WIAW #3: Veggie Couscous Mix {What I Ate Wednesday}

It’s Wednesday – happy Hump Day!

It’s also What I Ate Wednesday! Head over to Peas and Crayons to check it out! Thanks to Jen for hosting, as always!

Breakfast

Honey flavored Chobani, ground flax, blackberries, and granola; the breakfast staple.

Lunch

Lunch was a bit more exciting. As I stood in front of my open cabinets and refrigerator last night, attempting to get creative for dinner,  I came up with this recipe. I had already put two chicken breasts in the slow cooker that morning so I would have some pulled chicken for the week (I add it to salads, dinners, etc.). I thought it would be nice to make a sort of couscous salad to get my greens, chicken, and starches together in a meal.

Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Couscous mix

Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as a side dish. The chicken is always optional if you want to make it vegetarian.

ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • one can of chicken broth (preferably low sodium)
  • 1 box of couscous (I used a box of Near East garlic and olive oil pearled couscous)
  • 2 cups of brussels sprouts
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

Chicken directions:

The morning before you make dinner, place the chicken breast in the crock pot and add enough chicken broth to cover the meat. Set to low for about 8 hours.

Dinner directions:

  • Set your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut up the sweet potato in small 1-inch chunks. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  • Trim the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Add them to the mixing bowl.
  • Toss the Brussels and ptotato pieces with some olive oil (enough to lightly coat) and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put the veggies on a sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes, tossing the veggies every 5 minutes or so while they’re in the oven.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to the box instructions.
  • Once the couscous is finished, add the roasted veggies and mix together. Add as much or as little of the chicken as you like.
  • Then add 1-ladle of the leftover chicken broth from the crock pot. This has all the yummy chicken juices. Mix together.
  • Top it off with some parm cheese and you’re ready for dinner. Easy peasy!

Snacks

Two unpictured Samoas girl scout cookies, because I wanted something sweet and I love it when they’re frozen. I also beat off hunger between the gym and dinner with a banana.

Dinner

Bernie had three chicken breasts in his fridge that were on their last days – it was time to use them or toss them. I agreed to help him cook them, but I wanted a recipe that was a little more interesting than just plain chicken. I found a recipe for broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken on Skinny Taste. I always have broccoli in my fridge and I had some left over taco cheese, so these chickens were a little more zesty.

I can’t say enough about this recipe – it was so good! Gina never seems to let me down. I paired it with some leftover broccoli for added veggies. Only change I would make – add more cheese!

What new recipes have you tried lately? Any creative cooks in the kitchen out there – share one of your easy weekday meal recipes. I need ideas!

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WIAW #2: Nonstop Hunger {What I Ate Wednesday}

Hello friends, and happy Wednesday! Since I like order and schedules (I’m weird like that) I’m going to continue with the tradition of What I Ate Wednesdays. Head over to Peas and Crayons to check it out! This month is all about adding an extra cup of veggies to meals. I think I did alright, but I know I could have done better.

Breakfast: 1 vanilla Chobani yogurt, with 1 tbs ground flax, blueberries, and some Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Hmmm. Never get tired of Greek Yogurt.

Lunch: A turkey and cheese sandwich. I feel like a little kid again every time I eat them – this was my mom’s go-to when we were kids – but it’s a little more adult now. Organic roasted turkey breast, muenster cheese, dijon mustard, baby greens, and Ezekiel bread.

and some pretty sad looking grapes. They still tasted yummy.

A couple hours later, I had an apple pie Larabar. My hunger was on fire today!

Snack: After work and a good gym session (my foot is feeling so much better! I was so tempted to run but I held back) I headed home to shower. While waiting for Bernie to finish up at the gym, I had a protein shake. Chocolate protein powder+ice+water.

Once Bernie got back, I headed over to his place to make dinner for us.

Dinner: Chicken breasts, roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli, and rice pilaf. On the sweet potatoes was some olive oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon (yum). After roasting for about 10 minutes, I added the broccoli so it wouldn’t burn. Paired with some wine, it was a perfect dinner.

What are some of your favorite eats lately? What’s your favorite way to add veggies to your meals?

WIAW #1: My First {What I Ate Wednesday}

When I first started reading healthy living blogs, I noticed that many bloggers post the meals that they eat throughout the day on their blogs everyday. From these posts, I’ve gotten some really good ideas for recipes and creative meal ideas.

Overnight Oats in a Jar -- what is that?!

I don’t do this. While I occasionally talk about my eats and my mentality on healthy eating, I don’t regularly post a list of meals that I eat throughout a given day or week. This is because, honestly – it takes time and I’m lazy/busy. I didn’t intend for this blog to become a ‘food blog’, but since I’ve learned so much from other blogs in terms of healthy meal ideas and eating whole food is such an important piece of the healthy lifestyle pie, I thought I would start posting food more often.

Which leads me to my FIRST WIAW {What I Ate Wednesday} post! I found out about WIAW from my fellow bloggers and from Jenn’s blog, Peas & Crayons. Head over to her blog and check it out!

Now for the eats. The rules of WIAW are that you post your eats from a whole day (any day, doesn’t have to be Wednesday). So without further ado…my eats from Tuesday:

Breakfast: plain Chobani with a tsp of fig butter mixed in, blackberries, and Bob’s Red Mill granola on top for added crunch.

Lunch: mixed greens topped with chopped cucumbers, red onion, and a chickpea salad. When Bernie and I were in Italy, we found a place that had this amazing chickpea salad of chickpeas, chopped tomato, onion, and peppers, olive oil, salt, pepper, tuna, and cilantro (at least those were the ingredients I could taste). I replicated it by using TJ’s fresh salsa (chopped onion, cilantro, tomato, peppers) chickpeas, EVOO, salt, and pepper to taste. It’s amazing on its own or topped on a salad. Also with lunch was roasted sweet potato and onion from dinner last night.

(sorry for the non-creative/pretty non-existent plates. This is how I pack my lunch for work.)

I snacked during the afternoon on a couple of these babies!

Dinner: Amy’s Vegetable and Lentil soup and a grilled sandwich on Ezekiel bread with roasted turkey, muenster cheese, and dijon mustard. Hit the spot!

What are some of your favorite eats lately? I’m obsessed with fig butter lately – so good!

Trader Joe’s Lovin’

Happy Friday everyone! Who’s pumped up for the weekend?!

In Boston, we have quite a few choices for grocery stores; Shaws, Star Market, Market Basket, Hannaford, Stop and Shop, Whole Foods, etc. But the one that has a special place in my heart is Trader Joe’s. I remember being introduced to TJ’s in college. We never had one growing up in Upstate New York and when I discovered the little grocery store, my mind was blown. Healthy, creative, fun food items for cheap!? It’s a miracle!

When I was in college, the closest TJ’s was in the Back Bay, about a 20 minute walk from the NEU dorms and about a 30 min walk from my apartment Junior/Senior year. It was pretty easy to hop on the T and head down. Then I discovered the other TJ’s in Coolidge Corner – a larger TJ’s that sold beer and wine. Amazing.

I now live 1 mile from the Coolidge Corner TJ’s, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s close enough for me to walk, but if I need a lot of things, I have to drive or wrestle the T with bags of groceries.

So this past weekend, I took the car and headed down to TJ’s for my weekly shopping. I haven’t been in a few months and I now know why I don’t go very often – I always leave with a big grocery bill. Oops. Oh well.

Two of my impulse buys are Quinoa and Black Bean chips and Fig Butter. The chips are amazing! They have a light taste with a hint of lime and are reallllyyyyyy crunchy! Yumm! 🙂

The fig butter is also equally amazing.

It tastes like the inside of a fig newton, which is pretty much the best packaged cookie ever.

This morning my breakfast consisted of a sort of deconstructed “pb&j” with Ezekiel bread, fig butter, crunchy almond butter, and banana slices.

Probably one of my favorite breakfasts in a while. I think this fig butter would be perfect with some sort of grilled cheese with prosciutto and brie. Hmmm.

What are some of your favorite new foods? Have you ever been to a Trader Joe’s? Any exciting plans for this weekend?

Back to Normal

Please tell me I’m not the only one feeling this way?

Boston has been beyond beautiful this week. Today it’s supposed to hit a high of 80 degrees. 80 degrees in MARCH?!

Yesterday a few coworkers and I took advantage and ventured out of the stuffy office for some lunch al fresco. Best decision ever. My manager also held one of our weekly meetings outside. 9:30 am and already warm enough to have a meeting outside. Also, best decision ever.

Warm days also mean  cold breakfasts. Overnight oats in a jar tupperware are back.

Things have been pretty low key over in Sarah-land ever since the marathon this past weekend. I did my first real workout last night – my normal Wednesday night spin class. My spin instructor was not there since she had her baby! Apparently, she emailed everyone at the gym on Thursday morning saying, “Yeah, I’m not feeling too great today. I probably won’t be teaching tonight.” And then the next day, she had a daughter. I sure hope I’m like that; working out until the bitter end. She gave birth a week early, too. It must have been all that spin!

I think Friday might be my entrance back into running. I have a 5k in about 3 weeks, so I can’t stop completely. I plan on keeping my running schedule the same, running 3 days a week, but just at a decreased intensity in terms of distance. I plan on incorporating some speed work over the next few weeks to get my legs moving for the 5k. Otherwise, it’s smooth sailing for the next few months until half-marathon #2 training begins in August. I’m excited.

On tap for this weekend:

  • Dinner at Bernie’s parents’ tonight. 🙂
  • Painting! Bernie and I are going to finally finish painting his condo. It’s been such a process, but it will finally be done!
  • Boston Restaurant Week date night on Friday at Mooo. Steak=happy boyfriend.
  • Sleep. I haven’t slept past 8am on a weekend morning in a long time. It’s going to be glorious.

 

Readers: Has the weather been unseasonable where you live this March? How have you been enjoying it? What do you have on tap for this weekend – I want to know!

10 Things

I know, you’re probably thinking, “Where is the Travel Tuesday post?!” Not to worry – it will be back next week. I wanted to do a final write up about mine and Bernie’s experience with Contiki, and I want to make sure it covers everything, so I need another week to finish it. TT will be back next week, promise :).

Spring is all about renewal, new beginnings, and loving life. With the warm weather finally approaching and Spring around the corner, I thought I would share some things that I’ve been loving/am thankful for with Spring around the corner.

1. Red onions. They make EVERYTHING better.

2. Zucchini fries. Just zucchini cut long, dredged in egg white, then coated in breadcrumbs (mixed with parm cheese, salt, pepper, onion powder) and baked at 425 degrees for 20 min, flipping twice. Yum Yum Yum!

3. This weather! Yesterday it hit over 70 degrees in Boston. I rode home from work with the windows down and the sun roof open. This makes me VERY happy!

4. My body/my body’s strength and resilience. I’ve lasted 15 weeks of training for my first half marathon without anything worse than some tight hips and IT band. Injuries have been avoided and I feel stronger, faster, and more sure of myself. I can’t wait to run 13.1 miles on Sunday!

5. Naps. I took a nap Sunday night after a morning filled with an 8 mile long-ish run and grocery shopping. I told Bernie I felt tired, so I went and laid down for a quick power nap. 2 hours later, he woke me up and asked me if I was going to cook dinner. This is a rare occurrence – I never nap. Honestly, Bernie might be onto something with these naps. I felt pretty good afterward.

6. Foam roller. An absolute lifesaver. My life was changed forever when I was told by my orthopedist to try it out. My muscles have changed forever. Thank you, Foamy.

7. Bernie. I know it’s corny to be thankful for your boyfriend, or whatever, but he’s been amazingly supportive during my grueling training (aka: “Pretending you’re a Kenyan” he says). He’s also been my partner in crime with everything. I’m moving in with him come August, and it’s been fun redoing his condo and making it more of a home before I join. I’m getting really excited to live together!

8. My mom’s soda bread. She makes it every March around St. Patrick’s Day and has been sending me a loaf every year since I went away to college. My mom isn’t Irish at all (she’s Dutch and Ukrainian/Polish) but my father is 100% Irish (Southern Ireland – Co. Kerry/Cork). My mom is basically honorary Irish; she made my Irish Nana proud! The soda bread is pretty awesome, and she always send some really good jam to go with it.

9. My Garmin forerunner 405. Again, another item that changed my running game forever. I don’t know how I ran for years without one.

10. French Bulldog puppies. Bernie and I have discussed getting a dog within the next year or so, and we’re leaning toward a Frenchie. If I have a puppy as cute as this one, I will be the happiest girl alive.

[image source]

 

Readers: What are some things you’re thankful for/loving right now? What are some things you’ve been doing to take advantage of the warm weather?

Date Night at Redbones

Happy Monday everyone! Is it just me, or did this time change totally screw your body clock more than the last time change?

After weighing the pros and cons of working out with a head cold on Saturday I decided to just go for it. I went to the gym and ran an easy two miles, and then hopped over to the free weights to make myself big and strong. “Not a good idea when you’re sick, Sarah” you say…well, I actually felt so much better afterward. I probably went through about 10 tissues on the treadmill alone, but my sinuses cleared up and my energy was back up. Score!

Saturday night, Bernie and I decided to go out for date night! We’ve talked about how we need to incorporate this weekly tradition into our schedule more often. It’s nice to get to go do something together without having our focus be on 10million other things we have to get done. This week, we hit up Redbones, a BBQ joint across the river in Somerville.

Bernie introduced me to Redbones last year on another date night. I immediately fell in love. Their indoor decor is so unique and funky. They have a ton of awesome beers on tap, which are constantly changing. And the food – finger licking good!

We got there with an hour-long wait for a table (this place is always packed) so I started off the night with a Paulaner Hefe-Weizen. Oh my goodness. DELICIOUS! Probably the best tasting Hefe-Weizen I’ve had in a long time. If you like this type of beer, I suggest you find it now. Bernie was jealous of my selection – he wasn’t such a fan of his choice.

Once we sat down, we ordered my favorite appetizer: fried pickles. Snooki would approve.

We also tried the catfish bites. I had never had catfish before, and they were really good.

For dinner, Bernie got the usual – The Belt, which is a mix of Texas style, Arkansas style, and Memphis style ribs and some beef brisket. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich.

One of the thing I like about Redbones, is that they offer 4 different types of sauces: a sweet sauce, mild sauce, a hot sauce, and a vinegar-based sauce. I like that you can choose, since everyone likes their bbq different.

We were stuffed after this meal! Successful date night!

 

Readers: What was one highlight from your weekend? Do any other couples out there do weekly date-nights? Any ideas for creative dates?