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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quick Dinner: Egg Whites with Beans and Veggies

Last night we had dinner later than usual.  Time just got away from us between working out, a phone call with our tax guru, and trying to find all the documents he need.  Dinner definitely took a back seat, but turned out health, low calorie, and yummy! 

I grabbed stuff that I always have in the house for an occasion that needs something fast and easy, egg whites, a can of black beans, bread, and frozen steam in the back veggies. 

I have been buying Sara Lee, 45 calorie 100% whole wheat bread for about 1 year now, and I use black beans all the time (as you know if you read my post “I Heart Black Beans" post).  But the vegetable medley was a first time purchase for me.  I wasn’t sure I would like the flavoring because prepackaged things are usually too rich or creamy, but this was surprisingly light.  Not great for leftovers though, it became a bit soggy with a re-heat. 

Back to dinner...I rinsed and drained the can of black beans, then heated them on the stove.  I poured 2 cups of egg whites into a heated pan and start to scramble, adding a bit of black pepper as they cook.  The vegetable medley was the easiest just threw it in the microwave for 5 minutes.  When it was all ready I piled it on a plate with 2 pieces of plain toast and a ½ ounce of shredded cheddar jack.  

Diet Info:
Egg whites ¾ cup @ 90 calories
Black beans ½ cup @ 105 calories
Vegetables ½ cup @ 40 calories
Toast 2 slices @ 90 calories
Shredded cheddar jack ½ oz @ 55 calories

Total for my dinner was 380 calories.  Of course I followed that with some Easter Candy for dessert! 

Overall the meal was Super fast, hardly any clean up, and even had leftovers.  Enough egg whites were left over for Bond’s breakfast and enough beans and veggies to add to some left over rice for lunch today! 

What is your go to quick dinner?  What do you always keep in the house?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Heart Black Beans

I use black beans in everything from chili to brownies (Yes Brownies!!).  So I was very excited to find this next recipie.  The full recipie is at avialable at:
Here is my modification.

·      12 ounces of Tyson Grilled and Ready Frozen fully cooked oven roasted diced chicken breast
·      1 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
·      1 12 ounce bag frozen corn
·      1 large tomato, diced
·      1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
·      2 tbl diced garlic
·      2 tbl dried oregano
·      2 tsp ground cumin
·      3 tbl cider vinegar

Cook the chicken according to stove top directions on package.  Cook corn according to the package, I buy the steam in the bag frozen corn to save time.  Heat rinsed black beans on stove, over low heat with lots of stirring so they don’t burn.  Then mix diced tomato, chicken, corn and beans in a large bowl. 

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until just beginning to color, about 30 seconds. Add oregano and cumin; stir until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Remove from the heat; add vinegar; pour over mix in the large bowl and gently toss to combine. 

This makes about 4 servings @ 1 ¼ cups per serving
Nutrition preserving: 250 calories; 6 g fat ( 1 g sat , 4 g mono ); 47 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 24 g protein; 6 g fiber; 402 mg sodium; 415 mg potassium.
*This is for the original recipe (I use a few less veggies and spices in my version

Serve in a bowl alone or stuff a whole wheat pita or tortillas to add some carbs.  I also like to add a little bit of shredded cheese!

How would you serve it?  Or would you mix in additional ingredients?

Monday, March 28, 2011

30 Truths

I did not write these, but thought they were funny and true, or maybe funny because they are true?  You tell me...

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

9. Bad decisions make good stories.

10. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

11. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

12. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

13. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this – ever.

14. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? **** it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

15. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

16. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
17. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

18. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

19. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.

20. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

21. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

22. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text or change the music selection on my ipod.

23. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

24. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

25. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

26. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

27. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

28. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

29. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

30. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my *** everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mid-Morning Snack

I snack all during my workday.  I am a believer in 5 to 7 small meals or snacks throughout the day.  Another reason I do the small meals is when I eat a larger meal I get tired, and it turns out this has a negative effect on my productivity.

My general routine is to have a low calorie breakfast when I get to the office between 7:30 and 8.  I get hungry and have a snack between 10 and 10:30.  I hold out until 12 or 12:30 for lunch because it makes the afternoon go faster.  Then I have another snack anytime after 3, which gets me through the rest of the day and my workout.  I leave the office between 4:30 and 5.  When I get home I spend about an hour working out before I start dinner, which we eat around 7:30. 

My new favorite snack to have mid-morning is very vanilla fat free yogurt mixed with granola.  It is really filling, healthy, and low calorie.  The yogurt is 110 calories and the Granola has 115 calories in 1/3 cup.

Do you use the small meal method?  If so what do you like to have for a mid-morning snack?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Separate Lives of Couples

Have you seen the new show on NBC Thursday nights, Perfect Couples?  It’s a comical look at the lives of 3 very different couples.  Last week the show addressed couples having separate activities.  It got me thinking how does having a ‘separate life’ from your spouse/significant other affect your relationship.  Let me be clear and define ‘separate life’ to mean activities, events, travel with friends, family, or alone that you enjoy without your spouse, but with your spouse’s knowledge.  Not a secret life hidden from your other half. 

My husband, aka Bond, and I have been married for almost one year.  Prior to that we were a couple for about a year and half.  We have two dogs and no children.  So Obviously my opinion is based on limited facts and circumstance, but I think it is important to have a life outside of your life as a couple.  The common interests you share as a couple are important to building a lasting relationship, but so is individuality. 

Bond and I love to spend time together and have plenty of common interests.    We also have separate interests and activities we enjoy.  Bond loves baseball.  While I enjoy a good day at a baseball park or watching the World Series, I cannot watch baseball mid-season, Saturday afternoon, on television and keep my eyes open.  Bond also enjoys a day at the golf course while I am more of a windmill girl.  I love a good chick flick, or a bad one to be honest.  Somehow a cheesy love story is not the same with Bond’s practical real world commentary.  I also enjoy scrapbooking and cheese tasting, but Bond considers these to be a slow, grueling form of torture. 

Compromising on an activity to do together or taking turns deciding what the next couple activity will be is a valid approach.  But at some point you have to be able to do the things that make you happy.  In a healthy relationship your spouse should want you to have activities you love and that make you happy, even if they don’t want to be a part of them. Life is too short to miss out on the things you love because someone else doesn’t.   

Do you have separate activities from your spouse/significant other? What are they?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cheese 101

Let me start by saying I love cheese!  In February took my Grandmother-in-law to a cheese class for her birthday.  It was hosted by a local (I think) chain, Forward Foods.  We got to try 8 different cheeses ranging from soft to hard, and light to stinky.  They also provided things to pair with the cheeses to enhance the flavor.  There were several things I had never thought to pair with cheese that turned out to be delicious.  My favorite new pairings are honey, fruit preserves, and dried apricot.  They offer additional cheese classes including one that teaches how to pair cheese with wine.  I will definitely do this again and highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity for something similar!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ladies Book Club

I currently participate in 2 book clubs.  Last Friday I hosted one of them.  I hosted the, not so originally titled, “Ladies Book Club” which has between 10 and 15 members at any given time.  On average 3 to 8 members make it to a single meeting.  A total of 9 women were in attendance, so I deem it a great turn out, especially since most of them had even read the book! 

We had three new people join which always livens up the conversation. The ladies book club turned 2 in December 2010, and reads a variety of genres, lengths, and authors.  The only real criteria are that the books will lead to discussion and is available in paperback. 

For this most recent meeting we read The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.  The book chronicles the journey of a young white girl as she runs away from home and her father, in hopes of discovering the truth about her deceased mother.  She is accompanied on her journey by a fugitive black woman that served as a care taker for her after her mother died.  The book provided some good discussion topics including the queen bee mother figure and what that represented to the narrator,  The volatile relationship between the narrator and her father and how it developed to that point, issues about race relations in the deep south during the 1960’s, and more.  The book is relatively short, an easy read, and has lots to discuss.  If you are in a book club or thinking of starting one, this is a great choice.  Also, as the host I got to serve honey with everything.  I like it when the book lends itself to a theme and the honey was a smash hit!

This book club meets again at the end of April and we will be reading The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb…Stay tuned for details.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cream Cheese Spread

When I started working I quickly realized I was unable to eat before I leave the house and make it to work on time.  I took the adult view that it was more important to be on time to work.  Especially since I can eat my breakfast at my desk while I climb through the rugged terrain of new emails.  The unfortunate side effect is that I end up eating the same toast with peanut butter everyday.  As much as I love peanut butter toast I  need something to liven up my weekday breakfast routine.

The idea for this homemade cream cheese spread came from, one of my favorite recipe blogs.  I used fat free cream cheese, honey, and craisins.

To be exact one the ingredients:
8 oz. fat free cream cheese @ 210 calories
1/3 cup craisins @ 130 calories
1 tbl honey @ 45 calories

That makes the new concoction 7 servings of 2 tablespoons @ 55 calories a serving

Then I spread it on a toasted bagel thin @ 110 calories

I will now be able to alternate this sweet creamy fruit mix on a bagel thin with peanut butter toast... its a start!  The idea came from homemade veggie cream cheese.  What would you mix with cream cheese?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Temptation Rears its Ugly Head

Those who read my post about Lent know I gave up pastry, especially donuts.  Lately donuts had become a huge vice for me, serving as a stress reliever sugar comma to get me through the afternoon.  So on this wonderful St. Patrick’s Day morning it was difficult to find this upon entering my office….

I managed to successfully avoided the donuts and went for only the fruit and a frozen low calorie whole wheat waffle with peanut butter.  Very proud.  Unfortunately after my morning meeting I returned to find these…

Cookies I rationalized are not pastry…or are they.  I am currently avoiding the cookies while trying to determine if cookies are a pastry?  Please help!

Nutrition Info

Oops! I forgot to add the calorie count to my Flatout pizza recipe.  So here it is:

Ingredients (1 serving): Total calories @ 603 calories
1 Italian herb flatout @ 90 calories
¼ cup Bertolli marinara sauce @ 40 calories
1 cup shredded mozzarella, part skim low moisture @ 341 calories
                   *(I really like cheese, Bond uses only about 1/3 cup @ 114 calories)
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil @ 126 calories
¼ green bell pepper, chopped @ 6 calories

I also want to mention that 1 flatout has 9g of fiber and 9g of protein with only 2.5g of fat so it makes for a nutritious meal as well as low calorie. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dinner for One

Last night Bond had a meeting so I was on my own for dinner.  I briefly considered cooking a meal, but it seems like so much more work when I know I will be eating it alone.  Then the rolodex of my brain started to go through all the wonderful food I could pick up, slathered with butter and smothered with cheese.  After the drool subsided and I remember those scrumptious delicacies are not healthy or low calorie and that I am attempting to stick to my maintenance diet (more on that later) I rethink my options.    

I go with my recent solution to dining at home solo, my new obsession, Flatouts.  I found them in the bakery section with the pita bread at the grocery store.  At first I did not care for them.  I made a wrap sandwich with one and thought it was bland with a grainy consistency.  Then I tried making a flatout pizza.  Now flatouts are a staple grocery item at my house. 

Last night I made a veggie pizza using some fresh green bell peppers.

Ingredients (1 serving):
1 Italian herb flatout
¼ cup Bertolli marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella, part skim low moisture
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
¼ green bell pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.  Brush the tablespoon of olive oil evenly on both sides of flatout.  Place oiled flatout directly on oven rack for 5 minutes. (tip: try to get the edges lined up with the grills so it does not curve too much as it cooks).  Remove the flatout and spread on sauce, cheese and topping as desired.  Place loaded flatout directly on oven rack for 5 more minutes. Time to eat! 

Having the basic ingredients on hand for this recipe have prevented me from splurging on fast food at times when I am eating alone, busy, or just tired.  Mainly because it’s so quick and easy, and oh so delicious!    

Have you tried flatouts yet or something similar?  Any recommendations for toppings?  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cooking Light

Bond and I rarely go out to eat during the week and only occasionally on weekends so most of our meals are home cooked.  Bond, for those of you who forgot is my wonderful husband.  He has a family history of heart disease.  This information motivated him to get healthy through diet and exercise.  So when we started dating I was educated to his healthy eating habits.  I do not want to mislead you, I have never been able to eat anything I wanted, but I usually only considered the calories, and often indulged on fatty and high sodium foods.  Now I try to cook low calorie, sodium, and fat. 

I admit calories are the easiest for me to keep track of, but keeping track of them leads to healthier choices in the other areas. I try to keep each meal at 500 calories or less per serving.  When I use the term “serving” I do not mean bite size, I mean a full plate of food, because I like to eat!  Another important thing to know is my recipes are pretty simple.  Not many ingredients, simple instructions, and quick to put together.

Last night I made a basic meal…Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

20 oz. or 1.25 lbs ground extra lean ground turkey
13.25 oz or a box of Whole Wheat thin spaghetti
18 oz of Bertolli Tomato & Basil marinara sauce (about ¾ of a jar)
3 tbl chopped garlic
Optional: mushrooms sliced or parmesan cheese

I love this recipe especially because it’s so easy to put together.  Prepare the pasta as directed and set aside.  Brown the turkey meat.  Mix in the garlic and then add the sauce and heat through.  Top  the spaghetti with the saucs then add mushrooms and grated parmesan if desired.

This makes 5 servings @ 457 calories if you use approximately the following portions:
4 oz of turkey @ 120 cal
1 1/3 cup of spaghetti @ 252 cal
3.5 oz or ½ cup of spaghetti sauce @ 80 cal
Garlic @ 5 cal

Then factor in any toppings or make a great vegetable on the side, like green beans, asparagus, or broccoli.  On a busy night when I'm exhausted I like to grab a steam fresh bag of mixed vegetables and the store bought jar of minced garlic.  

I did not make additional vegetables last night, just mushrooms for Bond.  Usually I will make a side of green beans or asparagus.  What do you like to serve with or add to your spaghetti recipe?  

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Lent began last week on Ash Wednesday. Lent for those who are unfamiliar is a Christian name for the time period leading up to Easter.  Traditionally it is a time to reflect and remember the sacrifices made for man.  Many people do this by giving up something they enjoy in their daily life.  I have done this mostly with food items because they tend to be one of my biggest vices, and thus the most difficult to give up.  I have also practiced adding something into my day to better myself, including vitamins, exercise, reading news or the bible.  This year I am giving up pastries, especially donuts, which are currently one of my biggest vices. 

Are you giving up anything for Lent?  Or maybe adding something to your daily routine? If so, what is it and why?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Motivation for a Workout

I truly enjoy a good work out.  But I have problems motivating myself to actually start the workout.  First there is the problem of where you work out.  Motivation to go to a gym is something I have not been able to achieve since graduation.  I found that once I started working full time I just could not make it to the gym regularly.  20 pounds later my solution was purchasing an elliptical for my home. You are probably thinking how expensive was that?  I did it through Sears 12 months no interest and the monthly payment over 1 year was not much more than a 12 month gym membership.    

Once I had the equipment in my house it became a challenge to motivate myself to actually get on the machine, especially with all the distractions at home. There are typically three times of day for those of us who work full time to fit in exercise: morning, lunch time, and after work.

Morning workouts are especially hard for me because I hate getting out of bed.  Not just where working out is concerned but for any reason at all.  I just hate leaving that warm cocoon of alternative feathery softness.  (I am allergic to real feathers, but that is another topic).  Every once in awhile I am forced to do a dreaded morning workout due to some unavoidable activity taking place after work.  On the rare occasion I accomplish this the day usually involves a red bull in addition to multiple cups of coffee.

As for an afternoon workout, I am not one of those lucky women who can work out on her lunch break, although my office has a gym and very clean showers.  There are a couple reasons why exercise in the middle of the day is not an appealing option for me.  First, there is not enough time on my lunch break for the workout I want to do.  Like most people, I have 30 minutes to an hour for lunch, but I like to do about 45 minutes of cardio.  I realize of course that I do not have to do 45 minutes, but when counting calories it really helps.  Second, it takes time to get ready to go back to work.  For me it includes a shower, blow dry, straighten and make-up.  When my hair air dries I have a frightening morning after look, not office appropriate.  In the end I would have to cut my work out in half to allow time to be presentable, plus bring all that stuff with me from home. For me that is just not worth the hassle.

Currently I am focusing my efforts on working out after work.  This challenge is that by 5 p.m. (if that’s when I leave the office) I am pretty tired and want to just relax. So I trick myself.  I put my elliptical in front of a television and a tivo.  On this tivo I record my guilty pleasure shows, the things my husband can’t stand, but I can’t give up.  This is a rather embarrassing list of some of the worst programming known to television, especially for a 28 year old woman, including America’s Next Top Model, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, the Secret Life of the American Teenager, Pretty Little Liars, ok pretty much anything on the CW or ABC Family.  Now if I want to watch these shows I have to get on the elliptical, and the workout goes by much faster without commercials.  Of course in reality you can watch a show without exercising, but trust me you start to feel like a lazy slug watching a show while the elliptical sits idly by. 

This trick works with other electronics too.  My mother-in-law started working out to her Netflix account.  She put her machine in the room with her computer and got an extender for her headphones, and then watches television shows and movies through her instant play Netflix account.  

How do you motivate your workouts?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I want to introduce myself and say a little about why I decided to start blogging. 

I am 28 years old.  I am an attorney who recently married another attorney. We live and work in Oklahoma City, have two dogs, a German Shepherd and Black Lab, and no children yet, but we do want a family someday.  We are active in our church and recently agreed to take over and revamp the young adults group.  Bond is on the board of a non-profit and I try to participate as often as possible.  I work out a lot. I like to cook which leads to us eating most of our meals at home.  I love to read, so much that I am currently in 2 book clubs!  I enjoy traveling when time and money allow.  I spend most weekend “free time” (I use this term loosely) with family and friends.  Some of the standard activities include dinners, brunch, football games, movies, and anything else fun I can think of. 

I consider my life to be typical of American’s in their mid 20’s to late 30’s.  Not based on the specific way I choose to spend my time, but in the overwhelming amount of things I commit to.  Whether the need to commit is derived from obligation or pure enjoyment, it can still stretch you to a very real breaking point. 

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert in anything and do not profess to be one.  I am simply trying my best to balance all the things I have to do with all the things I want to do.  I believe it is possible to find a balance that allows you to be happy, fulfilled, and sane.  And I need as much help as anyone to find it.  

I have found great ideas and grown by reading other blogs and hope that by sharing the things I do it may help someone else. I also hope that by creating a space for you to share with me I will continue to learn and improve myself.  Maybe in the process I will be able to find a balance, or at least manage the clutter without losing my mind.