Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Operation Veggie...

One of tonight's many goals was to use our veggies up! I had peppers, tomatoes, green squash, and patty pan squash that needed to be used soon. So I went the mexican direction and created Veggie Enchiladas.

I started by cutting up all the veggies adding onion, garlic, and black beans to the mix. Then I sauteed all the items on the stove until they had cooked down flavoring with taco seasoning, cayenne, and jalepanos. Next I filled three whole wheat tortillas, rolled them and placed them side by side in a baking dish. I topped with the remaining mixture and a little cheese. I baked at 375* for about 20 minutes until the cheese was melty.

Dinner was served up with a side of gaucamole and blue chips that Matt prepared at the last minute. I topped my serving with greek yogurt. (Don't worry it isn't sour cream!)

It was very filling and we even had enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I love having leftovers because it makes lunches easier.

Other kitchen duties tonight included chopping, mixing, and baking. Unfortunately I'm not ready to give you details on all that just yet, but I did do some experimenting with Vegan cake and frostings which I found pretty interesting. So far the taste is two thumbs up.

Well that's all for tonight, I must clean up my very big kitchen mess.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hubby Cooks...

In a change of roles this week Matt has been taking care of dinner the last two nights, and I must say he is doing so good that maybe it should be a permanent change??? I'm joking because while it sounds like a nice break, I'd miss the kitchen too much.

Last night were both exhausted from a long weekend and I had some work to do before I could rest, so Matt took care of dinner. He asked me what I wanted, my response was whatever you come up with. Next thing I know I'm presented with this yummy goodness.

Flatbread pizza with fresh cherry tomatoes, olives, onions, and feta.

Then tonight after a nice run with Sabrina, we came back home to take care of business around the house. My job was the laundry and blogging (yes it is a job!), while he set to work in the kitchen on food. First up was a Spinach, Fruit & Protein Shake, it takes like a milkshake but it's load with goodness. Then he set to work on dinner, all I knew was it would involve Tilapia and Kale. Out came this amazing dish...

Lightly breaded tilapia topped with avocado, tomato, corn, and onion salsa paired with baked kale chips. This week we picked up whole kale leaves and they were so tasty, if you haven't had them it is a must!

Now go eat good, healthy food!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


It's been a very busy and long weekend.

We had a yard sale, hung out with friends, made a trip to the mall, baked s'mores cupcakes, went to a bachelorette party (just me), cleaned the back porch, prepared donations for the salvation army, went grocery shopping, and then enjoyed a nice meal on a restaurant patio to cap off a productive weekend.

As you might guess there were long nights and early mornings so I'm a bit tired- so I'll leave you with a picture of my cupcake creations. The s'mores cupcakes were created using Martha Stewart's recipe for chocolate graham cracker cupcakes with toasted marshmallow.

Though the cupcakes look awesome with just the toasted marshmallow (lovin' the kitchen torch) I took it a step further. I was told the theme of the bachelorette party was a luau, so I used the toasted marshmallow as the 'sand'. Other decoration include hibiscus flowers, homemade coconut bras, little umbrellas, and little palm trees. It was a very successful cupcake adventure!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Italian Squash...

I knew tonight was going to be spent preparing for our upcoming yard sale, so I planned ahead and prepped dinner before Matt got home. Earlier today I was trying to think about what I could make that would be tasty, healthy, and fresh. I decided to base the meal around the yellow and green squash I had on hand. And I decided I'd invent an Italian Squash Casserole.

Italian Squash Casserole
1/2 purple onion
2 cloves of garlic (we love garlic)
1/2 pound of ground turkey
1 yellow squash
1 green squash
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon oregano
Black Pepper
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (no added sugar!!!)

Start by chopping the onion and garlic then saute in a skillet with a little olive oil. Next add the ground turkey and cook through. Chop the squash in larger chunks then add to skillet along with the basil, oregano and black pepper. Allow the mixture to cook through until the squash is tender.

Add the tomato sauce and mix.

You can enjoy it at this point, but I took it a step further. I placed it in a oven safe dish, then when we were ready to eat topped it with homemade bread crumbs and a little Parmesan cheese. It was baked at 375* for 15 minutes, then broiled on high for 5 minutes.

Does this is not look yummy????

Matt loved it and was surprised to find meat in our meal tonight, guess I've been cooking too much vegetarian??? I think not, we actually have a pretty good balance.

Alright off to get some sleep- tomorrow is going to be a long day with work, final yard sale prep, and I'm also working on some cupcakes for a bachelorette party.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm in the mood...

...for some protein after that workout! Matt and I had the opportunity to work with one of the new trainers at the gym today. He took us through a 60 minute workout that was intense! The first time I looked at the clock I was covered in sweat and feeling it- then I realized only 15 minutes had passed. We made it through somehow, but definitely know that we have plenty of room for improvement. It felt good and I'm sure we will be feeling it tomorrow.

So to fill the protein needs caused by our intense workout I made something with a little Mexican kick. Tonight's meal came together in an odd way, and it all started with a yellow squash. After that I just kept grabbing random items until it looked like it might turn into something tasty.

Here's what I gathered:
1 yellow squash
1 purple onion
1 pepper
1 can black beans (protein!)
1 small can green chilies
1 cup quinoa (protein!)
2 spicy black bean burgers (protein!)
taco seasonings

I cooked the 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water until all the water had been absorbed. Meanwhile in large skillet I sauteed the chopped squash, onion, and pepper. After the veggies were cooked down I added one can of rinsed black beans, green chilies, and taco seasonings.

At this point your quinoa should be done, so add it to you veggies. Then add taco seasoning to your liking, we like it spicy so we added extra cayenne pepper. Then add in the cooked and chopped spicy black bean burgers. (Note: feel free to leave them out and substitute chicken or any other meat you'd like.)

Mix it all together and then top it as you like. Our toppings included greek yogurt, sliced olives, grape tomatoes, and some crumbs from tortilla chips for a little crunch.

Does that look yummy or what? It was very tasty and it was super filling. In total the above recipe made four servings, so we also have lunch tomorrow!

Maybe something Italian tomorrow??? Or maybe I'll be inspired by something else during the day!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Tonight's main ingredient was eggplant. I picked it up this weekend at the Farmer's Market for $1, so not only is tonight's meal veggie based but it is also cost effective.

I grilled the sliced eggplant with a little olive oil and pepper in the grill pan. It was pretty quick and I did it ahead of time and let it rest until we were ready to prepare dinner.

When Matt got home from work we decided we needed to head for a run, so we hit the local streets for just over 2 miles. It was a good work out and only one inconsiderate driver tried to hit us. Some people just don't have any respect for runners with the right of way.

After returning from a good run I chopped the eggplant and added some olive tapenade, then put it on a flatbread. It was topped with slices of provolone cheese, then baked to perfection. I baked it at 375* for 15 minutes then broiled it until brown.

Now I must go figure out how to get information off the Garmin. I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New obsession...

Last week we picked up a bag of kale. It's a veggie from the cabbage family that has powerful antioxidant properties and it is even is considered to be anti-inflammatory. It is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. And most importantly it tastes pretty good!

Tonight after the gym, I prepared a quick dinner of roasted kale and muffulettas.

To prepare the kale I simply tossed the Kale with some garlic scape olive oil and some fresh ground pepper.

Then I baked it at 375* for about 15 minutes until crispy. It's really good and you need to try it.

Tonight's main course was Matt's favorite sandwich, a muffuletta. The first time he tried it he was in New Orleans while helping with Katrina relief and ever since he has been obsessed. Normally he'll get it when we go to one of our favorite local deli's, but I have now been able to successfully recreate it at home. (And it just might taste better!)

The "muff" made on a wheat roll with salami, ham, provolone, and olive tapenade. I think the mix of olives really gives the sandwich it's kick. And the cool sandwich knife we got for a shower gift is awesome! And it's purple- so much fun!

I'm thinking either Italian or Mexican tomorrow- any thoughts on what you guys want to see?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crazy Busy Week...

Sorry that it has been a week since I gave you an update on life in Buffalo, but it's been busy and at 10pm I'd rather get sleep than try to blog. Sorry, but this girl needs her 8 hours when she can get it.

Our week was rather normal- work, gym, and household jobs. I won't bore you with the monotonous details, I'm sure you can imagine the fun.

Then came Friday, Saturday, and Sunday...which meant Matt and I were headed our separate ways for the weekend. Matt headed westward to Ohio with his friend Matt to visit their friend Chris for a boys weekend that included kayaking and other fun.

I on the other hand headed eastward to Liverpool for a quieter weekend ending with a 5K trail race with Katie. Friday evening and Saturday was spent at my mom's house playing with my niece and nephew (so cute and fun), shopping at the farmers market, and picking out new running shoes. Nothing too crazy, I decided not to run around town this time trying to visit everyone. I feel bad, but at the same time I'm only one person and I needed to just do less this time around.

A little over a month ago Katie asked me to join her for a 5K trail run at Beaver Lake Nature Center. Sunday morning we got there early to check in and get our race numbers. Then we walked around looking for the start line, and boy was it hard to find! After much walking around we eventually found it painted in the grass (I never thought to look there).

Before the race Katie had said she was planning to run for her best time, so we started together- but she was quick out the gate thanks to her training over the last few months. This run was much different than any either of us had ever run because it was on trails. There was "high" grass, dirt, mulch, boardwalks, and some steep dirt hills that we came across throughout the 3.1 miles.

Katie came in at 32:30, which was awesome!

I came in at 38:52, which was good.

I was hoping to come in closer to 36, but considering my lack of running lately and my inability to pick up my feet (I tripped twice!) I'm satisfied overall. I had a good first mile, but the last two were a bit harder. I think I might be going out too fast! I need to work on it before Warrior Dash...

After crossing the finish line I had lots of water and a banana. Then Katie and I decided to split a Panera Cinnamon bagel- they are such tasty bagels, but loaded with calories so it was a special treat.

After we were cooled off, we decided we needed some protein so we headed over to IHOP. I know at first it doesn't sound like the healthy option, but they have a new healthy menu that gives you nutrition details and substitutes a side of fruit instead of the toast and hash browns.

I had an omelet with spinach, tomato, and mushrooms- Yum!

After getting breakfast, I headed home for a shower. I can't believe how dirty the trails are! I think I like running on pavement much better. Later in the afternoon I joined the family for some lunch, then I drove a very busy thruway back to Buffalo.

Well, off to wait for the husband to get home- he must have been having lots of fun....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What's cookin'?

This weekend was the official 'opening' of our new kitchen! I am still working on filling all the shelves and drawers, but it is definitely coming together. There will be an upcoming post of the full remodel, and maybe even a video. In the mean time if you want to see some pretty pictures check out Matt's post- pretty impressive stuff!

To 'open' the kitchen we made:

Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
Vegetarian Chili
Dried Cilantro
Angela's Maple Peanut Butter, Banana & Jam Pancake Stack

Saturday we attended an international beer party, so I decided it was a great opportunity to try out Big City, Little Kitchen's recipe for Beer Cupcakes! I made a few changes to the recipe by substituting Greek yogurt for the sour cream and using Young's Double Chocolate Stout instead of the suggested Guinness.

Topped with beer flavored cream cheese frosting! Beer cakes are quite good, I'd definitely recommend them. I'm also looking forward to trying them in the future with other beers, like the raspberry organic beer we taste tested during the party.

Sunday was a busy day in the kitchen too! I started the morning by chopping up some fresh veggies that we picked on Saturday morning from the farmer's market. The chopped veggies were put in the crock pot to create a yummy vegetarian chili for this weeks lunches. Don't you want some chili?

This afternoon Matt used some fresh cilantro and farm fresh yellow cherry tomatoes to create a yummy guacamole to snack on between lunch and dinner.

We put the leftover cilantro into the dehydrator to create our own dried herbs:

Then after working on more of the kitchen and trying to get the house a little more put together we decided to make breakfast for dinner. Inspired by the fresh blueberries we picked up at the farmer's market, we decided to try out Angela's Angela's Maple Peanut Butter, Banana & Jam Pancake Stack.

I should start by telling you that the pictures do not do these pancakes justice, they are simply amazing! I think Matt said "Oh my" about twenty times- no joke. I highly suggest you go to Angela's site, jot down the recipe, and try it for your next meal! Do this now, you will not be disappointed.

After all the cooking we cleaned up the kitchen, loaded the DISHWASHER (!!!!), and are now taking care of a few other things that need to get done before the work week starts.

Have a great Monday everyone!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Running Buddy...

I have a new running buddy!

A Garmin Forerunner 405! I've had my eye on a Garmin Forerunner since I started Half-Marathon Training. I never could justify spending the money on it, but then I found it on sale! I decided to combine all the generous birthday gifts received from family into one very awesome present! Since I got almost 25% off, I decided to go for it.

I shall call her Smarty Pants....

Little babies...

Nope- not my babies (keep holding your breath on that one!)

Anyways a few months ago we noticed a bird building a nest under our front entry awning. It turns out it was a mommy bird that layed four eggs, and now we have baby birds. Aren't they cute?

Obviously they are little babies so they don't do much, but we know when their mommy comes with food because they start chirping like crazy. We only notice because we have the window and front door up, but otherwise it really is no bother having them move in.

And on Sunday night Matt noticed what he thought was a male bird trying to come around, which mama didn't like. Just imagine what little birdies say to each other as they chirp.

What do you think birds say?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Exciting News!!

I've been asked to do a review CSN Stores, which means there are 200+ shops to choose from. These shops have some great stuff too! Maybe I could use a dutch oven from, an overhead light from, or maybe I'll treat myself to some new shoes from Really if you can think of it, they have it!

There are so many choices, how is a girl to decide? Well, actually I did decide! I'm going to keep to keep it to myself for now though. You'll find out soon enough. Sorry to tease you, but it's more fun this way!

Go check them out, you'll probably find that item you've been wanting at a great price!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Are we crazy????

We have made a decision- and it's definitely 'outside the box.' A few weeks ago while reading comments on Caitlin's blog Healthy Tipping Point, when I came across one that mentioned an event called Warrior Dash. I was interested so I immediately typed 'Warrior Dash' into the search bar.

The explanation of the event is as follows:

"Welcome to America’s most insane race. Warrior Dash lands in the Northeast for the first time in 2010 where 13 obstacles from hell await this 3.23 mile course. Are you a warrior? "

The 13 obstacles include:
1. Knee High Hell- speed step through tires
2. Warrior Wall- climb over
3. Tunnels of Terror- burrow through
4. Black Forest- uncharted trek
5. Slithering Swamp- unknown murky waters
6. Walk the Plank- traverse the gully on wooden planks
7. Rip Van Winkle Way- cross the bridge without getting weary
8. Rio Run- dash down the river
9. Cargo Climb- up and over
10. Flagstone Stack- scale the wall
11. Catskill Skid- slosh down the slippery slope
12. Warrior Roast- leap over the warrior fires
13. Muddy Mayhem- scramble through mud under barbed wire


Now when I first found out about this event I mentioned it to Matt, and he took an interest too. Sabrina was intrigued too. After much debate Sabrina finally laid down the law on July 26th and said, "Let's make a decision- deadline July 30th!" Needless to say that was the push we all needed- by the end of that very day we were all signed up for this insane event!!!

After signing up we mentioned it to few other people, and got two more warriors to add to our "clan".

Our CLAN is made up of: Matt, Katie, Sabrina, Jill (Sabrina's friend), and myself. Needless to say Matt is one very lucky guy! He's going to run around Windham Mountain, through the mud, and over the obstacles with four crazy women. This should be very fun and interesting!

These are some images I found on google that show the fun to come:

It's going to be nuts and we need to start training. We started by hitting the gym tonight and doing some interval training.

Any other crazy takers out there?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tourists & Tiling....

We have had a very fun and productive weekend here in Buffalo! Not only has the kitchen made leaps and bounds toward completion, we also had family visit and we were able to spend a day as tourists.

Friday evening Matt made some major progress in the kitchen by applying the tile back splash. We were originally going to use a new product, SimpleMat, which allows you to hang the tile and grout in the same day. However we ended up going the traditional route of using Thin-set Mortar because the product received mixed reviews- and we don't have $$$$ to do this twice.

Here's a photo montage of the project:

Cabinets & Counters covered in plastic.

Tile unpacked.

Thin-Set mixed.

Rail installed to cap the tiles.

Ready for tiling.

Matt applying thin-set, then tiles.

More installation.

After an hour or so it looked like this, requiring 24-hours dry time.

Saturday morning my mom, step-dad, brother, and friend came to Buffalo to celebrate my birthday with me! We decided to go the tourist route and check out Niagara Falls. I've been to Niagara Falls several times over the years, but I've never really taken part in the attrations. We decided to go on the Maid of the Mist and get a view of the falls from the bottom- which I must say was quite amazing! The sheer power of the water was thrilling to see from the bottom, and at one point it felt like it was raining when it really was not. I snapped a few pictures while on the boat, but kept putting my camera under my poncho periodically.

After my family left, Matt and I passed out. For some reason we were exhausted. We ended up napping from about 4pm until 8pm or so. I can't believe we slept that long, but the good thing was that after waking up we had the energy to finish up our tiling job. This time I help out by applying the grout, while Matt took care of the sponge action and buffing two hours later.

Pushing the grout in.

Wiping off the excess 20 minutes later.

Looking good after a final buffing.
Absolutely beautiful...

Matt is still busily working on the kitchen today, but you'll get an update on that very soon! I must go now and feed the husband because he is working really hard.

Happy Birthday wishes to Kathy (my MIL)!!!!!