Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday in a nutshell

Last official day of my break before classes and orientations start up... what better way to spend it than shoving food in my face?

First things first -- healthy type things:
♡ Jog with the pooch
♡ Dutch Country Farmer's Market
♡ Awesome catch up with Mama Willi (wish we didn't live so far away)

Then it was on to dinner with Miss M. I've been raving about our neighborhood sushi place, Yuraku, and was really excited we finally found time to go. We got to dinner pretty early, but that definitely worked in our favor because there was a line out the door by the time we left.

Early birds need to unwind a little...

Onto the good stuff!

This little beauty isn't even on the menu: "salmon nachos" — (from the top down) avocado, sashimi salmon, thin apple slice, spicy tuna, tempura rice, honey, nori. It is insanely delicious!

7 color rainbow roll - 5 different fish, crab, and octopus(!) in soybean paper.
Titanic roll - tempura lobster with avocado, crab and cucumber.
Kanikama - crab stick (mmm)


Maybe not the most "logical" choice for dessert, but certainly the most obvious if you're dealing with me. Helllllo, Yogi Castle!

The already lovely evening was topped off with a trip to Sugarloaf cellars and 7/11 for some goodies before some much-needed Arrested Development viewing. Thank you, Netflix!

Looove Fridays!

*PS - Blogger's worst nightmare: my beloved camera has died. Currently using Amwilli's until I find a replacement. Please excuse the 1970s quality of my photos in the meantime :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pulled Chicken a la Crockpot

Once upon a time a shiny new Crockpot met some chicken.

They decided to throw a party and invite some delicious sauces, spices and produce...

The sauces and spices stayed to themselves in the beginning...

While the Crockpot and chicken devised a plan to get them all mixing and mingling...

The onions and red peppers were the easiest to convince.

And everyone knows produce is the life of the party... so the sauce quickly followed.

The shindig lasted for about five hours, and once it was all over, you couldn't tell where one party-goer ended and the other began.

This dish is insanely flavorful! My favorite part is you're basically making the barbecue sauce from scratch so you can control the heat, tang and sweetness. I prefer heat and sweet, so I adapted from elly says opa and Spark Recipes to create my perfect pulled chicken. This was easy to put together, and once it was in the pot, I didn't have to worry about it at all. In fact, I finally watched "The Blind Side" and blubbered like a looney for a good portion of the time dinner was stewing. The only thing I would change is I'd like to find an un-boring vegetable side to accompany this goodness.

Pulled Chicken a la Crockpot (adapted from elly says opa/sparkrecipes)

1.5 lbs. boneless chicken breast (roughly one pack)
1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 jalapeƱo peppers (or whatever peppers you prefer)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 Tbsp. honey
1/2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp Sriracha sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tbsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp Adobo seasoning
1 large onion, thinly sliced in half circles
1 large red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all the ingredients up to Cayenne Pepper in a bowl. Whisk to mix well. Place chicken in the slow cooker, season with Adobo. Cover the chicken in the onions, red pepper, and garlic. Pour the sauce over, making sure to cover chicken completely. Cook on low for 5 hours. Pull apart with a fork, take a second to marvel at your yummy meal, then serve!

What makes it healthier:
♡ Lean boneless chicken breasts
♡ Fewer processed ingredients
♡ No sugar-packed pre-made bbq sauce
♡ 100-calorie sandwich thin instead of a chunky bun

Pulled Chicken a la Crockpot: ✩✩✩✩½
Amwilli-o-meter: 2 helpings (Would have been 2 helpings + lunch, but someone was running a lotta late this morning)

Next up for the slowcooker: soup!

Sharing this post with:


Friday, July 23, 2010

Fitness Round Up

I've avoided the Fitness Round Up like the plague lately because I STILL haven't done P90X. I had ONE workout to complete in order to proudly wave my "Mission: Accomplished" banner, and I still haven't done it.

BUT... I've done a whole host of other activities since then!

Let's list 'em:

The Firm - Jiggle Free Arms: This is a great 30-minute arm workout. The best thing about The Firm is that each workout is infused with cardio, so you're burning fat while strength training. Wonderful!

Crunch - Burn + Firm Pilates: This workout adapts moves from mat and reformer workouts, so that you're on your feet with 3-lb hand weights. It's fantastic, tons of lengthening moves, lots of sweat!

Crunch - Fat Burning Dance Party: Uploaded this workout on my Netflix Instant Queue and so glad I did. I love challenging myself with dance DVDs— really tests coordination. This is separated into Latin, Hip Hop, and Retro dance parties. Good time!

Tennis w/ Amwilli: Fact— This is the most amazing full-body workout of all time. Need to get my racket restrung!

Run, Run, Runnnn: The treadmill and I have become good friends. My goal has been to log at least 8 miles a week, but this week and last I logged 12 mi a piece. Woo!

So yeah, these last couple of weeks have been busy and active (just how I like 'em)!

I'd like to thank Road Runner Sports for measuring and scanning my feet, making me jog on a treadmill and outfitting me with the *perfect* pair of running shoes and insoles. Super simple equation: Happy feet = easier workout. If you're in the market for new shoes, I highly recommend Road Runner— Amwilli (this family's avid runner) has been going for years, and now I'm a proud convert.

I guess I can't technically say "Mission: Accomplished," but I don't think I've done too shabby. I'll take it!

I hope everyone is meeting their fitness goals this week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Before and After: Upgrade Edition


What 2 ½ years of Efwilli ownership will get you. Why yes, that IS a piece of tape holding my trackball on. Oy.

What's that cell phone provider? You're giving away free Blackberry Curves? I'm so on it.

Fresh new start.

It's nice to finally have something that works as it's supposed to!

But we all know how it'll end up ::lowers head in shame::

Monday, July 19, 2010

Healthy Mac n' Cheese?

Can it be? Or is this just wishful thinking?

Besides, isn't it the point of mac n' cheese to be as decadently creamy and cheesy as possible?

I headed over to Bethenny's site (where else?) to get to the bottom of this— her Zesty, Cheesy Mac and Cheese intrigued me, so I gave it a shot.

Her original ingredients were slightly healthier than mine, but I wasn't going to purchase a whole carton of soy milk (which Amwilli doesn't drink), or a whole packet of monterey jack for only 2 tablespoons.

Her motto is always "work with what you have," and here's what I had on hand, not too bad, huh?:

1 cup milk over medium heat

1 cup shredded parm

In you go...

Now for the sharp cheddar...

Added some dry mustard, worcestershire, salt, pepper, then ohhh, unusual ingredient time... squash! Hah, take that macaroni— I infused you with a full serving of vegetables!

It looked like pretty normal cheese sauce. At this point I have to admit that I was a little afraid to taste.

All the while the whole wheat shells were boiling, so once they were al dente, I mixed them with the zesty cheese sauce, coated, and spooned into a casserole dish, topped with panko bread crumbs and more cheese. (Funny story about that dish— we received it from the bank when we opened our joint checking account because we mentioned we'd just gotten married. Talk about customer service!)

In the oven for a little over 20 minutes, then TA DA!

So... the Zesty, Cheesy Mac and Cheese was just that, zesty and oh-so-cheesy! The zestiness was from the chili powder the recipe called for. I just hit it with some Sriracha sauce, which is my go-to in chili situations.

This recipe is a keeper, but I would change a few things on my end. I'd use frozen butternut squash as the recipe listed (I couldn't find any), I think it would have made the texture slightly more creamy. I also would have cooked the shells longer, and kept the mac in until the top was golden brown— which is what I do for my normal gooey, super decadent mac n' cheese (post coming later this month). Lastly, I would leave out the bread crumbs... they're unnecessary— I think you get just the right amount of texture from the whole grain pasta.

This mac n' cheese was a wonderful side dish for our Dutch Market pulled pork sandwiches, and I can't wait to try it again with a few tweaks!

What makes it healthier:
♡ Whole grain pasta
♡ Reduced fat cheese
♡ SQUASH! (one full serving of veggies)
♡ Reduced fat or soy milk

Zesty, Cheesy Mac and Cheese: ✩✩✩ ½
*Amwilli-o-meter: 2 helpings

*I've introduced a new scale, although it may be flawed. My husband really enjoys food— and he doesn't like hurting my feelings, so he'll eat pretty much whatever I put in front of him. Hahah!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ode to the Lancaster County Dutch Market

A stop off at the Dutch Market is usually on the Friday afternoon to-do list, and when we're lucky we get to take multiple trips during the weekend— which makes for very happy Willi bellies.

If you live within a few hours traveling distance of Lancaster County, PA, you probably have one of these little treasures not too far from you. The Dutch farmers travel down and set up shop Thursday-Saturday... then they're gone as quickly as they came.

I pulled in a pretty good haul for the weekend...

Pumpkin swirl cake with cream cheese frosting. I wish I could have shown the full swirly goodness, but the other half of this deliciousness was in my belly before I realized what was going on. It's perfection.

Amwilli has early mornings all weekend for school and baseball-related events, so he requested the sausage and cooper cheese stuffed pretzels for quick breakfasts. The pretzel stand is open so you can see all the pretzels and fixins' being made from scratch, including the sausage!

Next up, Saturday's dinner. Now, I don't really make a lot of sense when it comes to dinner-making. When I have the time (weekend), I don't actually like cooking. See? Zero sense. Anyhoo, I picked up some tasty whole wheat potato rolls— these are so buttery and luscious. I figured I could throw together a turkey burger or something quick.

Then I passed the deli, saw the pulled pork, and knew it was meant to be. It may not look very appetizing here, but it's ridiculously good. I'll whip up some homemade mac n cheese so as not to feel like such a lazy bum (post to follow, of course).

OK, dessert. I should have snapped a pic pre-scooping into this sad little plastic container... but apparently my stomach works a little faster than my brain (not surprising). It's chocolate eclair pudding, which is usually some variation of vanilla pudding folded with whipped cream, with a graham cracker and chocolate shell across the top. Very eclair-like, minus the heaviness and about a bajillion calories.

This looks like mush, but you get the idea.

Last up, and sans photo, was deli meat— roast beef and roast turkey to be exact. Far less expensive and far more flavorful than the grocery store.

All in all a successful trip... hoping for peaches and some other fruit next week. Grilled peaches are mayjah, and I have *not* had them yet this summer. This must be remedied.

Get to your nearest market— google "Dutch markets" and your area. You won't be disappointed... unless of course you try to go Sunday-Wednesday :)

Happy weekend, everyone!