Friday, August 29, 2014

Roasted Asparagus with Mushrooms

I’m trying to hit 5 new recipes for the month of August – this one is my third. I have a couple days left to hit two more, so wish me luck!

New Recipe 1: Spinach Mushroom Chicken Enchiladas
New Recipe 2: Easy (chick)Peasy Artichoke Salad

Just as in the other two recipes, I’ll outline the pinspiration in black and then my changes/substitutions/notes in red.

Roasted Asparagus with Mushrooms

Roasted Asparagus & Mushrooms

The inspiration came from this pin (which admittedly looks much better than my iPhone concoction that you’ll see at the end of the post) and the original recipe is found on Food.com (or click here).
Roasted Asparagus with Mushrooms. Photo by Rita~

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 lbs medium asparagus, tough stem ends trimmed
  • 1/2 lb medium white button mushrooms, stemmed & quartered (I had a 10 oz package of Bella Mushrooms already sliced I picked up because I have an infatuation with them but white button mushrooms would have been super yummy as well)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste (I also sprinkled with garlic and onion powder)
  • 2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar or 2-3 tsp sherry wine vinegar (I had neither of those things, but I found some red wine vinegar in my cabinet, cooking win!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a non-stick baking sheet with sides (I actually always cover mine in aluminum foil when roasting things because I think they brown better), toss the asparagus and mushrooms with the oil and season with salt and pepper. (And onion/garlic powder.)
  3. Spread vegetables in a single layer. (Or as close as possible, I didn’t quite do this and missed out on some good browning of the asparagus)
  4. Roast for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and browned, turning once or twice. (I was in the middle of getting the kid ready for bed, so I think they stayed in for 20 minutes and were never turned. #reallife)
  5. Place vegetables on serving platter. (hahahahahahahaha)
  6. Sprinkle vegetables with (red wine) vinegar and toss gently to combine.
  7. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired. (We didn’t feel like we needed too.)
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature. (We were hangry, so they were served hot.)
  9. Makes 4 servings.

Overall, this was a really yummy, quick and easy side dish. I would definitely make it again, although I would make sure everything is in a single layer to get that slightly burned/roasted flavor & coloring that I like on my veggies. Alfred really liked the flavor and I will probably try the balsamic vinegar next time I make it, just to see what the difference in flavor is for the two.

IMG_4551

I made honey & mustard boneless pork chop with it and then some Kraft Ranch Pasta salad (husband’s favorite). It all paired up really well and actually, the pork chop was a new recipe for me but I was so focused on the asparagus and mushroom I didn’t make any notes on it. LIFE WINNER.

Any new recipes in your life lately?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Little Things

Lehmann Laughter

If you’re new here, this link-up is every Wednesday (until the 30 weeks are up). It’s based off these two articles – here and here. You are welcome to take the points in any direction you choose, what I go off of is only something to get the ol’ brain ticking. Original post is here.

I hope you’ll join me!

Previous posts: Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 18,19, 20 & 21.


Week 22


Appreciating the Small Things
What are some small things you are grateful for?


9 years ago I married my husband. Total years we’ve been together 13. I’ve almost had him in my life longer than I haven’t had in him my life – we started dating when I was 16. Such babies.  Prom 2002


I won’t pretend and say our life together has been picture perfect, there has been fights, accusations & lies directed towards/at each other but I would still say we have a very happy marriage. The ups we have had very much outweigh and outnumber the downs we have. I think the one constant that has helped us is being appreciative of what the other person brings into our marriage.


Alfred is one of the most driven people I know and he knows how to push to get what he wants – I, on the other hand, am much more laidback, go with the flow. The balance this not only plays in our marriage but in other aspects of our life is something we had to get used to but once we did, it’s helped me push for more out of my life and allowed him to pull the reins in once in a while and just enjoy life.Lake days!

It’s the little things in life that can either prop you up or push you down, most of the time you don’t even realize it until it’s too late and an argument has began. I try really hard to make sure he knows I appreciate all the things he does & I feel like he does it with me as well.  

Example 1: Even though it’s Alfred’s “job” to take out the trash, I still tell him thank you every time he does it (even if there is some prodding on my part) and whenever I make dinner, the first thing out of his mouth after the first bite is shoved in is thank you.

First 10k!


Example 2: Running is not Alfred’s thing. But he’s supportive and will come to support me in my races even though he basically just sits there and watches sweaty people jump up & down and apply band-aids to places people shouldn’t have to apply band-aids too. Farming is his thing, he grew up with it, so I’m clueless in that aspect & am only vaguely interested most of the time but I make sure to acknowledge what’s going on his world so we can talk about it whenever he’s had a rough day.


This lined up pretty well with it being our anniversary and the weekly writing prompt. One might think I planned it that way, but one would be wrong.


In any case, here’s to 9 years of all the small things he’s done for me that he didn’t have to do but I’m totally glad he did. Hopefully I can squeeze at least 9 more out of him. I think I got it.IMG_2293


What small things in your life do you appreciate?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Runners Tell All: What is your training routine?

I decided to do something crazy. Something wild. Something insane.
I’m sponsoring this month’s Runners Tell All! I know, cuh-razy, but I figured in honor of my birthday month (no shame in shouting out my own birthday – it’s this Saturday by the way) I’d step a little out of my blogging comfort zone. Life is good when you’re about to be twenty-fine (not a typo), so let’s get started!

Training Routine.
This prompt couldn’t have come at a better time seeing as I just started training for my fall races last week. I mostly took off from running over the summer because I had a non-fractured foot that was healing and wanted to try my hand at weight lifting.
For the past two years I’ve really enjoyed learning to love the run itself and haven’t been crazy interested in getting faster. But then my marathon happened (or didn’t happen) and I know if I would have been faster I would have completed the race – so I’ve decided to start from the bottom up. That 5k time is going down this fall.

Like all of you, I have a busy life - working full-time, being a mother to an incredibly awesome 3 year old and a wife to a very studly 31 year old – so in order to get my workouts in my best option is my lunch hour. It’s not for everyone but I work in Higher Education and have the luxury of free access to the gym. It’s literally a 2 minute walk from my office. My excuses are limited. Le sigh.
Today, I wanted to share with you a few of my training routine tips that help me get in and out of the gym in less than an hour and still looking somewhat presentable.
Tam's Tips
  1. Pack your bag. I (really try to) pack my gym back the night before and put it in my truck – that way the excuse “I don’t have my stuff” won’t technically work. Especially when my mind is telling me I should take a nap in my truck instead. (For the record, lunch hour quickie naps are the best.)

    If you’re able, I would recommend renting a locker so you don’t have to tote a ton of stuff every day. You can keep your essentials in there. A few things in mine are: deodorant, blow dryer (with a cool setting), dry shampoo, and extra hair ties/bobby pins. I also keep out my printed workout sheets as a fall-back plan (see #1) in a little pile that I can pull from if need be.

    Things in my gym bag: clean dry underwear.

    I don’t know about you but I sweat like a chicken in a deep fry competition and to combat that, I need some clean panties. I just can’t get behind butt-sweat. (See what I did there! ha!)

    Other essentials in my bag: gym clothes, tennis shoes, O2 Gold, body wipes, towel, headphones, make-up bag.
    Lies & Truth
  2. Plan your workout. I can’t stress this enough – know exactly what you’re wanting to do when you get to the gym so you don’t waste time wandering around wishing you were eating enchiladas instead. I usually write down my plan of attack on a small piece of paper or put it in the notes section of my phone.

    Also, have a small inkling of a back-up plan in case the equipment you need is full or out-of-order. For me, the first few weeks of the new semester the gym is packed with all the new incoming students wanting to look fly,and I plan accordingly. Treadmills all taken? No worries, I’ll hit up the stair master.

    Since I work so close to my gym, travel time isn’t usually taken into account, but I can generally get a solid 40 minute workout in – with the other 20 minutes spent on changing into and out of my gym clothes. 
  3. Shower or No Shower? Um, can I be real with you guys? I totally don’t take a shower after every workout. Sometimes I’m just not that sweaty to justify wasting 5 minutes rinsing off that could be better spent towards running an extra half mile.

    On those non-shower days, I wipe myself down with a body wipe, apply deodorant, & body spray and BAM, smelling like an artificial rose in no time. On days when I look like this after my workout,
     IMG_4113
    there’s just no way around it despite my best efforts.
  4. Looking Presentable. I keep a blow dryer in my locker that has a cool setting on it (because let’s face it, I ain’t about to blast my body with HOT air after a speed session) and try to wrangle this hair situation I have. Sometimes my hair will have mercy on me and I can go for the beach wave look afterwards and let it dry naturally – most times, it goes in a braid or a bun.
    Mercy

    For make-up, my face usually stays pretty red for about 20 minutes after a workout, so I’ll throw some powder on, fix any smudged eyeliner or mascara and add some lip gloss. Boom. Nailed it. 

I think the best tip I can give you is to keep it simple as possible. The more extras you throw in there, the less time you have to murder that workout.
Oh and I almost forgot to mention this month’s giveaway!
UA top.headband.Beka Beka is super adorable, am I right or am I right?
You can win an Under Armour Tank Top (fitted heat gear, size large) and headband just by following the prompts below!
Now, your turn! Tell us about your training routine by linking up below.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Just Breathe

Lehmann Laughter

If you’re new here, this link-up is every Wednesday (until the 30 weeks are up). It’s based off these two articles – here and here. You are welcome to take the points in any direction you choose, what I go off of is only something to get the ol’ brain ticking. Original post is here.

I hope you’ll join me!

Previous posts: Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 18,19 & 20.


Week 21!


Just Breathe
When you are busy how do you handle yourself?
Do you force yourself to take breaks or do you push through?


Whenever I’m in go-mode, I’m all for pushing through. I don’t want to stop until it’s done and sometimes that can leave me really frustrated. Like, yelling at nothing frustrated. It’s actually pretty embarrassing and has probably only been witnessed by other people a handful of times – at least one of those times at the gym when I simply couldn’t get my body to do what I thought it should. I’m also a crier, so yay for double the embarrassment!


As I’ve grown older I’ve learned that sometimes stepping away from something particularly stressful for even a few moments can help put a new perspective on things. Even if it’s a quick let me close my eyes for 15 minutes while I breathe deeply and try my hardest not to pull my hair out. I think for the most part I have a handle on my frustrations whenever I can see what the cause of them are. More often than I really care to admit (but I will because, uh, blog life, yo) it’s because of something I failed to do. I didn’t wake up 10 minutes earlier because I was being lazy or I should have gotten gas last night when the reminder light came on and I had time to do so.


It sucks major balls to recognize that your frustrations are typically your fault and not someone else’s. Sometimes I just want to blame the world for my problems but the only one who can be the issuer of my own happiness, my own calm, is me. Ugh, self-reflection, am I right folks?


You cow.



Your turn! Tell me how you handle stressful situations!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Easy (chick)Peasy Artichoke Salad

I was going through my pantry trying to find something interesting to add to our dinner and I came across a can of Garbanzo (Chickpea) beans and a can of artichoke hearts – my initial reaction was “put them back on the shelf and grab a box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese” but since I’ve been actively trying to eat better I thought I should hit up Pinterest to see if these two items would even go together.

Lucky for my pantry (and taste buds!) – they do!

This will be my 2nd new recipe for the month (one of my August goals is to hit 5!) I’ll do the same as I did with the first recipe (Spinach Mushroom Chicken Enchiladas) and post the original recipe and then add my own tweaks in red font. ChickPeasy Artichoke Salad

Photo courtesy of my terrible iPhone – maybe one day I’ll make an effort.

Original post is here.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (I actually used 2 tbsp, divided)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed well (they’re also known as Garbanzo beans)
  • 5 to 7 artichoke hearts, drained & sliced lengthwise (I used canned artichoke hearts that were already quartered and I rinsed them)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired (I didn’t have any on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (No lemon juice on hand – substituted with lime juice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (Substituted 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning – probably could have added more)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – I add garlic to nearly everything.

Directions

  1. Heat (1 tbsp) oil in a seasoned wok or cast-iron skillet (I just used a plain ol’ skillet). Sauté garlic for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until golden brown all over. (I was helping Lillie color Barbie while cooking so I think they were actually on for 15 minutes). When done, put in a large mixing bowl and set aside. (My bowl was not large. It was husky and beautiful.)
  2. Add more oil (1 tbsp) to the pan and cook the sliced artichoke hearts until browned (between 10-15 minutes for me). Add them to the bowl of chickpeas.
  3. Toast the almonds in a dry skillet & then grind in a food processor. (I didn’t do this part) Add the almonds to the artichokes and chickpeas. Season the salad with lemon (lime) juice and salt, stir in chopped parsley (or dried seasoning). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition facts from the original post aren’t listed so here is what I got when I plugged it into My Fitness Pal (MFP).

NutritionLabel

I split it up into 4 portions but they’re small portions – this could easily be 1 serving if you were wanting to eat it for like lunch. (The site I got the recipe from actually said the same thing.) I also made meatballs, mashed potatoes & canned peas with this.

Alfred really enjoyed this – he said it was kind of tangy (artichoke hearts) and was something he would like having again in the future. I agreed. Lillie (as usual) insisted she didn’t like it before she even tried it.

In our house I never force her to eat anything she doesn’t like but she does have to try at least one bite. She’s actually really good about it and only sighs in disgust every 2 out of 3 times. I often have her try things multiple times because I’m pretty sure that stubborn bone she gets from her Dad makes her insist she doesn’t like something (even though she does) just to prove to me she was right.

She tried it, said she didn’t like it, so I told her to just leave it on her plate and eat around it. She ate all the chickpeas after I left her alone, so guess her taste buds liked it just fine even if her eyes didn’t.

Any requests/ideas on what to try for my 3rd new recipe of the month? I’m not picky and always open to new things!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Listen to Your Heart

Lehmann Laughter

If you’re new here, this link-up is every Wednesday (until the 30 weeks are up). It’s based off these two articles – here and here. You are welcome to take the points in any direction you choose, what I go off of is only something to get the ol’ brain ticking. Original post is here.

I hope you’ll join me!

Previous posts: Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 18 & 19.


Week 20!


Listen To Your Heart
Do you believe in intuition? If you’re a Christian (in any capacity) do you believe that little voice is God warning you about something? Do you truly listen to your heart when it speaks?


I do believe that little voice, that moment of clarity, is often God talking to us – it’s just up to us if we’re going to listen. I also think that voice is sometimes imitated by Satan and it can be really hard to decipher between the two when you’re battling something within yourself. What seems to work for me is picturing the outcome – am I going to hurt myself or others? If so, will it be worth it in the long haul? Will I be proud of my decision at the end of the day? Will I still be someone my daughter will be proud to call a mother?


Answering the questions truthfully through prayer have helped given me insight into the type of person I want to be. I want to be the person who listens. Not just to people’s words but to their actions and also through mine. Sometimes it’s really hard and all I really think I want to do is go through the action of living, because it seems easier. It’s hard being there for someone when you don’t know how to be there for yourself, how to listen to your self, to your inner voice, to your intuition, to God.


Do what you know in your heart is right and the rest will follow.  


IMG_4390 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spinach Mushroom (Chicken) Enchiladas

Holly posted on Instagram about this #boostyourlifechallenge and it sounded interesting, so on a whim to kick-start my birthday month I decided to join her.

I’ve actually stuck with it each day (so far) and so when Day 5 came (Spinach Creativity), I wanted to not only hit that day’s prompt but also hit one of my goals for August – trying a new recipe.

First thing I did was hit up Pinterest and I quickly found this recipe from Taste of Home. It looked phenomenal and I was pretty sure I had mostly everything already in my pantry at home. I figured what I didn’t have, I could swing. I don’t talk much about cooking on this blog but it’s a small hobby of mine – I really enjoy finding & trying new recipes & even tweaking old recipes. I probably don’t talk about it much because as a blogger, it feels like if you post a recipe you MUST include very fancy, photogenic food materials – and I ain’t interested in all that. The picture below – yeah, not mine. But it’s the one that totally convinced me this recipe was worth trying.

Spinach Mushroom Enchiladas Recipe

I’m going to post the ingredients/directions from the recipe in black and then my substitutions/additions in red. You can check out the regular recipe by going here.

Spinach Mushroom (Chicken!) Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound baby Portobello (bella for me) mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 chicken breast fillets, chopped – it was about 9 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (we love garlic, so I minced 6 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth (I used broth, the only wine in my fridge was something that resembled old grapes I clearly need to throw away)
  • 12 ounces chopped fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (I only had a 10 oz bag)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream ( I only had 8 oz of sour cream)
  • 4 oz Greek Yogurt Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (I didn’t have any)
  • 12 corn tortillas (6 inches), warmed (I only had 8 & they were flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (I didn’t have any)
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Cook chicken breasts. I buy these quick & easy ones for lunch on days (note: they’re HEB brand which is a grocery store only found in Texas) when I’m rushing out the door. Since adding chicken was a last minute addition for me I just threw them in the microwave for the recommended amount of time. But you can cook the chicken however you want – I’d go ahead and get started on it though.
  2. While they’re cooking, chop up your vegetables. (I chopped the spinach by hand) I bought this Ninja Master Prep a couple years ago after seeing how amazing a friend’s was – I love it. Highly recommend. It comes with the little one and I use it all the time.
    QB900
    I also chopped them boobs up when they were done cooking in the Ninja like I was communicating Will Smith/Wild Wild West style.
  3. In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms and onion in butter until tender; add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Set aside half of the mushroom mixture for sauce.
  4. Add wine (or chicken broth) to remaining vegetables; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add spinach and 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt; cook until spinach is wilted and liquid is evaporated. Add chopped chicken and mix. Add water as necessary to keep the vegetables from burning.
  5. In a large saucepan, bring the water, lime juice, chicken bouillon, garlic powder and remaining seasoned salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve bouillon. Stir in the sour cream, yogurt, cilantro and reserved mushroom mixture; heat through.

  6. Place a scant 3 tablespoon spinach mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up and place seam side down in a greased 13 in x 9 in baking dish. Spoon sauce over top; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° F for 14-18 minutes until heated through. I did not use all my spinach mixture in the enchiladas – it was really good all by itself and since I only had 8 tortillas, I just saved it in Tupperware and have been eating it like that all week.

The original nutritional facts: 1 serving is 2 enchiladas at 427 calories, 24 grams of fat, 879 mg sodium, 36 grams carbs, 5 gram fiber, 16 gram protein.

My version nutritional facts (or as close as I could get with MFP): 1 serving is 1 enchilada at 492 calories, 19 grams of fat, 1019 mg sodium, 47 gram carbs, 3 gram fiber, 32 gram protein.

I didn’t take a picture of the final product because I was much more concerned with stuffing my face. Both Alfred & I, not so much Lillie, agreed it should be added to our regular dinner line-up.

Substitution/Addition notes:

  • I’m glad I added chicken to increase the protein and give it a little more substance – maybe more for my husband who is not quite on board with having a meatless dinner. STEAK AND POTATOES FOR LIFE needs to be tattooed on his back.
    I served him two enchiladas but he only ate 1 1/2 citing he was full (we also had steamed broccoli with it). So they are at the very least filling. I had one (along with broccoli) and was satisfied.
  • I wish I would not have used Vanilla flavored Greek Yogurt. I could taste the vanilla in it (Alfred said he could not) and was not exactly a fan. When I make this again I will either use all sour cream OR use plain flavored Greek Yogurt.
  • I’ll get the recommended number of tortillas (I was sad to see the leftovers vanish) – and I won’t use flour ones. Whenever I make enchiladas I typically use corn tortillas since they hold up so much better than flour ones do – they don’t get quite as “gummy”
  • Using chicken broth was fine – but I can definitely see the advantage as far as taste goes with adding some white wine – so hopefully next time I’ll have some to spare and not just an empty bottle from the previous weekend taunting me in the trash can.

So, there you go! My first of five new recipes for August. Let me know if you’ve ever made these (or plan too!) and what you would change about it!