Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We LOVE Mexican food!

Chips and salsa is the favorite snack of probably 75% of the people I know.
It's one of my favorite snacks too.  I'm not sure if it's because everyone around me loves it so I just jumped on the bandwagon or what, but I do love it.  I like to pour some salsa from our giant Costco size container into a little bowl and add some fresh cilantro.  Money!

Benefits:  Anti-inflammatory capacities,
good source of fiber and iron,
and promotes healthy liver function, to name a few.

We have Mexican frequently and I typically make the following taco salad as my main dish.  It is delicious every single time.

We make 2-3 pounds of meat each time and have it on hand for the rest of the week's dinners.  I know a lot of people like to use turkey meat as a healthier alternative, but we like lean ground beef from our local meat market.

Taco Salad:
Brown 2-3 pounds ground beef. 
Drain the grease.
Season with taco seasoning and water according to directions on package.
(we use a big container of pre-made taco seasoning)
Let simmer until most of the juice is absorbed.
Add in both:
 Can Black Beans
Can Fat Free Refried Beans

For the salad part I use a random combination of the following vegetables and ingredients depending on what I have on hand:
Romaine lettuce- chopped
Green onions
Cilantro leaves
Shredded cheese
Corn kernels- frozen or canned
Black olives, sliced
Bell peppers, chopped
Jalepenoes, chopped
Carrots, shaved
Light drizzle of Kraft Light Catalina dressing
5-7 Tortilla Chips crushed up

Mix it all together for a bowl full of fiesta fun!

This is just a very simple, easy to throw together recipe that we eat about every other week in the Breeze house.  It's filling without being too heavy and it's good all year round.  Feel free to get crazy with what you add in to your salad.
There are no rules and I encourage you to try new ingredients, especially veggies.   
This isn't the most glamorous recipe by any means, but a good one for any night of the week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dinner was a Bust

Black bean tacos with shredded jalapeno cheese, romaine lettuce, tomato, and fresh cilantro.  Baked coconut shrimp.
It looks pretty good, right?  Tacos and coconut shrimp.. usually pretty tasty.
Not tonight.
First of all, the tacos were an afterthought to what were supposed to be black bean burgers.  I was so excited to try to make black bean burgers not only because I like them, but because my mom loves them. 
She's really into black beans. 
Anyway, the burgers fell apart so we made them into tacos which were really pretty good, but because I was bummed I didn't think they were awesome.  I'm going to continue to try black bean burger recipes and play with it until I feel ready to share!
The coconut shrimp were okay too but I didn't realize we ran out of our favorite dipping sauce that we can only find at Target.  And seeing as how Target is 1.5 hours away, we weren't getting any pineapple habenero dipping sauce. 
So what to do when dinner isn't the best? 
Bake cookies!

Delicious cookies.  Breeze's milk.

Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Recipe adapted from this Tasty Kitchen member

1 stick butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag Hershey's cinnamon chips
1 heaping cup of raisins

Heat oven to 350.  Lightly coat a baking sheet. 
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy!
Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Next, beat in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the cinnamon chips followed by the raisins.
Drop by the spoonful onto the baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.  Leave the cookies on the sheet after taking them out of the oven for 5 minutes so they can "set up".  Move them to a plate and start with the next batch.

Have you ever had cinnamon chips? 
Ah-mazing!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On My Mind Today: Oprah & Dinner

Today was the final show of Oprah's last season.  I got to know the Oprah show throughout my years in college and really started watching religiously in the last three or so years.  I'm so bummed that she ended the show and feel that as I go through my twenties and into adulthood, I could really use her message more than when I was younger.  But I'm very grateful for what wonderful information I received from her in the time I was able to watch her show and plan on using it to the best of my abilities.  Today's show in particular had many important messages. 

The following two caught my attention:
1. Embrace the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.
2. You are responsible for the energy you bring to yourself and to others. 
Oprah has a sign in her makeup room that states, "Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space."  I think this quote will stay with me forever.  If anything, I'm putting it up in my house and in my workplace so it'll be around for a while. 
Oprah also says that when you know more you do more.  I think that this blog is an example of me knowing more about a healthy diet/lifestyle and wanting to share what I know with my friends and family!  I feel it is my responsibility to do so and to do it as best as I can.  It's important to note, though, that it is a work in progress and as I continue to learn, I will continue to share...
Okay, okay so serious!  Oprah had me feeling very serious about my life today...

On a lighter note, let's talk Caesar!

Tonight for dinner we had Caesar salad wraps and homemade potato chips (they're a bit of a trend around here).  The wraps were light and delicious and have the potential to become a go-to quick dinner! Yea!

It was a rushed photo.  Notice someone already took a bite of their wrap and someone had three for dinner.  I won't tell whose plate is whose.
Here's what you need:
1 cup buttermilk (I obviously had no buttermilk so I put 1 tbsp vinegar in a measuring cup, filled it up to 1 cup with milk, let sit for 5 minutes, and
BAM- buttermilk!)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 cup mayo (preferably light, I prefer the one made with olive oil)
6 or so chicken tenders or 1 chicken breast
1 - 1 1/2 heads romaine lettuce
Tomato slices
Tortillas, wraps, bread, or whatever you feel like eating the Caesar mix on.
I used a low carb, whole wheat tortilla and Breeze went with the always reliable, Mama Lupe's soft taco size tortillas - 3 to be exact (Shoot, I told). 

Here's what you do:
Combine the buttermilk, lemon juice, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.  Give it some salt and pepper.  Stir in the mayo.  Add the chicken, lettuce, and tomatoes and mix it all together.  Wrap the mixture in your wrap of choice and enjoy!

For dessert I chose to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a leftover red velvet cookie crumbled in it, and a squirt of chocolate.  I served it to myself in a wine glass because Oprah has her morning smoothie every morning in a tall wine glass.  It's so fancy!  Makes eating or drinking anything much more special!  You should definitely try it! 

Fancy Ice cream

Don't forget to embrace your life and live it to the fullest- starting NOW!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blackberry Orange Muffins

The past three days have been full of ups and downs.  To sum it up very quickly- a fire, a graduation and family gathering, and a devastating tornado.  Even though my beautiful cousin's graduation was great, the majority of the news was obviously sad and had me feeling very blue today.
These muffins have been cheering me up since I first staring baking them about a month ago.  (Plus I had a big container of fresh blackberries from our Costco trip yesterday.) 

The first step, creaming butter and sugar, ALWAYS makes me feel better!

Creaming butter and sugar in the KitchenAid. 
 Even though it was pouring down rain, I felt it important enough to make these muffins that Breeze, Dylan and I ran to Braum's to grab an orange.

Orange zest = key ingredient.
 Here is recipe for the muffins:

Adapted from EatLiveRun Blog
makes 12 muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (plus another little shake)
2 tsp grated orange zest
 2 cups fresh blackberries
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, orange zest, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Gently add the blackberries and stir so that the berries are covered with flour. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one by one, until thoroughly combined. Add the milk and blend.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and toss gently, being careful not to crush the berries. Scoop batter into 12 greased muffin tins sprinkle granulated sugar over the tops.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden. Let cool for five minutes in the tins then pop out and cool completely.

Muffins pre-baking.  Notice the muffin in the top left corner has a pile of sugar on top.  Breeze claimed that one.
I always think it is important to cook/bake with what you have.  I ran out of all purpose white flour tonight so I substituted whole wheat flour and added some extra milk.  It worked out just fine.  The more I experiment, the more comfortable I feel about substituting. 

I wish I could give everyone in Joplin, both those affected by the tornado and those helping, a blackberry orange muffin.  Instead, I will eat this muffin as my late night snack, continue to pray for them, and take my donations to the school tomorrow.

Good night, all.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Saturday!

I'm going to make an attempt at blogging again!  I posted a few weeks ago and put the blog back on the back burner.  (By the way, the turkey meatloaf was ah-mazing!) 
I really like to cook, bake and experiment with food on the weekends.  I feel like there is much less pressure than on weeknights.  After hopping on the treadmill for about an hour this morning I thought I should make a lunch that was mostly healthy, but also with some splurges. 

Breeze's sandwich and our potato chips
I tried out some homemade baked potato chips that were so yummy!  We used our Pampered Chef mandolin that we had stored away, thinking it really wasn't as useful as we had hoped.  Now that I'm comfortable using it, I think I'll get it out more often.

Breeze helping me slice the potatoes.
The chips couldn't be any easier.  Take a large Russet potato and slice it up (Breeze made ours fancy and crinkle cut).  Pop them in the oven at 475 for 15-20 minutes, flipping occasionally and watching closely so they don't burn!  Salt the chips the second you take them out of the oven.  

For the main dish I assembled turkey sandwiches.
  I layered up the following:
  • Boar's Head salsilito turkey,
  • Munster cheese,
  • tomatoes,
  •  turkey bacon (splurge),
  • avocado (Omega-3s),
 All this on wonderful croissants (splurge).  I purchased whole grain bread yesterday with the intention of having sandwiches on toasted wheat bread but as I was walking to check out I noticed the buttery, flaky croissants and couldn't resist!  They were totally worth it! 
So the sandwiches and chips were delicious, I would definitely recommend them for a fabulous Saturday lunch! 
I finished my meal up with half of a red velvet cookie that I made last night- to die for!
Happy Saturday!