Jailbreak & Skinny Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

I don’t know about you, but I am really struggling with getting back into the swing after my awesome best first married Christmas vacation!!! Today particularly was not looking too bright since it’s the first real full week back at work. You’ll never believe how I made the best of it. Actually, you will because you read my blog.

To add insult to injury, I didn’t get to go home for lunch today because Kevin had a meeting over lunch. Boo. But then…. a plan formed in my mind to jailbreak out of that place and get some exercise in!

And the weather cooperated!! I power walked/jogged it in half work/half workout attire. I can’t quite bring myself to be like the real business power walkers who wear running shoes with their regular outfit. I did a quick change into yoga pants!

I picked up the little rascal along the way.

My lunchtime quickie workout: 2.67 miles power walked/jogged + 12 flights of stairs.

I was okay until I hit the stairs. Those left me a little sweaty!! Of course, I had to run into my boss’s boss in the break room right after I changed into my work clothes. He was trying to make small talk with me and my face was just sweating profusely. I know it had to have looked like I was afraid to make eye contact, but I was just trying to angle my sweaty face away from him!! And I am just so bad at small talk anyways. Why talk when you could both just stand there and wait for the microwaves to beep? Haha.

Gym workout: 4.31 miles @ 9:31 pace while watching Jeopardy! (the cute Dan won again!!) and 1.69 miles @ 7:29 pace. I ate a tiny little piece of toast before the gym. That was a mistake. I thought the blandest of foods wouldn’t bother my stomach. Wrong. I need to eat at least an hour before the gym.

Dinner was repeat!

Shepherd’s Pie from Clean Eating magazine

I think it tasted more delicious because I prepared the whole thing last night, and all I had to do tonight after the gym was stick in the oven. That was awesome.

Just so you can see all the layers. This time I didn’t have any green beans, but I just used all the vegetables in the crisper.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake is one of those desserts you can generally make from what you have in your pantry! Of course, I had to try to make a lighter version… in ramekins. Hello, portion control!

I even had maraschino cherries leftover from the White Chocolate Cherry Almond  Cookies!

Skinny Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes (adapted from Eat Yourself Skinny)

1 egg
1/4 cup skim milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted (I used Melt)
Dash of vanilla
1/2 cup flour
Your choice of sweetener (I used agave nectar)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 can of crushed pineapple
Pinch of salt
**Confectioners’ sugar and cherries optional as garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush cupcake pan with butter and sprinkle brown sugar in the bottom of each cup along with a bit of crushed pineapple.  Whisk egg, buttermilk, melted butter and a dash of vanilla in a bowl.  Stir in flour, sweetener, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt.  Divide mixture into each of the cups.  Bake for 20 minutes and let cool.  Unmold the mini cakes and top with additional pineapple, cherries and a bit of confectioners’ sugar.  Enjoy!

Do you ever squeeze in workouts over lunch? I would’ve been happier full out running because the weather was so glorious, but I was trying to keep my sweating under control. I saw a LOT of walkers in the park.

What food have you found that doesn’t bother your stomach before exercise? I really try to plan ahead, I really do. But what’s a girl to do if she is STARVING and about to hit the gym for an hour +?

A bonus: What Friends episode does the shepherd’s pie remind you of?

It tastes like feet!

 

 

 

The Endless Uphill + Blackberries & Cream Mini Desserts

My abs were tingly today after yesterday’s Sports Training class! I love to feel it the next day, but tomorrow morning is my meeting with the gym’s personal trainer. I want to be fresh as a daisy so I don’t look like a slacker so I decided I should take it easy on today’s workout.

That all went out the window when I read this article: How Real Runners Train on Treadmills. I wanted to do the Kara Goucher workout featured, but I didn’t have time for 6 miles. So I went ahead and selected the Endless Uphill for today’s fun & games!

I somehow managed to convince Kevin James that I needed another item of pink Nike apparel. I loved this top, but after my workout the shoulder band things were kind of rubbing me the wrong way. I hope that doesn’t continue.

Back to today’s workout: 3.40 miles in 30 minutes @ 4.0 incline – 8:49 pace. That was tough!! Now I’m afraid I’m going to be really sore tomorrow!! I thought this was fascinating:

Sorry, but this workout isn’t only for those prepping for grinds like Mount Washington. Kenyan Moses Tanui included a 22K constant climb during his training for his two Boston Marathon wins. By swapping some speed for incline, you increase the number and type of muscle fibers recruited and, therefore, improve more over the same effort on the flat.

Dinner tonight was boring spaghetti. Kevin James loves the boring meals the most. I thought we had agreed on this sweet potato gnocchi recipe I found (will appear later – I’m sure!), but when I picked up a sweet potato in Sooper’s, Kevin about had a heart attack. Ahhh.. miscommunication. I had offered spaghetti as a totally flippant suggestion since I never really carry through on making the boring three: pizza, tacos, and spaghetti. I do love them. They’re just not that fun to cook. Of course, it tasted delicious. I made it with lean turkey and a bunch of fresh spinach! I can’t even tell you how much spinach we have been going through lately ever since I decided to put it in EVERYTHING. It’s like the best way ever to sneak in vegetables!

I made something similar to this last summer with blueberries so when I saw a few extra blackberries in the fridge, I came up with this stellar idea.

  • Fill ramekin with nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Stir in some Truvia (or sweetener of your choice)
  • Add 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Top with your favorite berries  — or peaches!
  • Sprinkle brown sugar on top
  • Broil for a few minutes!

I actually had time to whip these beauties up during our little lunch break!!

Can I tell you something heartbreaking? So I’m really not a Lululemon convert (too poor!), but this afternoon I noticed they had some new arrivals. They finally made something it BEAUTIFUL HOT PINK instead of their usual yucky purple. These pants were not there last night, but they have already sold out in every single size. Seriously! I was on their site last night, and they weren’t out yet! So disappointing. Those would be the perfect pants for all the group workout classes we’re doing these days. I can be the Girl in the Pink Pants. Probably the Crazy Girl in the Pink Pants.

What’s your favorite color to wear working out (or for life)? I really like to wear pink. Although black is a lot more flattering. For life, I like pink, leopard, and orange. Leopard counts as a color right now, right???

What your favorite of the Boring Three: Pizza, tacos, or spaghetti? Gotta say pizza. I love pizza. More than anything except french fries. Just keeping it real. Tomorrow is a huge day for me. Personal trainer @ 5:30, work, work, work, and then date night!!! We’re going shoppppppping! I’m so excited.

Skinny No-Bake Cookies & BBQ Chicken Pizza Pot Pies

I spotted this recipe on SkinnyTaste last week, and I instantly knew that I would make these. Kevin’s really more the cookie person, but I’m crazy for no-bakes!!! I think it’s more like eating the cookie dough, which really is the best part anyways!!! I madea few little tweaks because of what I had on hand, and they turned out beautifully!

Skinny No-Bake Cookies (via Skinnytaste)
Servings: 20 • Size: 2 cookies, 1 tbsp each • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 105.9 • Fat: 2.3 g • Carbs: 18.8 • Fiber: 2.3 • Protein: 3.1 g • Sugar: 7.9
Sodium: 12.2 mg 
 
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tbsp Smart Balance Light butter   —-> I subbed the butter substitute Melt
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 2 1/2 cups quick oats (for gluten free, use gluten free oats)
  • 3/4 cup Better’n Peanut Butter   —-> I used PB2, the regular flavor
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • powdered sugar, cocoa powder (optional)

Directions:

Combine the first 4 ingredients (sugar through milk) and boil in a small sauce pan for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in oatmeal, Better n’ Peanut Butter and vanilla.

Drop by tablespoons onto a wax paper or roll into balls with slightly moist hands and refrigerate overnight.

The next day you can roll them in powdered sugar or cocoa powder if desired. Keep refrigerated if storing for several days.

Did they taste like regular no-bakes? Not exactly. It definitely cut the sweetness factor, but I totally don’t mind that. Kevin was a huge fan of them as well.

By the way, have you tried Melt?

I think I saw it first in a blog somewhere. I filed it away, and the other week I insisted on buying it a the grocery store. We’ve used it for paninis and a few other things, and I really like it. And it worked great in this recipe. I guess it’s made of coconut oil. That makes it cool, right? :)

Here I am sweetly exclaiming to Boyd that dogs are allergic to chocolate. Naa naa a booo booo!!! I said that part too. Lol.

Kevin has been stuck at work late this week because of projects. That means I’m stuck too!! I think there was only one other person left on the 12th floor by the time we got out of there today!! We totally missed our class at the gym. I’ve been wanting to take this Sports Training class. They do it in the gym and they do all sorts of drills and stuff! It looks fun!! But we totally missed it. I don’t understand how people make it to 5:30 classes. We’re super close to the gym and we can barely swing it!

We got home so late that Kevin needed to get cracking on his homework so I hit our apartment gym solo. I ran 4.14 miles @ 8:18 pace and did a 30-minute NTC circuit workout called the Curve Carver.

I had this idea to make BBQ Chicken Pot Pie Pizzas. I made a little pizza crust and then layered mozz cheese, bbq chicken, onions, and spinach on the bottom of the ramekin. The crust went on top.

But when the moment of truth came…  I did not like them. It was something with the chicken or the onions. Or maybe the overwhelming smell in the kitchen just made me hate it. I don’t know. I had a little taste which totally grossed me out.

And then I did what any cool kid like me would do.

I made some mac ‘n’ cheese.

It always pays to have some Annie’s on hand. Kevin’s going to eat my pot pie for leftovers tomorrow. Yay!! He liked it. I think he actually really loved it. Lucky for me!! This time I forced Kevin to eat some of the mac ‘n’ cheese so I wouldn’t eat the whole box again.

What’s your back-up food? Mac ‘n’ cheese every time. Or it would be McDonald’s back in the old days. :) I still say that like if I have to go to someone else’s house for dinner. Like,”If I don’t like it, can we get McDonald’s afterwards?” Haha. It’s rough being a picky eater.

Do you ever not like what you cook? Usually I can get a good idea and make things a way I’ll like them, but there was just some flavor tonight I couldn’t get over. I’m definitely a lot more judgmental of my cooking than Kevin is. Which is typical. And nice.

Try making those skinny no-bakes! You won’t regret it! I think this is where I first saw Melt — Love from the Oven made White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Oatmeal Cookies with it!

 

DIY Healthy Chipotle Vegetarian Burrito Bowl + the Return of the Ramekins

This all came about because I bought two bags of romaine lettuce instead of one last week when I was planning for Deidre’s visit. I was thinking, wow, I really need to use that second bag of lettuce. I was not really in the mood to deal with meat. Yeah, I’m 26, and I still think raw meat is gross and avoid touching it at all costs. I was trying to come up with something a little more hearty and a plan began to formulate in my mind to incorporate brown rice. This one’s for you, Joanie! :)

That photo is about as close as we’re ever going to get to looking like a “real cooking blog” – so enjoy it while it lasts. I started things off nice and early with the brown rice. I went ahead and just threw it on the stovetop after I was done cleaning up breakfast. I like to multi-task my cooking so it’s nice to get a few steps done ahead of time. Later, I dumped in the black beans, diced tomatoes with green chilies, and a few jalapeños (optional: we like it SPICY). ;)

Bottom layer: brown rice mixture (still warm!). Cover that with the lettuce. On top, basically you can put whatever you want. I chose avocado (mixed with the lime juice – THE LIME IS CRUCIAL), green onions, red onions, red pepper, plain greek yogurt (in lieu of sour cream), and salsa. Do you like how my bowl changed colors midway through the collage? I forgot which one I was photographing as I was preparing these for Kevin and me.

What are those lovely desserts, you ask? Broke out the ramekins again! Blueberries & cream ramekins via Tish’s Place. 

Divide berries into ovenproof ramekins, top with a tablespoon (or two) of non-fat vanilla yogurt, sprinkle with brown sugar. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and broil until sugar is caramelized (abt 5 minutes).

I had to use some minor substitutions. I only had plain (blah) greek yogurt in the house so I mixed in some sugar-free vanilla syrup (for coffee) + truvia with it. It turned out excellent! Such a sweet & simple treat. Honey, I would like to say that I successfully completed this entire meal without getting anything stuck in the garbage disposal. WIN!!!

After lunch we spent some quality time with Boyd. LOOK AT OUR ROOSTER DOG!!!!!!

One last thing…

Wedding-themed iPhone 4 case! I knew I was missing just one last detail on the wedding day!!! ;)

Stay cool, kids!

After School Snack: Mini Apple Crisps in Ramekins

I’m not one to let wedding gifts sit & gather the dust! I had to store my ramekins in a spot I can only reach on my tippy-toes , but I just knew today was the day to pull them out!

My husband loves apple crisp more than anything else, and it just popped in my head today that there had to be a way to make apple crisp in the ramekins! I consulted Google and came up with this recipe on Andrea’s Wellness Notes.

 

I started with 2 apples, but I ate probably a half of an apple as I chopped them. I always leave the peelings on out of sheer laziness. Kevin has never complained so I’m guessing that’s fine. If company ever complains, I can just say I’m trying to be healthier?

I chopped them up and added 2 generous tsp of cinnamon. That mixture was immediately divided among the 4 ramekins. Here’s where the recipe and I parted paths. I know they were trying to be healthy and all, but if I want my husband to keep feeding my iced coffee addiction – he’s going to need a little more crumb topping than that!

So I simply doubled the crumb topping mixture. 2 TBS whole wheat Flour + 6 TBS oatmeal + 3 TBS butter. That should do it! I put just a sprinkling of water on top because the extra crumb topping helped the mixture stay moist.

Ramekins ready! I placed them on a cookie sheet as a precautionary measure because every time I turn on the oven my nose reminds me of my tendency to overfill things!

Here’s the recipe in its entirety if you’re interested:

  • 1 1/2 large apples
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp oats
  • 4 Tbsp water

Mix apples and cinnamon. Evenly divide among ramekins. Mix other ingredients and top each dish. Pour one tbs of water over each dessert before baking. Bake @ 350 for about 25 minutes.

Do you think Kevin is enjoying being married? :)

Today while I was making this my snack was plain apples. Kevin’s snack was apple crisp. IS THAT EVEN FAIR!??! It reminded me of a funny post I read last night entitled (No) War & Peace: Maintaining Your Diet & Your Marriage.

I’m going to quote 2 points:

8. Don’t be a martyr. I never think it’s a good excuse when people say they can’t eat healthy because their family doesn’t like the healthy food they would make. Who says healthy can’t be tasty? Experiment with new recipes and ingredients; try some of the recipes you see on blogs or subscribe to a healthy eating magazine, like Clean Eating. Use spices and herbs for flavor. Buy lean cuts of meats, try new grains (quinoa, anyone?). Spicing things up is key to your relationship and food so don’t be afraid to find healthy things you and your man like.

2. Don’t be a Soup Nazi! Don’t be so uptight about your eating habits that you can’t enjoy some of life’s greatest food pleasures together. For us, we love eating ice cream while watching our favorite TV show and do it regularly. And admit that some of his favorite, perhaps not-so-healthy foods are pretty tasty and just eat them sometimes!

Do you ever struggle to find the balance in this area in your household? I feel really lucky that Kevin is an adventuresome eater and is fine with eating “cowgirl food.” However, I do get a little jealous when he’s packing away the cookies… or worse yet – the Diet Coke!

Do you have any great recipes that use ramekins? I definitely want to get adventurous and try crème brûlée someday, but I’m afraid my torch skills are below average.