Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghosts & Goblins

Okay! How about a witch and a combat guy?!

My sister kindly offered to come to my place this morning to get the kids ready in their Halloween costumes for school. This was a HUGE help to me and the kids really enjoyed her company. So, without further ado, I give you my ghoulies!

I think he was mid-blink!!

Here’s one of the fruit trays that I sent with the kids.

I bought a mini watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries & grapes and split it all between the 2 trays.

Breakfast this morning was quick, simple and delicious!

-1 cup water
-1/2 cup quick cooking steel cut (Irish) oats
-1 Tbsp pumpkin butter
-sprinkle of maple flakes

I was disappointed in myself for not purchasing a Halloween themed bowl, so I had to make do with the fish. But the oats were definitely NOT disappointing! Gosh, do I love my oats!

The morning flew by. We started to pack up some of the stuff from our work stations in anticipation of our move and then there was a meeting at 11am. Look what I found on my desk!

From the meeting we moved on to the annual Halloween potluck lunch. Our department always pitches in some cash for the lunch. Today we donated meatballs and garlic bread. Here’s my plate:

Clockwise from the meatballs….lazy cabbage rolls, curry chicken pinwheel, potato salad, strawberries, shrimp, piece of dessert, cheese crackers. And that’s coleslaw in the middle. I also sipped on a pumpkin spice tea.

I find more often than not I’m let down with the choices at potluck. Today’s spread, while impressive, had no fruit or veggies. It was all very carby stuff. I’d say the stuff on my plate was about as healthy as it got. There was also a few boxes of pizza, some store bought salads, big ass bagels, and LOTS of bread. Good thing I brought a container of fruit that was leftover from the kid’s platters! Now, dessert is something that is never a let down for me! Here are my choices:

A sliver of cherry tart and a (second )chocolate/butterscotch bar. Delicious!

Here's the fruit I brought. I only ended up eating a bit of it this afternoon. The rest was finished with dinner...

And here are 2 of my co-workers. A matador (she sits beside me) and a very nerdy cable guy! Good for them for totally getting into the spirit of things!

The afternoon continued on at a pretty decent clip. And I stayed out of the candy dish! PHEW! Supper tonight was quick and easy because I had to re-apply the kids make up and get them back in their costumes. I made an omlette with 1/2 a cup of egg beaters and put some steamed asparagus on the side. There's salsa hanging out inside the omlette...

I also had a Pear & Goat Cheese Tartlet....not that I needed it, but I couldn't resist!

So, the kids and I spent an hour and a half trick or treating! The weather was So nice that we just kept going! But man....have we got candy! We ended up with 4 BAGS worth! Check it out! This is only one pile!

Oh, boy! Am I in trouble! I already ate 6 little chocolate bars! Well, I think a run on the treadmill is in order here! I usually end up feeling motivated when I've missed a few days, plus I think the fresh air has invigorated me (and all my chocolate consumption is weighing on my mind)! I'll catch up with all of you tomorrow! Have a fantastic night!

Bye for now!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pears: A BSI Submission

My kiddies had their pumpkin carving fest last night. This is actually a tradition that they enjoy with their Dad. He gives them each a sheet of paper on which they draw the face they want for their pumpkin. He then uses that as a “stencil” to replicate their ideas. The jack o’ lanterns always turn out fabulous!

This is my son’s:

This is my daughter’s:

And together:

My hubby also roasted up the pumpkin seeds. He kept it simple….just olive oil, salt and pepper…20 minutes in a 350 deg oven. I didn’t take a picture because the kids pretty much devoured them right away. Gotta love Hallowe’en!

When we went to set their creations on the front porch, the kids asked that we keep them on the deck instead. They were worried that the pumpkins would be smashed in the road by vandals through the night. That made me kinda sad for them. We never worried about stuff like that as kids. So on the deck they went. We’ll light them up for the BIG night tomorrow and move them to the front.

Breakfast was another simple one today. This was mostly due to the fact that I was running a bit late. I don’t know where I lost 10 mins this morning, but it was gone! I guess that happens sometimes!

-1 cup water
-1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain cereal
-1/4 cup pumpkin puree
-1/3 cup wild blueberries
-sprinkle of maple flakes

Mmm! A classic bowl of yum! I enjoyed this while quizzing DD on her spelling words. Gotta get that study time in!

Look who I found hanging out in the office candy dish!

It was real easy for me to choose these 2 because they were the only 2 left…..AMEN! I wonder how many I would’ve grabbed had the bowl been full? I must make a mental note to avoid that route at all cost and go around the long way. Hey…that’s better for me anyways, right?

No lunch run today. I had to make a trip to the grocery store for fruit. My kids can be funny sometimes (well, most times). Instead of me baking something for their class parties tomorrow, they want to take fruit trays. Okey dokey! This worked out well because I needed to buy pears for this week’s BSI recipe challenge. I’m VERY excited about that, by the way!

I ate this bad boy at about 11:30am. Still loving the moist texture...

I made an egg white salad for lunch today which I bundled into an Italian Herb flatout wrap. But, gosh darn it…I forgot my lettuce! Oh, was an awesome wrap regardless!

I served it with a side of carrot sticks. These puppies were SO sweet and crunchy! I should stop being so lazy and cut up carrots sticks more often! The only changes I made to this recipe were because I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand. I used carrot, celery and asparagus and omitted the lime juice. Everything else was as called for.

The afternoon plunked by well enough, I guess. A little on the slow side, but nothing to drastic!

Dinner tonight was chicken. I was actually going to have my hubby BBQ them, but he got held up at work so I decided to make my old stand by...Cheesy Salsa Chicken. This dinner is SO easy and I know that it's a family favorite. That means no fights at the table about who doesn't like what! I sliced up a cucumber to go beside it.

On to my BSI entry featuring pears! I decided to go sweet with a hint of savory. To me, pears are a perfect match with a mild cheese, so that's the savory part of this recipe.

Pear & Goat Cheese Tartlets


-6-7 bartlett pears
-1 tsp almond extract
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup raisins
-2 Tbsp maple syrup (I used ED Smith sugar free)
-1/2 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves

*Chop pears up to a pretty fine dice and put into a dutch oven along with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.


*I used a package of Dr.Oetker pie crust. Empty contents of package into a bowl and add 3-4 TBSP of water, stirring after each addition. Form into 2 balls and flatten slightly of a floured surface. Roll out fairly thin and using a water glass or coffee cup, cut out circles. Place dough circle into pre greased muffing pan.


*Preheat oven to 425 deg
*thinly slice plain goat cheese and put the slice on the bottom of the tartlet shell. *Fill with about a 1/4 cup pear "sauce".
*bake for 20 minutes or until edges of crust turn golden brown.
*remove from oven and allow to cool before digging in!


Ready to be devoured:

Half way through...check out the decadent layer of goat's cheese!! MMmmm...

I have to admit that I went back for round 2! I seriously couldn't help it. They were that awesome!

**edited to add: I ran this through the recipe builder at Spark People and came out with...

216 calories
9.5g fat
2.7g fiber

I'm off to watch CSI now! Have a great night!

Bye for now!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Busy One

Look what I woke up to today!

Now, I know it’s just a dusting, but only an hour and a half away they had 15cm!! YIKES! That’s just too close for comfort. They’re still calling for warming temps on Friday, though.

Breakie was a simple but good one today. I just felt like something more traditional in my bowl for some reason.

-1 cup water
-1/2 cup Old Wessex 5-Grain cereal
-1/2 a banana, mashed
-1/4 cup Sahale snack mix, walnut

Extremely tasty and crunchy! I ran out of cinnamon last night and I did miss that. I love my cinnamon! This kept my going for 5.5 hrs! Killer fuel!

I must say that I am so disgusted with the blue team on The Biggest Loser that at one point during the show last night I got up to bake a little something. Anyone out these following the show feel the same?? Anyways, I’m out of WW flour, so I dug out this recipe from Check out the original recipe. I did a few ingredient swaps. Here’s my adaptation:

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

-1 cup dry oatmeal
-1 cup oatbran
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup unsweetened almond breeze
-1/2 cup egg beaters
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-2 Tbsp agave
-1.5 Tbsp cinnamon (the last of my bottle)
-1 tsp coconut extract

*preheat oven to 350 deg
*Combine wet, add dry
*mix well and pour into a 8 x 8 pan
*bake 35 mins
*cool before cutting into 6 pieces

**the recipe says to use either 2 cups of oats OR 1 cup each oats and oatbran**

Here she be out of the oven.

Of course I ate a piece, but forgot to take a picture! Can’t believe it, but I did! It was still a little too warm to really tell how the taste was, but I love the texture of it! (keep reading for a taste update!) **I'll post this in the sidebar under my recipes for convenience sake, but it's not really my recipe...just a spin off of the original

The morning at work was absolutely INSANE! I went non-stop for 3.5hrs...not even a washroom break was squeezed in there! Good thing I had that bowl of oats to power me through! PHEW! I channeled all that built up “buzz” my body was functioning on in my run. Wow! Considering that I really wasn’t feeling like a run today, I powered myself through an intense one! Aren’t those always the best workouts?

Lunch today was an oddball . I had a lonely President’s Choice oat bagel in the fridge and ½ of a yellow pepper. I decided to make them into a sandwich with a Weight Watchers cream cheese cup, salt and pepper. I toasted the bagel, spread the cheese on it, put the pepper on it, then nuked it for 20 seconds. Voila! I ate the leftover pieces of pepper on the side.

A little later on I had a piece of the Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal. I’m happy to report that the taste was right on! I loved the coconut flavoring and the moist texture. The wedges are a generous could probably cut it into 12 pieces for more of a snack size. I picked at a container of grapes throughout the afternoon, too.

Here's a neat recipe I made for dinner;

Acorn Squash stuffed with Autumn Bulgur

-1 cup chicken stock
-1/4 cup each onion, carrots and celery
-1/2 cup bulgur
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
-tsp each cumin, coriander, chili powder, dried basil, garlic powder, salt & pepper
-2 Tbsp grated Asiago cheese
-1 acorn squash

*preheat oven to 375 deg
*cot squash in half cross-way and brush with olive oil, salt & pepper
*place flesh side down on a baking sheet and roast for 35 mins

*Bring stock & veggies to a boil. Stir in bulgur, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 5-10 mins taking care to make sure liquid doesn't completely evaporate
*stir pumpkin puree and spices into the bulgur mixture. Continue to cook over low heat, uncovered, another 5 mins
*Place about 1/2 a cup of bulgur mixture into the well of the acorn squash, sprinkle with cheese and place back in oven another 5 mins.
*Serves 2

I loved this, but boy am I FULL! I ran the recipe through the spark People recipe builder and came up with this:

266 cal
2.4g fat
11.9g fiber
10.3g protein

This is per serving. While I was cooking away, I munched on 2 (OK, I went back for another!) amaretti cookies....

Okay! Off to pumpkin carving I go! Then SYTYCD Canada is on! I have a good night in store!

Bye for now!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Best Breakfast EVER!

I made the most AMAZING bowl of oats today! As I said last night, breakfast was based on my #1 favorite dessert...TIRAMISU!! My Mom makes this wicked cake only once a year, at Christmas time. Sometimes we get lucky and she’ll do one at Easter, too. Of course, hers is the real deal with marscapone cheese, real whip cream, amaretto liquor and espresso soaked lady finger cookies. Here’s my oat version:

Tiramisu Oats

-1/2 cup each Quaker oats, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze & water
-1 tsp each cocoa powder & instant coffee
-dash of almond extract
-1 Weight Watchers cream cheese cup (2 Tbsp, I think!)
-tsp of agave
-1 amaretto cookie crumbled (for the top)

*bring milk, water, cocoa, coffee & almond extract to a boil
*add oats and let cook a few minutes over low heat
*once oats begin to thicken, stir in agave & cream cheese. Mix well
*pour into bowl and crumble amaretto cookie on top

I have to toot my own horn here because this was really, really good and it kept me full for a very long time! Mission accomplished!

Snacky time last night included an Activia yogurt, apple & raisin flavor, and a mitt full of chocolate, peanut butter & cinnamon chips.

The morning flew right on by which is nice. We had some really crappy weather our way, too. Rain, sleet, and some snow. By the way, I consider the word “snow” to be a swear word. The only time I like it is when I’m toasty warm inside watching it from the window. At least the forecast for Friday is looking good. All the little ghosts and goblins should have an OK trick or treating night.

I’m still not feeling 100%, but I had a really good run today. I ramped up the speed and hammered out a little over 3 miles before my half hour was up.

I brought chicken, brown rice & broccoli today for lunch, but decided while on the treadmill that I felt like soup so I brought a cup of broth back to work with me and heated it all up together.

Doesn’t look to appealing, but it did taste good and was just what I needed on this chilly day.

**NEWSFLASH** I’ve gotten a lot of requests in my comments for my co-workers cookie recipe. I talked to her about it this morning and she’s willing to do a “guest post” featuring the recipe. You can expect to see that in the near future. YIPEE!

Tuesday = swim night = quick dinner because the kids are in the pool at 6pm night! I thawed out the other half of this 3 bean and pork chili that I made in the crockpot a few weeks ago. We sprinkled some grated marble cheese on top and I also had a toasted English muffin with mine. Awesome satisfying dinner for a cold, wet night!

I tried an Honest foods bar for my sweet end tonight. I decided to split it with DD because she was all over them yesterday, too. She picked the chocolate peanut butter one.

I really liked it! The flavor was a little different than what I a good way! It was a nice dense, thick bar with lots of heft and chew to it. I didn't really taste too much peanut butter, but chocolate is my thing anyways I could sure taste that! There was also a subtle hint of fruit in the back of my throat with each bite. What a terrific way to end a meal!

Time for me to go!

Bye for now!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Treats in the Mail!

I woke up to the sound of pouring rain this morning. I find the sound of rain drops to be extremely soothing. Maybe too soothing because I almost fell back asleep! Thank goodness I was hungry because that was a real motivating factor in stumbling to the shower! The bowl of oats I made today was really yummy, but didn’t hold me over very long...only a couple of hours. Weird, but more on that in a wee bit.

-1 cup water
-1/2 cup Flax Seed Porridge
-½ mashed banana
-1/3 cup fresh raspberries
-cinnamon sprinkles

I’ve gotten a few very nice compliments on my bowls, plates, etc lately and just wanted to say “THANKS!” I’m always on the lookout for new, unique pieces. My daughter loves to help me look, too! I’m going to have a very eclectic dinnerware collection to pass on someday!

So, by 10:30am I was getting an impatient belly. I tried talking myself out of being hungry, but finally gave in and ate the last Autumn Harvest muffin. We’re changing our hours around at work a bit which is a good thing. It will require me to schedule a little differently, but the end result is in our favor. This is what we’re doing; we usually work 8:30-4:30 with an hour lunch. Because we work in payroll for a school board, the employees asked that there be someone in the department over the lunch hour to answer phones. The 4 of us rotate one week at a time now for computer back up purposes at the end of the day. In keeping with this schedule, whoever is responsible for back up will work that week 8:30-4:30 with lunch at 12:30-1:30. The other 3 will work 8-4 with 2 taking lunch from 12-1 and one taking lunch from 11:30-12:30. Voila...phones are covered and 3 weeks out of 4, we start and leave earlier! This is my back up week, so lunch was later. About 45 mins before my run, I ate a small wedge of my pizza. I hate going on the treadmill hungry!

Despite the fact that my head still feels like a football, I had a good run. I ran a little slower than normal, but managed 3 miles in just a wee bit over 30mins. I was just relieved to have the energy to get back on after 4 days!

Lunch was a mish mash of leftovers. That’s what happens when you’re too lazy the night before to get a real lunch together! Ah, well…it was good none the less!

Here we have roasted butternut squash, turkey, parsnips and the last of the pizza. Filled my belly up just right. I had also packed a honey crisp apple but didn't end up eating it.

It's gonna hang out on my desk until tomorrow!

Once again, Monday = dance night. I switched my hat from payroll clerk to taxi driver and proceeded to pick up the kiddies at my parents and take DD to dance lessons. While I was doing this, my hubby BBQ’d some chicken breasts for supper. I ate mine with some steamed asparagus and roasted red peppers.

My co-worker made some more of her yumilicious cookies over the weekend and was kind enough to share (again)! She slimmed them up a bit by subbing egg whites for the eggs, nixing some of the all purpose flour for whole wheat and using half brown sugar half sucanat (I don’t know how to spell that!). Check this lovely out!

I ate this delight as my sweet end! Thanks, D! Before I picked DD up, I headed on over to our Italian specialty store for the star ingredients of tomorrow's all new breakfast recipe!. I've been dying to make it for a few days now, but have just today had time to pick up these babies!

Amaretto Biscotti!! Now, I realize that I may not look it, but I am 100% Italian. My parents originate from northern Italy. These are the types of cookies that were staples in my house as a kid and I love them to this day. They are the all star in my absolute favorite dessert which, by the way, my Mom is the Queen of making. That's the only hint I'm dishing out! You'll have to tune in tomorrow to see my creation! You won't be disappointed...

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their suggestions on my request for allergy free baking for the kid’s classes. I have some great leads to check out. I’ll be sure to post what I’ll see that either Wednesday or Thursday!

Last but certainly not least, I was totally JAZZED to find these in my mailbox when I arrived home!!!!!!

The thoughtful, ever so awesome Beadie(Christie) over at whatiateyesterday sent these to me! I am SO thrilled to have the opportunity to try these because I can't find these in Canada...anywhere. And trust me when I say I have searched! I'm going to play ennie minnie miny moe tomorrow and see which one I get to eat as my sweet end! THANK YOU, BEADIE!!

Time for me to go get things in order for the morning. They're calling for snow...YIKES! I'm so excited bout my breakfast that I hope I can sleep! I know, I'm a total nerd! :)

Bye for now!