Everything is coming up Roses..

30 04 2009


Well not everything.. but classes are over for the semester! I only have 2 finals, I loved spinning today and I am in a rosey kinda mood!

I went to the gym after my last class! I was too early for the next spinning class there so I did the elliptical and did my own spinning class! I re-familiarized myself with how to work the bike and got a fantastic workout in. I am really excited to do several classes tomorrow

Neghborhood walk with Jack

Two finals! I started studying today.

Car Inspection stuff ( Where I used to live you never had to get an annual inspection so I’m still not used to the whole thing. Luckily, Jeff knew exactly what I needed to do so we will be taking care of that tomorrow).


I woke up 30 minutes earlier than yesterday! I had this funny dream just as I woke up. I was hiking by myself in this crazy gorgeous mountain/rainforest, it was somewhere honeymoon related. I was trying to meet up with Jeff on the hike and I heard a cell phone ringing  on this slinky bridge ( above a deep raveen). I ran across the bridge and picked up the phone. As soon as I grabbed it to say hello, I woke up realizing it was my alarm clock. How funny! 

Jeff cut me fresh roses from our rose bush in the backyard- SUPER FIANCE scores again.

I took Jack for a walk and it was so GORGEOUS outside! 80 and very breezy so it seemed just a tad cooler. Ah. When I cam home from the walk- I found this in the mail!1 BLOG 014
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Free barney butter sample! I keep seeing bloggers ranting and raving about this but they spend about $8 a jar on it- so I have been dying to know what the fuss is. Thanks Heather of Hangrypants for emailing me the link so I wouldn’t miss out on the samples!

Early Breakfast:
Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Fruit and PB2
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It looks small but this is actually a whole serving, 1/2 cup dry oats made with about 3/4 cup water.
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Late Morning I made a quick lunch to take with me on the way to class- I had already packed my camera so no photo- but it was a smoothie! Jay Robb is back! It had 1/2 scoop jay robb, water, blueberries, cherries and some yogurt.

Lab :
Random Cookie ( one of the professor’s made these, they were AWESOME! I must get the recipe from Dr. Fisher ( Sarah- she made them right?) . They were almond meringues I assume, basic meringues made with almond flour. They are wheat/gluten free and delicious. Chewy and soft but incredibly light.  Oh and I had a Diet Soda for the caffeine ( I would have gone to the cafe for tea or coffee but it was too far and class was starting)…
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and Fudge! I had 2 of the small-ish pieces
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I could taste the corn syrup, it was very sweet! I prefer richer fudge as opposed to a sweeter fudge. The higher fat is usually more satiating. This was delicious though!

Afternoon/Post-Workout Snack
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A whole wheat wrap with some reduced fat cheeses and hot sauce..
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Still have over half of that diet coke left- I can’t drink it like I used to in college!
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I think I felt tired because I have been getting up earlier thus sleeping less. So instead of finishing off this D.C when I got home, I switched to the healthier, anti-oxidant rich Green Tea and put that guy in the fridge

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I had made extra “chicken parm” the other day,and intended to use the leftovers for a quick Chicken Marsala. However, the mushrooms we had were no good, boo. So I put the chicken in the skillet with some lemon juice and capers and voila, chicken picatta.

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On the side we had Kashi Instant Pilaf Fiery Fiesta Mix with black beans and fire roasted corn. A side salad too.

I rented Bride Wars today…. I wanted to wait to have a “girls night” to watch it together but I just couldn’t! I will see it again if anyone wants to watch it with me!


I feel the Earth move..

30 04 2009

 under my feet, I see the skies come tumblin down tumblin down…

Run: 6.4 miles Here are my stats:
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After my run I restarted my HRM and stretched. As I walked from the gym to my car I had forgotten it was on until I sat down… So I stopped it and was VERY surprised to see this…
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I always knew that after exercise, your body typically burns more calories of energy because your heart rate had been so elevated during exercise it takes awhile to slow back down. I had NO IDEA that I would have burned another 103 kcal just stretching and walking to the parking lot in 17 minutes! My HR was b/n 161 and 126 !  1 BLOG 020

What a workout!

Presentation is done!

Last day of class tomorrow and we are tasting fudge!

hmmm…One bad: I am searching for a job … One Good: Figuring out what kind of wedding to have!

The wedding “thinking” is fun but I am totally struggling with positivity during job searching. I am actually quite angry because I am so qualified for so many positions, very smart, and very hard working- yet no $$$$ . Argh.

Oh but I got up super early today and that felt fantastic! I always used to be a morning person but since classes are mostly afternoon, I have changed to sleeping in later. I am going to try to wake up earlier and earlier now though because it just makes me feel better and more productive.

Oats with water, cinnamon,fruit and PB2 Peanut Butter! I received a sample in the mail and it is actually quite tasty! Review when I try the other flavor!

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Lots of Veggies! Brussels, Broccoli, Spinach, Carrots, Water Chestnuts, Red Pepper, Mushrooms, Snow Peas

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With Ranch Tofu and Egg White Scramble and Whole Wheat Toast. 

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Turkey Tacos!

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To make:
Take ground turkey and brown it in the skillet. When its no longer pink, add an Ortega Taco seasoning packet with 3/4 cup water.

Reduced Fat Mexican Blend Cheese
Organic Baby Spring Greens
Store Bought (but still fresh!) Pico De Gallo ( Near the bagged salad and precut veggies)
Hot sauce

Wrap: Whole Wheat Tortilla.

I know my sister could do this! Right Christal?

So here is my plate:
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I made a side salad with the extra greens, added more meat, pico de gallo, salsa, cheese on that. I had veggies on the side with hummus.

“Key Lime” Bar with Vanilla yogurt underneath. 1 BLOG 010
I made these last thursday but they turned out really gooey and the crust was too hard to get at without taking out a section of the bars- so I ended up keeping them in the fridge. They are really sour but sweet, with a strong key lime flavor and crispy crust.

Food Principles Lab: Candy

29 04 2009

Our fudge recipes were cut in half but the cooling times were not adjusted – Fortunately- I was paying attention to how the fudge was cooling and just started mixing at the right time! Apparently, ours was the only fudge-success so our entire class will taste it thursday. Our nut-brittle was not so successfull…

Fudge is an example of crystalline candy ( with a “fat phase” of adding chocolate/nuts) while Nut Brittle is an example of non-crystalline prepared candy. I know it sounds opposite but that is from our lecture notes.

Chocolate Walnut Fudge 

Adapted from Joy of Cooking


1 cup sugar

¹⁄16 teaspoon salt

¼ cup half-and-half
¼ cup heavy cream

¹⁄8 cup light corn syrup

3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon pure vanilla
½ to ¾ cup English or black walnuts, coarsely chopped

Servings: About 5 pounds; 32 pieces


1. Combine sugar, salt, half-and-half, heavy cream, and syrup in a large heavy saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 mins. Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, for 1 minute. Brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brushed dipped in warm water to remove any sugar crystals that may have formed, remove from the heat.

2. Sir in chocolate until melted and completely smooth. Brush down the sides of the pan again, then set the pan over medium heat. Place a warmed candy thermometer in the pan, cook the mixture without stirring until it reaches 234°F, the soft-ball stage. Remove from the heat.

3. Float butter and vanilla on top but do not stir in (stirring at this point can cause graininess). Cool the candy to 120°F  ( if you double this recipe, cool to 110 ) by placing the bottom of the pan in COOL water to stop the cooking. * We cooled to approx. 120 and stirred inside pot.  Alternatively, pour it out onto a marble slab or baking sheet (inverted over a rack)sprinkled with cold water, without scraping the bottom of the pan.

4. When it is cool, stir the fudge in the pan with a wooden spoon or work it on the slab with a candy scraper just until it “snaps” and begins to lose its sheen. * I just stirred.

5. Stir in chopped walnuts.

6. Turn the fudge out onto an 8-inch square pan lined with buttered foil that extends over the sides. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula, dipping it in hot water as needed. Let stand for at least 1 hour.

7. Use a large heavy knife to score the fudge into 1-inch squares. Cover and refrigerated for at least 24 hours. * We just did this Tuesday so our class is tasting it Thursday- Apparently no one elses’ lab had success because the cold water they used to cool it was super cold and worked too quickly.

8. Remove the fudge from the pan and peel of the foil, Use the knife to finish cutting the fudge into squares. Served in paper candy cups.

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Hmm I can’t wait to taste it tomorrow!


Nut Brittle:

I should say How NOT to make nut brittle ?

So while we were making the fudge, our group also attempted this nut brittle twice, both times the sugar ended up cooking too quickly past 300 * and resulted in this dark, burnt sugar. 

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I knew it was burnt because my future Mother In Law makes brittle every christmas and I LOVE IT! It is nearly the same color as the peanuts- so this was way to dark in appearance for it to be right.

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Ah well- Here is the recipe:

Nut Brittle

Adapted from Mark Bittman

Time: About 20 minutes, plus cooling

Yield: Approximately 1 pound


Butter for greasing lined baking sheet

2 cups sugar

2 Tb water

1 + ½ cups roasted or raw nuts, unsalted



1. Line a baking sheet (preferably one with a low rim) with aluminum foil and use a bit of butter to grease the lined sheet.

2. Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy skillet and turn heat to medium. Stir until smooth, then cook, adjusting heat so that mixture bubbles steadily. * We were not stirring very often at all- I think this is why the mixture all of a sudden burnt because there were big clumps of sugar and it was  not a smooth mixture*  Stir occasionally until mixture turns golden brown (which it may do rather suddenly), and reaches 300 degrees.

3. Stir in the nuts and a large pinch of salt, if desired

4. Pour mixture onto greased lined baking sheet and spread out. You can score brittle with a knife when it has solidified slightly but not yet turned hard; that way, it will break into even squares.

5. Cool for about a half-hour, and then break into pieces.

6. Store in a covered container for up to two weeks

Shorter and Sweeter

29 04 2009

I have wanted to post more often but I have been so busy! It is so time consuming to write about all these things that I enjoy, and when I am running, finishing class projects/papers/presentations, going to class, job searching, studying for FINALS and now planning a wedding- it seems to get harder and harder to sit down and write! I think once I actually find a job, I can have a better schedule down of getting posts in. Until then, my posts are going to be shorter but sweeter!

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Sample Product Lunch:
A Banana Walnut Gnu Bar, A bag of Cocoa Java Almonds, a CranBran Vitatop and a Chobani

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Chicken Parm, Whole Wheat Linguini, Spinach and Artichokes with Feta

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Aerobics last night, Elliptical this morning, Running tomorrow!

Project is turned in! Sarah was the best partner ever and did an awesome job!

Presentation tomorrow for Iron- We added in product scores for taste, nutrition, overall benefit etc. for Chickpeas , Vitatops, and Iron Pills as products for Iron Sources ( we were going to do spinach but ended up with chickpeas) so it was cool that our presentation got delayed a week!

I sent out resumes to a few places in hopes of finding a job and I have list of several more places to contact as well. I am trying to keep the positive attitude I have towards everything else, but finding a job has been so hard esp. in this economy!

Today we did our lab on CANDY! We made fudge and nut brittle. Posting tomorrow am!

Jeff and I talked about some wedding details- We are gathering ideas right now so as soon as there are details to fill you all in- I will certainly post !

Hurricanes Game 7 of the Playoffs— If they win, they move on to the next round and one round closer to The Stanley Cup!
Go Canes!

Skillet Chicken Parm

29 04 2009

I am totally posting this recipe because my sisters’ husband LOVES chicken parm. Fortunately for me, my sister gave all the cooking genes to me. Unfortunately for her, she is trying really hard to learn how to cook!  So, I made these directions as simple and clear as I could!

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-Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, trimmed and pounded between saran wrap ( I buy packs that usually come with 3 breasts).

– 1/4 cup Flour ( I used Whole Grain)

-1/4 tsp Salt

-1/4 tsp Pepper
-1/8 cup Parmesean Cheese
-1 Tbs Olive Oil
-Medium Heat Skillet

Put oil into skillet and turn on medium-low heat.

Put flour, salt, pepper, parmesean cheese on a plate.

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Place Chicken breast onto plate…

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Flip breast with fork to coat both sides

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Place into heated skillet
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At this point, I let these guys cook for 8 minutes on each side. Above is what they looked like when I flipped to cook another 8 minutes on the other side. I also started boiling the water for pasta at this time because that takes about 8 minutes to cook.

*If you want to melt the cheese on top of the chicken, you can place the chicken breasts on foil/baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes at 450 *F.  However, if you add the cheese on top of the chicken after the breasts are done cooking in the skillet- it will melt on its own. *  

I served it with whole grain pasta, a little mozzarella on top and spinach with artichokes and feta. I used canned tomatoes mixed into the pasta but you can use whatever sauce you like.

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Chicken Polenta Casserole

28 04 2009

So I made chicken polenta casserole on thursday for dinner this weekend at the beach. I took the casseroles down in an insulated bag that we had filled with ice so it was still icy cold when we arrived at the beach! Here is how I did it..

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Base Layer: Polenta1 BLOG 011

Here is my recipe ( above shows a triple batch):
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp steak seasoning
1/4 cup cheese

Heat water and salt to boiling,drop heat to low and whisk in cornmeal. Whisk approx. 3 minutes or until thick and smooth. Add in steak seasoning and cheese, mix well.  Pour and spread this into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
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Casserole Filling:
1 zuchinni
1 onion
1 tsp olive oil

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans
1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice

I diced the onion and zuchinni and threw them into a medium-heat skillet with the oil. I sauteed them until fragrant and the onions were translucent/slightly brown. While this mixture was cooking, I pounded out chicken breasts and sliced into pieces. I took out the zuchinni/onion mixture 1 BLOG 013

and added my chicken to the hot, seasoned skillet.
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I cooked the chicken breasts until no longer pink inside, added back the zuchinni & onion, added the tomatoes 1 BLOG 014

and let it simmer  ( I like to say simmmmmmaaaahhh when I do this) until it gets as thick as I like.

Add this simmered mix on top of the polenta, add black beans on top, sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake at 350 until cheese is brown ( approx. 30 minutes).

I had tripled this recipe for 9 adults but we had about 1/2 of 1 of the casseroles left over. Everyone said they really enjoyed it (I had sent them a link to the first time I made it in advance to make sure they would know what was for dinner!)

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The Beach Weekend

28 04 2009

We are back and got too much sun, had so much fun and wish we were still laying on the beach. Ah… Here are some photos!

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“Our” house for the weekend…

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The gazebo..

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The ocean
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The house had a pool…I had a cocktail

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My ladies at the beach

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Chocolate Chip Pancakes at the beach1 BLOG 043

Wedding Rings on the beach

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Sisters on the beach ( my sister Christal and Me)

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Ashes on the beach ( from the fires at myrtle beach)

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My FSIL picked up these tiny seashells that had some kind of live, jiggling creatures inside

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We all thought this was fascinating, Brittany especially. 1 BLOG 060

i made fruit salad 
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andrea made a breakfast casserole
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Stacy ran over a post
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She was backing out of the driveway. Her car was stuck on it and they were going to call a toe truck. So I said “let’s all just lift up her car”. so we did. problem solved. damage below.

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We attempted to go to a bar the first night but 9 girls ( that were all smokin hot by the way) got turned away!?! It was really weird because the guy said he couldn’t let anymore people in but the place did not look full by any means ?

I got sun posioning I am pretty sure- It still hurts to put clothing or anything on because the entire back side of me is scorched. I did spray on SPF 50 but obviously not well enough and laying on the sand on my stomach most of the day was not helpful either.

So anyways- this hurts- the fiance rubbed aloe on me though ( as well as Andrea while we were there! Thanks!)

It feels much better today than yesterday…

I think I am finally finished with the write up of this Shackelton project-

I brought my laptop down with me but I couldn’t connect to the Internet for whatever reason? eh.

I am happy to see Jeff again but I really LOVE the beach. I can’t imagine getting married anywhere else after this weekend.