A Love Story… by Tony

When I was a younger man I fell in love with a taco. Not just any taco, but the Jack in the box taco. Greasy, crispy and devoid of any nutritional value. That hot little goodness laid on top of any alcohol that I had consumed like a trusted blanket. The local Jack in the Box was a place for everyone to go for food, fights and fun. It was open later than other places and it was a natural gathering place for those of us intent on wasting our youth.

In those days I was very active. Sports, mostly pickup games were common. Food for me was just something I needed to keep this machine running. I looked for mainly speed and volume. The local Chinese buffet feared me, I was amazing. In my memory this taco was the only thing I treated like a lovely women. I caressed it as I ate it.

Years passed, Jack in the box left Illinois. I forgot about my beautiful taco. I moved on. My palette now enjoyed sushi, and other expensive and exotic foods. I became friends with a guy who moved to Chicago from California. If you know anyone who has moved from anywhere on the west coast to Chicago, you will hear this every other day. “It never gets this (enter any of the following here ((cold, windy, rainy, snowy etc.)) in California”. Yesh, give it a rest. California has several issues. Firstly, people form California live there. Lots of them, far too many of them. Also they all own cars. They drive these cars everywhere and traffic sucks. They don’t have a good mass transit system, so anywhere you want to go takes hours.

So my friend did what all Californians do, he moved back to California. He invited me for a visit. I met his friends, a great group of folks. We had lots of fun going out to different eating and drinking establishments. One night after being over served I went with one of the gang to get something to eat. That’s when it happened! I saw her again, my first love. We stopped at Jack in the Box, and wham. I ate a taco. It was like being in the back seat again with and old girlfriend. She knows just where and how you like to be touched. That taco had me at the first drop of grease dripping from my hand. I had forgotten you, and I wouldn’t do that again! I traveled a lot in those days, and I always looked for the sign. The beautiful sign that always meant hey, I’m here and I miss you. That round headed, smiley face sign.

One day, I was listening to the radio. The DJ was a huge fan of the taco. In fact he would drive to the nearest JITB location and buy 50 of the taco’s, freeze them and fry them as required. It was then, my world was rocked! Burger King had a knock off of the JITB taco…Huh. This was a revelation! I drove quick as I could to the nearest Burger King. There it was, on the drive through menu. two tacos for a buck. Give me 20!! They were awesome. Just like the JITB, greasy and wonderful. I then took Biz, and to my amazement she loved it too. I don’t think it was sexual for her, but she really liked it! Oh boy, both of my loves in one place…It was bliss. In what can only be known as a marketing guffaw, Burger King no longer sells the tacos. I have calls and emails into all BK execs in an attempt to rethink this horrible mistake.

While perusing the internet I found a copycat recipe. We made them and it was pretty darn good. Not JITB quality, but in a pinch they were fine. The other day Biz calls me and says she has a taste for my much loved taco. Hurray I squealed, taco night. I should have known better. I should have gotten involved, but I trusted her. She did not follow the recipe. Utter disappointment. I was crushed. She made a healthy version; she put beans in my darling taco. WHY, WHY do this horrible thing?

I will make the tacos this weekend. I will follow the recipe to the letter. I am not sure if I will share them with Biz. I will have to see if she can earn them!

Here she is in all her glory! Simply beautiful!!

Here is as link to the recipe:

http://www.food.com/recipe/jack-in-the-box-classic-beef-tacos-433674

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Thank you Tony, for this guest post and for the record, you can make me tacos any day of the week! Open-mouthed smile

So my breakfast yesterday was amazeballs.  I like to think of it as a Green Monster Quiche!

Green Monster Quiche

  • makes 4 servings: 197 calories, 9.3 fat, 8.2 carbs, 1.3 fiber and 19 protein

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup liquid egg whites
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 container plain Chobani
  • 4  cups baby spinach
  • 4 ounces baked potato
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper

Slice the potato in rounds and cover the bottom of your pie pan.  Put everything else but the cheese in a blender (I used my smoothie maker!) and process.  Pour into pie pan over potatoes.  I have one boss who loves goat cheese and another who hates it, so I put 1 ounce of cheddar cheese on one side, and 1 ounce of goat cheese on the other.

I normally bake my quiches for 45 minutes at 350, but I didn’t have that much time, so this cooked in 30 minutes at 400.  It was a win because it was breakfast for me and my one boss, and lunch for my other boss, and I still have one slice left for my breakfast today. Open-mouthed smile

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I had the goat cheese slice.

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I will definitely be making this one again.  Open-mouthed smile  I had a cup of cantaloupe on the side.

Since I was still moving shit around my office, I didn’t want to run the risk of having low blood sugar I ended up not taking any insulin at breakfast and that worked – my blood sugar was 230 before working out.

I ended up doing the Stair Master and the “fat burn” setting.  In 35 minutes I did 110 floors, or 2.3 miles.  I was a sweaty mess.

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Here is a picture of me before working out:  Not too bad!

me before workout

But then the shirt comes off and you see my belly. Sad smile

my belly

It’s hard to hide the belly with no shirt on! Open-mouthed smile  But that’s the body I have today and it let’s me do amazing things, so I am grateful for that.

Lunch was leftover chili with baby carrots and ff ranch dip.

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Thursday nights have become “spin the 50% off meat bin.”  Normally I meal plan over the weekend – for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and usually by Thursday I’ve just run out of ideas.

I lucked out on two counts – first off, I got a 2 pound block of Vermont cheddar cheese for $4.99!  Rhonda, can you believe it?

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And they had pork shoulder blade steaks on sale – I got this package at 50% off the lowest price, so it was $1.33 for two pork steaks. Open-mouthed smile

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If you’ve never had this cut of pork before, look for it.  It’s super thin, so it cooks up in no time.  I just seasoned it with salt and pepper and some Greek seasoning and cooked it up on our indoor grill pan.

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And a twice baked potato with that delicious cheese:

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I ended up eating half the pork chop, and our dog got the rest with the bone.

Today is souper Friday!  I ended up making Iowa Girl’s Black Bean Soup, but I am adding smoked sausage to mine.  On the side I also made her cilantro rice to go with the soup.  Should be a delicious lunch Open-mouthed smile

We got a couple inches of snow over night so I am off to scrape off my car.  Happy Friday – we made it!  Make it a great day!

Sometimes I hate having the sugars.

A few years ago Tony and I saw a stand-up comic.  He said he went to the doctor and found out he had diabetes.  He called his mother and said “Momma, I have some bad news.  I have diabetes.”  The Mom reacted “What do you have?!” 

He said “Momma, I gots the sugars!”  And the Mom cried “Oh no!”  Ever since then, Tony and I refer to my diabetes as “having the sugars.” 

Yesterday I did more moving of boxes and files – for about an hour, hour and a half.  Towards the end of my project I could feel some sweat start to bead on my temple.  I thought “wow, I am really working hard!”  Nope, my blood sugar was dropping.  I checked it and it was 74.  I ate an orange.  That only got it up to 85, and I knew right then that I wasn’t going to be able to go the the gym. Sad smile

I had a delicious breakfast though – hot coffee in on the left, green monster on the right. Can you see the snow?  We got our first dusting of snow yesterday – we might have 1/2 an inch maybe?

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I ended up having leftover tacos for lunch – although I have to say, not a huge fan of corn tortillas when they aren’t fried.  I ended up eating the insides because the corn tortillas were too dry – even doused in Tabasco!

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What you don’t see in this picture?  All the fricken tortilla chips I ate.  I had the bag on my desk and kept reaching my hand in the bag, scooping up some rice, putting hot sauce on it and repeat – about a dozen times.  Gah!  When will I learn that salty snacks are my kryptonite?!

When Tony bought chicken breasts for me last week, I portioned them out in 1/2 chicken breast sizes – Tony and I are now splitting a serving of meat that I would have made for both of us.  I cut this breast in half.  Dipped it in egg whites, some seasoned bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese, then Pam/1 pat of butter fried it.  Tony had buttered noodles on the side (lately he’s had an aversion to red sauce – wtf?!) I had pasta sauce and spinach mixed with my noodles.

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I loved reading about some songs that get you pumped up in yesterday’s post – several of them I’ve never heard of before.  But Jenn talked about a song that I actually was going to mention today – it’s completely crazy that I like this song, but I do.  Maybe because I am a thrift store whore?  I actually can’t remember the last time I bought any piece of clothing retail.

Can you shop at thrift stores, or are you like Tony and think all the clothes have been peed on, and donated after people die?

Be careful – there is bad language in this song – so Aimee, tell Carlos to go in the other room please. Open-mouthed smile

 

I have a spinach and goat cheese quiche in the oven – I ended up using plain Greek yogurt in it – I’ll let you know tomorrow if it turns out!

Make it a great day!  It’s going to be fucking awesome. Open-mouthed smile  (I promise you’ll be singing that song above all day!)  You’re welcome.

Will.I.Am (and Brittney Bitch)

It’s been interesting making breakfast for my one boss.  I know she likes a sweet breakfast over a savory one, not to say that she doesn’t like my potato crusted quiche, but I need to make her sauteed apples on the side for a sweet note.

But I have to keep the point value relatively low – she likes to have more points during the day.  As luck would have it, blueberries were on sale for $1.88 a pint – still not a great price, but I’ll take it.

This recipe sort of developed along the way, and we both ended up loving the results.

Blueberry Granola Pancakes

  • makes 6 pancakes – 126 calories, 3 fat, 20 carbs, 1.1 fiber and 3.2 protein per pancake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 3 teaspoons raw sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ounce granola (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mix the almond milk, butter, honey, flax seed and egg together.   Add in the flour, baking soda and baking powder and stir just until combined.  Let batter sit 15 minutes.

I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to get six pancakes.  Once I poured the pancake, I sprinkled the top of the pancake with 1/2 teaspoon of the raw sugar, 1 teaspoon of granola and about 10 blueberries. 

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The reason I liked this was because the pancakes weren’t too sweet – the sauteed apples on the side and the sugar free pancake syrup was enough – and my boss loved the crunch factor of the granola.  She said “if I could lick this plate I would!”

I had no formal workout yesterday, but I did move at work.  I did a Sam’s Club run to restock our beverage refrigerator.  I carried 12 cases of pop and orange juice from my car to the office.  Then I moved about 50 bankers boxes from one side of the office to the other – taking only one at a time – my arms were spent by the end of the day, but it was a good upper body workout!

Lunch was my zucchini lasagna, but instead of two servings, I made it four, since I wanted a salad on the side with shaved parmesan. 

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I’ve had Burger King tacos on my brain for a few days, so I decided to make them at home.  Tony, while he liked my version, said they didn’t taste anything like Burger King’s – apparently there is a copy cat recipe, and I forgot the chili powder and shredded lettuce.  I didn’t care – this cured my taco jones!

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The filling is a mixture of lean ground beef and refried beans – each taco got about 2-3 tablespoons of filing, then half a slice of American cheese and some taco sauce.  Then I fried them up in just a couple teaspoons of coconut oil.  I may have doused this plate with Buffalo Tabasco after this photo was taken. Open-mouthed smile

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So I think I mentioned it before that one of my favorite apps on my phone is called 8 track.  It’s basically a bunch of peoples mix tapes and you can search what you are looking for – soft music for hanging out in your backyard, Italian music, workout music.  The other day I heard a song that I absolutely love – it really kept me going on the stair master when I was on level 16!

It’s only gotten 83 million views on youtube, so you’ve probably never heard it before – ha!  If you need an inspirational song to get you through the last part of your workout – this is it!

Alright – off to get my shit together for the day – I spent last night catching up on the first two episodes of Girls – I love that show!

Question of the Day: What is your favorite workout song to get you pumped?

Make it a great day!

Red Cabbage and Apple Sauerkraut

Even with temperatures below zero, I still don’t mind having a green monster for breakfast!  If you haven’t tried one yet, I strongly suggest you try it – even though Tony can’t get past the color of it (or the fact that there is spinach in it) you really can’t taste the spinach!

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I tested my blood sugar before working out, and it was only 150.  I like it to be around 220 so I can work out hard since it normally drops between 100 and 120 while working out.  So I was only able to walk, but I did the treadmill at 11.5 incline for 45 minutes, so my legs were screaming by the end. Open-mouthed smile

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Depending on what time I go to the gym, my choices for Food Network are Sandra Lee’s Money Saving Meals, Melissa D’Arabian’s $10 dollar dinners or Anne Burrell’s How to Cook Like a Restaurant Chef.

All three of them kind of drive me a bit nuts, but especially Sandra – she’s too over the top and then gushes about “it’s cocktail time!”  But the other day I was about to flip the channel when I heard her say sauerkraut.

I love sauerkraut.  I can eat it out of a can cold.  But I am the only one in my house who likes it.  What was interesting is that she made a version that was with red cabbage and apples, and you could do it right on your stove top.

I was telling Jane yesterday that I tried to make my own – the recipe I had called for leaving it in the basement for two weeks, stirring it every day to let the gasses out.  At the end it just tasted like ass.  Jane’s version turned out a lot better!

Red Cabbage & Apple Sauerkraut

  • makes 4 servings:  124 calories, .8 fat, 23 carbs, 5.8 fiber and 4.5 protein

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 medium size head red cabbage, shredded thin
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 can of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Fuji apples, cored and chopped

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the cabbage (onion if you are crazeballs), garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 4 minutes.

While Sandra used beer, I was making this for my SIL as well, so I subbed in the chicken broth.  Stir in beer or broth, vinegar, mustard and brown sugar and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Add the apples, and cover partially with a lid so that the steam escapes and cook over medium low heat for about 8 more minutes. 

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At first glance I thought 1/2 a cup of vinegar was going to be too much, but this was amazeballs – perfect balance of acidity, sour and sweet from the brown sugar.

I bought some chicken apple sausages at the Fresh Market – on the side I had homemade rye bread!  Yep, a new bread recipe for me, but I don’t have time this morning to share the recipe – I will tomorrow.  I never realized that the dark part of marble rye just had added cocoa powder to the dough!

Here is what my kitchen looked like Sunday night.    Shit everywhere!

the state of my counter

My lunch plate:  Look at how pretty the swirl is in the bread!  And Tony loves it – I need to get a sandwich loaf pan so he can make sandwiches out of the next batch.

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Dinner was super quick – my weeknight Company Salisbury steak, on the side with spinach mashed potatoes.

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I have so much Biz T.V. on my DVR!  The first two episodes of Girls, Biggest Loser and American Idol – although I have to give Tony props – he watched American Idol from last week with me – he doesn’t mind the show when they show the people who can’t carry a tune!

I have exactly 20 minutes to get out the door – thankfully I am low maintenance and it won’t be a problem!  On tap for breakfast are blueberry and granola pancakes – recipe will follow tomorrow and for lunch my zucchini lasagna.  Yum!

Make it a great day!

They Love Hot Nuts!

What a wonderful weekend!  It went by in a flash though, as most weekends do. 

Saturday I spent the day with my family – my Aunt from Virginia was in town and today my Mom and Aunt are flying to Vegas for the week.  They have a couple shows they have tickets for already:

I remember seeing Terry Fator from America’s Got Talent – he is so amazing, it’s no surprise that he’s pulling big crowds in Vegas six years later.  Do you remember seeing him on that show?  They are also going to see the new Cirque de Soleil.  And of course, will be going to a few good restaurants.  We joked with them that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! Open-mouthed smile

My twin sister and Hannah:

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Us being goofy!

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My Aunt and Hannah:

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Mom’s youngest and oldest grandchildren – both of whom are taller than her!

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She made a wonderful dinner – the star of the show was this pork roast though – and she bought it at Aldi!  I don’t think I’ve ever bought meat at Aldi before, I’ll have to check it out.

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Yesterday while Tony was watching football, he realized that a few squirrels were hanging out on our deck – we’ve never seen squirrels get so close before!

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I at first threw them Cheerios, and that wasn’t a big hit.  I tried a carrot, no such luck.  I did throw them some almonds, but I wasn’t going to waste my almonds on squirrels!  So when I was at the store, Tony texted me and said “they like hot nuts!”

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I texted back “you’ll kill them!”  When I got home, he did say that after eating a couple, they were rubbing their faces on the table – I am sure wondering what the hell was so fricken hot!  I guess they won’t try to get to the bird feeder anymore!

How was your weekend?  It’s cold here today – It’s days like this I am happy I don’t work downtown.  And if anyone is wondering, I will be wearing a winter coat today. Open-mouthed smile 

  • 7°F
    • Mostly Cloudy
    • Feels like -10°F

It’s oudy

  • Feels like -10°F