Home before 8pm

I got home a little after 5pm tonight and almost didn’t know what to do with myself…

 

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Except I knew exactly what I wanted to do!   I must admit even the neighbors were confused to see me home so early as I hopped on my bike and headed for the forest preserve path.  Note: this is a bad sign that your work/life balance is off!

 

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The trail was bustling with bikers.  I saw at least 10 in my first 3 minutes and there were certainly WAY more people out biking than walking or running.  It was exciting for me to be on the trail with my peeps (as opposed to first thing in the morning), and of course, I was thrilled to get in another outdoor bike ride.

 

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The main goal of my ride was to enjoy being outside with a secondary goal of working some lactic acid out of my post-race legs.

 

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It was incredible to see the lush green grass and the trees and flowers beginning to bloom.  I wasn’t sure how much of the path was still flooded and was bummed to see this section still covered.  I debated turning around, but in the end slowly forged ahead.

 

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It was a little deeper than I expected, but nothing my hybrid couldn’t handle.  While riding, I made a mental note to make an appointment to take in my road bike for new tires.

 

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Back home, I have a quiet evening ahead of me.  Although it is stunning outside (74 degrees and sunny), the BOY is currently taking a final, so he was not available to grill me up some dinner.  I had to resort to my trusty oven.

 

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I was able to make a simple and satisfying dinner that was hands off enough for me to check some emails and make some phone calls.  I had a sweet potato too, but I messed up my timing, so I ate that when I finished my fish.

 

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Check out tomorrow’s lunch leftovers (there’s fish under there too)!

 

 

Easy Week Night Dinner Option…

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place precut broccoli on pan and drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle garlic powder and sea salt.

3. Scrub sweet potato and pierce with a knife.  Place sweet potato in the oven first.

4. Place broccoli in the oven about 10 minutes later.

5. Take two tilapia fillets and place them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the fillets and sprinkle with seasoning (I prefer Cavender’s Greek seasoning).

6. Bake your fish for about 15 minutes, your broccoli for 35 minutes, and your potato for 40 minutes*.

*All times are approximates

 

Dinner is served!

 

My go to fish is salmon, but this fresh tilapia was a nice change…it got me thinking about how amazing a pistachio or pecan crusted tilapia would be…maybe next time!

 

 

What do you like to do when you get home early during the week?

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms {Revisited}

First up, a ‘I’m sick of being sick’ update…

I saw the doctor today and am beginning round II of antibiotics tonight.  This one is a super big pill and the gold standard in sinus infections, so I am ever hopeful!  It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve gone for a run, and I am in need of some activity.  It appears that the weather will be warming up next week (40 degrees), so I’m hoping to have some exercise posts to share.  Although the doctor suggested not heading out for a run just yet.  Thanks to everyone for your warm wishes…I really appreciate it!

 

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Even though I haven’t worked out in 2 weeks (other than one yoga class), I have had plenty of food to share.  As is our NYE tradition, the BOY and I spent the night working together in the kitchen to create a an incredible dinner!

 

What was on this year’s menu?

 

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Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Crab Legs

Lobster Tail

Roasted Broccoli

Grandma’s Brownies

 

The stuffed mushroom recipe comes from Real Simple magazine.  The first time I made it a few years back, I was amazed that such a decadent tasting recipe could come out of my kitchen.  Since then, it has become a New Year’s Eve tradition.

 

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Last year, I used a few large mushrooms, but this year I went back to the original recipe.

 

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I like to add a little extra garlic and parmesan to my mushrooms which enhances the flavors and it makes it difficult to stop eating this mouth watering appetizer.

 

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And any leftovers heat up nicely!

 

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If you’re looking for an easy appetizer for a weeknight meal or to impress your friends at a dinner party, save this recipe for your files!

 

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With the oven hot, we also roasted up some broccoli with olive oil and sea salt

 

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And that sat down to enjoy this special meal!

 

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I definitely won’t be waiting until next year to make these mushrooms again!

 

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Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted From Real Simple November 2010

 

Ingredients

24 medium mushrooms (about 1 1⁄2 pounds total)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 5-ounce package baby spinach, chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan, grated (2 ounces)

 

Directions

Heat oven to 375° F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms; finely chop the stems and reserve. Coat a baking sheet with oil. Bake the mushroom caps, stem-side down, until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped mushroom stems and cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes more.

In a bowl, combine the spinach mixture with the bread crumbs and cheese. Spoon into the mushroom caps and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Store for 1-2 days in an airtight container and reheat in the microwave.

Pasta for Dinner

You know what this means…

 

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Tomorrow is race day!

 

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Rewind to Thursday…I was able to get in another run in my new shoes before work.

 

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They are super comfortable, and I am excited to take them out for the 10 miler tomorrow.  I am just hoping that it doesn’t rain!

 

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After my run, I packed up the Chocolate Covered Cake Batter Popcorn to bring to work.  It was WAY TOO addicting to keep around the house!  One thing that I learned is that you have to wait for everything to cool before packaging or you will end up with soggy popcorn.  It still tastes great, but you lose that popcorn crunch!

 

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The popcorn was delicious, but I needed something healthier to fuel my race tomorrow.

I was craving my typical pre-race pasta with olive oil.  I picked up some veggies at Costco on my way home from work, and the BOY threw them on the grill with some shrimp.

 

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He used our new Herbs de Provence olive oil on the veggies which was fantastic!

 

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I tossed in some grilled shrimp…

 

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And whole wheat pasta

 

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I drizzled on a little olive oil and a sprinkle of aged parmesan cheese.

 

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Dinner was incredible!  Even the BOY was raving about how good it was (he had the same thing, but with regular pasta).  He did such an amazing job seasoning the veggies and the Herbs de Provence is our new favorite olive oil.  If pasta always tasted this good, I would make it more often!

 

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Now that I am loaded up with carbs, I am off to bed early.  The race starts at 7AM, so we will be up before the sun!

Wish me luck!  Not that I need it…tomorrow’s race is ALL ABOUT FUN!

 

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Soupy Saturday

As everyone knows, I love soup in this cold, wet weather. I don’t usually make cream based soups (they are not my favorite and they are not as healthy) but I know the BOY loves Broccoli Cheddar soup.  Historically, Broccoli Cheddar is not the healthiest soup option, so I was surprised to find this recipe in my new Points Plus Weight Watchers Recipe Book.  Although the BOY claims to check in on my blog, he actually doesn’t, so I figured I could serve this to him without sharing that it was a healthy recipe.  I used frozen steamed broccoli for ease and the recipe was simple to follow.  Please excuse my pictures…I had trouble with lighting in this gloomy weather.

I started sautéing 1 onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more.

Add low sodium chicken broth, water, and sliced potato.  Bring to a boil.

During this time, I microwaved 2 bags of broccoli.  Add broccoli and return to a boil.

Using a slotted spoon, remove some broccoli mixture and set aside.  You’re probably not surprised to find that I used my immersion blender to mash-up the rest of my soup.  It turned into a big bowl of green and I was getting worried as to where the Cheddar would fit in and whether the BOY would try a green-colored ‘cheese’ soup.

I returned the broccoli to the bigger mixture and added salt, pepper, and half and half.

I added the ½ cup of 2% sharp Cheddar to the mix.  I like that this soup showcases the broccoli instead of the cheese.  I also like that you can add more cheese to the top as needed which will add more cheesy taste with less cheesy calories.  The BOY walked in just as I was finishing up.  He said that the soup looked and smelled great.  We’ll see what he says when he tastes it!

 

 

Broccoli-Potato Soup with Sharp Cheddar

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small baking potato, peeled and chopped

1 (14.5 oz) can reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

1 (1 pound) bunch broccoli, cut into 2-inch floret and stems sliced

1/4 cup fat-free half and half

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

 

Directions

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds.  Add potato, broth, and water; bring to boil.  Add broccoli; return to boil.

2. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 5 minutes.  Remove 1/2 cup broccoli florets with slotted spoon; set aside.  Simmer until potato is tender, about 5 minutes longer.

3.  Pour soup, in batches, into blender and puree.  Return soup to saucepan and reserved broccoli florets, half-and-half, salt, and pepper.  Cook over low heat until hot, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; add Cheddar, stirring until melted.

 

Nutrition for 1 generous cup (321 g): 3 points plus value

Calories: 129

Fat: 3 g

Sodium: 303 mg

Carbs: 18 g

Fiber: 3 g

Protein: 9 g