the couch.

So, I put my back up plan in to place.


Amy's Organic Spinach and Tomatoes for me.....
And Tony's for Kev.

I have been wanting to try Amy's for a while now. AND it was DELICIOUS!! The crust was fantastic. The flavors were fantastic. The only thing that wasn't fantastic was the calorie count and size. I'm not really in to counting calories that much BUT it was a three serving pizza. THREE SERVINGS. I could have eaten the entire small pie in two seconds. But that would have been almost 1000 calories. EEEK! So, I cut it in half.
As far as Kev's pizza. He doesn't really care about the calories. Or the health factor.. for that matter. He loves the taste and the convenience and the price. And our freezer never goes a day without having at least four of them inside.

We also got the chance to try out our new "crisper" pans. I happened across them at Walmart and figured I would give them a try. It was another one of my attempts to save money. (Normally, we put the pizzas on aluminum foil) They worked out perfectly! They made the crust so crispy and evenly cooked.

Perfect for pizza obsessed peeps such as ourselves.
And then Kev suggested we eat our pizzas at the bar. Because that is what he does on the nights that I work late.
It is cozy. And romantic.
Oh, and you can watch the "big" tv while you eat. Perfect.
It was just like being at a sports bar.
Except for we had salads. ( Kev's in a bowl. Mine on top of the pizza - I love to "mix" my meals up) And no one tried to pick us up. And most importantly, we didn't have to go outside to get there.
And then I got to eat it all over again for lunch today. It was even better. And made me want to ensure that there are always at least FOUR of Amy's pizza in my freezer.
My next change of plans happened during the short twenty minutes that I have between getting off of work, changing my clothes, and getting to the gym in time for class.
It is a race, folks. A race that I don't always get to cross the finish line of.
Luckily, today I was moving fast enough to make it to class on time..... I had just brought the wrong sports bra. One that was a little too big. Some thing that I cannot take too lightly when I have a Body Attack class scheduled.
Mild bruising could be involved.
But as luck would have it, there was a bike available in spin class. And it was like two minutes before the class started. In JANUARY. The busiest month of the year. So, I still got a great workout and was able to re work my class schedule for the week to attend Body Attack on Wed.
I was cool as a cucumber. And went with the flow.
It is the little things, folks.
And now I am just sitting down after a SUPER LONG Monday. Long but productive. I even have our dinner prepared for tomorrow night. That way I can stay late at the gym and take Pilates! And then walk in the door just as dinner is served.
I even made my own salad dressing. In my food processor. And this picture will just have to tide you over until I tell you what type of salad this dressing is going on....
But that will have to wait until tomorrow.
Because it is almost bedtime!
Good Night!