Cheddar Corn Muffins

Yesterday morning I had a desperate craving for a McDonald’s sausage biscuit.  I kept telling myself “it’s only $1, you can swing by the drive thru on the way to work.”  I was putting my stuff together for my Souper Friday lunch at work (for any new readers I bring soup on Friday’s for the office), got dressed and ready to go. 

And then I saw my smoothie blender on the counter, and realized I could make a smoothie in a matter of a minute.  No coffee in this one, I had another travel mug for my coffee. Open-mouthed smile

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My lower back has been aggravating me lately.  My run felt fine on Thursday, but yesterday I decided to ride the bike to alleviate some of the stress on my back. 

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Since I am going to be spending the day with my family, I’ve decided today is going to be my rest day and see how my back feels tomorrow.

One of the partners at the firm I work at LOVES my buffalo chicken chili.  I always tell her first when I decide to make it and bring it in.

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I had this in the crock pot and by 11:30 it was heated through so I sent an email that “soups on” and then went to the gym.  When I got back, I almost thought there wasn’t going to be enough for my lunch!  I had this bowl, and there was about 1.5 cups left out of the whole batch – winning!

I decided to make cheddar corn muffins on the side.  This is a full metal jacket corn muffin, and while delicious, I am going to play around with lowering the amount of butter to make it lighter.  I didn’t figure out the calories until this morning, and my boss said she ate three!

Cheddar Corn Muffins

  • makes 12 – each one: 213 calories, 12 fat, 20 carbs, 1 fiber and 5 protein

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray your muffin tin.  Mix dry ingredients together, then add 1/2 of the cheese and mix well.

In another bowl, mix the butter, milk and egg.  Combine wet into dry, mixing only enough to incorporate the ingredients.  Do not overmix.

Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full.  Divide the remainder of the cheese over the tops of the muffins, press the cheese down just a bit, and bake for 20 minutes.

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These were delicious!  The outside texture had a bit of crunch to it, but the inside was light, tender and fluffy.

And guess what last night was?? Party Pizza Friday!  While it’s been a while since I’ve made my own pizza, Tony picked up a 10 inch $5 dollar pizza when he was out running errands.  We added some cooked bacon, a bit more cheese and I had goat cheese added to my side.  I had three delicious slices.

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Speaking of goat cheese, I scored and got a 16 ounce log for only $5 on the discount rack.  Do you have any recipes using goat cheese?  I think its my favorite cheese.  Check out this recipe I found – serves 1!  I could make a meal out of this baked goat cheese in an ancho chile sauce:

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I am off to make some artisan bread to take to my Mom’s house, I think I’ll make the rosemary salt and one with cheddar cheese:

rosemary bread

cheddar bread

Hope you have a great weekend!  I will try to enjoy our 40 degree weather before a cold snap comes through – starting tomorrow and a few days after that, we’ll be lucky to make it to 10 degrees!  I’ll still take cold over snow any day though. Open-mouthed smile

See you Monday!

Family Day!

I thought it was appropriate to take a picture of my icy cold breakfast in an icy background!  It was a tad bit overcast yesterday morning!

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I added a tad more coffee to this batch too, hence the darker color. Open-mouthed smile

My lower back was sore yesterday morning.  I was on the fence about working out at all, but then I told myself, just go, and if it continues to hurt, just stop.  I know me.  If I skip a workout, then I find it really easy to find excuses to skip the next one.

So I went.  I knew I wanted to run.  I walked for 3 minutes on the treadmill, and then put it at a 4.8 mph pace.  I know that it takes me at least 10 or 15 minutes to get comfortable running until I don’t think about it.  Turns out I was just fine, and towards the end I was up to a 5.5 mph pace.

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So in the words of Nike: 

Just Do It!

I realized when I was downloading my pictures that I never took a picture of my lunch – it was leftover chicken fried rice with extra broccoli and bean sprouts.  I may have added a touch of sriracha to my dish.

When Tony picked up the chicken breasts that were on sale the other day, they also had chicken legs and chicken thighs for .68 cents a pound.  I decided to have an “indulgent” dinner and made fried chicken and cheezy rice.

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While the fryer got to temperature, I soaked the chicken in milk and hot sauce.  Then I put flour that I seasoned with seasoned salt, pepper and paprika, and double dipped the chicken.

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How the hell did that Frank’s hot sauce get on my chicken??!!  Sadly, the thighs were undercooked, so we each had a drumstick.  I thought I might be hungry later on, but I wasn’t Open-mouthed smile

Long time readers will remember that my Uncle passed away last summer.  My Aunt and Uncle were together since the 80s, but didn’t get married until about ten years ago.  Hannah loved him so much!  It broke my heart when I had to tell her that he passed away.

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My Aunt spent the fall rehabbing their house, not only because it needed it, but because it was probably a good distraction to keep her busy.  I know this sounds weird, but I always knew that if my Dad died first, my Mom would be fine, however, if my Mom had died first, I would have had to take care of my Dad.

Both my Mom and Aunt are strong women – actually, most of the women in our family are strong.  We struggle, get knocked down, but we always find our feet to stand up.

My Aunt is coming to Chicago this weekend!  I’ll be spending the day at my Mom’s house tomorrow, they are going to see The Book of Mormon on Sunday and then flying to Vegas for the week.  Lots of shows and food will be had! Open-mouthed smile

I am picking up Hannah, my sister and her family will be there, so it will be a fun day. Lots of laughing for sure!

Today for Souper Friday at my office I am making my buffalo chicken chili and cheezy corn bread muffins.  I’ll have the muffin recipe tomorrow – they are baking right now as I am typing and smell amazeballs!

Make it a great day!

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Swimming Envy

I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this almond mocha green monster.  I thought I would miss chewing my breakfast, but this is so delicious and filling I could literally drink one of these every day.  And I like the fact that it takes me my 30 minute drive to work to drink it.

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And I don’t even mind that it’s cold outside to drink it. Open-mouthed smile  It’s been chilly, but it’s blue skies, so you won’t get any complaints from me.  I still don’t wear a winter coat though.  I warm up the car before I leave and I am not really outside too much. Thumbs up

I’ve been a bit sore the last couple days – nothing terrible, but certain muscles I am hitting now with strength training are screaming back a bit.  I decided to swim because that always loosens me up.  I swam for 30 minutes without stopping – it’s a great all body workout.

There were two other women in the swim lanes next to me.  They were beautiful swimmers.  They seemed to glide through the water while it looked like I was just trying to keep my head above water.  They easily lapped me over and over again – and when my head was under water, I realized one of the swimmers had a float between her legs and was only using her upper body strength!

Long time readers know that my grandma tried to have me join the swim team in high school, even though at that time I REALLY couldn’t swim.  She even went so far as to call the swim coach to ask if her granddaughter could join the team if I couldn’t swim.  Obviously the answer was no – and the swim coach ended up being my homeroom teacher and when he realized it was me that the woman was talking about, never let me forget the fact that my grandma tried to get her non-swimming granddaughter on the swim team. Open-mouthed smile

Which is why I ended up playing field hockey, indoor track, outdoor track and softball – there wasn’t any time to learn how to swim better!

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Lunch is one of my bosses favorites – chicken tikka masala.  I ended up marinating the meat overnight, and then making the rice and cooking the chicken before work.  When I went to grab my ingredients, I realized I only had one small can of tomato sauce and it calls for two.  I ended up subbing in one cup of chicken broth and it turned out delicious. 

The other day when I said my jalapeno tasted to mild it could have been an apple?  Um, this one was supa spicy.  But with the combination of the rice and broccoli, it may have made our noses run a bit, but totally delicious.

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I knew I’d have plenty of leftover cold rice, so Tony had dinner duty last night.  He actually did me a favor yesterday – I realized one of the grocery stores I go to for awesome meat sales had a chicken breast sale that was ending yesterday – he ended up getting a 10 pound bag of chicken for $14.23!

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The sell by date is the 19th, so tonight I’ll portion it out and freeze it.  Thanks Tony!

So he ended up making us chicken fried rice – it’s so good, and while he gave me this giant bowl just for me, we both had plenty of leftovers.

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I am off to make my bosses breakfast – a breakfast baked potato, while I make another green monster for myself. Open-mouthed smile

I saw this picture on facebook yesterday – too cute!

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Make it a great day!  I plan on running today at lunch. Open-mouthed smile

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Breakfast Wontons

I am making breakfast for one of my bossed three days a week.  While she does pretty good with healthy lunches and dinners, breakfast just stumps her.  Other than yogurt and some fruit. she can’t wrap her brain around eating “real” food, i.e. non-diet food for breakfast.

Enter the breakfast wonton.  I love wonton  wrappers.  My store normally sells them for .99 cents.  I use them to make crab rangoon breakfast wontonslasagna wonton cups, sweet potato wontons with a spicy asian dipping sauce, and Hannah’s favorite, pork and vegetable pot stickers.

To make the cups, I spray my 12 cup muffin tin, press the wonton skins down and press to make sure the wonton in the tin, and bake at 350 for about 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.  Keep an eye on these – they can go from done to burnt in a matter of a minute (not sure how I know that – ha!)

I left them on the counter overnight, and yesterday morning transported them to my office in a plastic container – these are pretty delicate.  I made this recipe two servings, or six cups per person, however I am putting the calories for each one below.

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Breakfast Wontons

Each cup:  51 calories, 1.7 fat, 5.3 carbs, .9 fiber and 3.9 protein

  • 12 wonton skins
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of jarred roasted red pepper, chopped (about 2)
  • 1/3 cup canned black beans
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese
  • 1 100 calorie pack of Wholly Guacamole
  • cilantro

Bake the wonton skins as directed above.  Scramble the egg whites, red pepper and black beans.  At this point, I just put that mixture in another container, and had my cheese, guacamole and cilantro packed in my lunch bag.

When I got to work, I sprinkled the cheese on top of the egg mixture and nuked for a minute.  I divided that mixture evenly among the wonton cups, divided the guacamole evenly and topped with a cilantro leaf.

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When I brought this plate to my boss (I made her apples instead of my strawberries), she couldn’t believe she could have “all this food” and still be on plan.  I am trying to change her conception of a healthy lifestyle vs. dieting, one breakfast at a time. Open-mouthed smile  She loved it! Open-mouthed smile  The touch of cilantro was nice too.

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It was my last chance work out before my WI today.  I’ve been incorporating a lot more strength training this year, and I am liking it!  Pinterest to the rescue again:

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This one is harder than it looks – it took me 15 minutes to do three complete sets of each superset.

Then it was on to the StairMaster:

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Holy shizz.  First of all, I had no idea that a StairMaster actually went to 16, and second of all, level 16 for someone who is short like me, is actually running!  I did modify the above – I couldn’t do the 10, 12, 14 and 16 back to back – so in between I added another minute that was at level 2 so I could catch my breath.  So this ended up being a 30 minute workout with cool down.  Go ahead and try level 16 and let me know how you do.

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When I got back to the office, I made chili mac – you can’t see it but I have 1/2 cup of leftover pasta, 1 cup of spinach and chili and cheese.  I let the chili sit for a minute, then stir it together, the spinach gets nice and wilty.

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You know what’s great about getting closer to spring?  It’s light outside when I leave work!  Granted, it’s dark by the time I get home, but I’ll take it.  You can even see the moon at the top of the picture. Sleeping half-moon

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I had some leftover Italian sausage I needed to use up, so I made some pasta sauce.  I had frozen cheese ravioli in the freezer and when I looked at the serving size, it said three for 210 calories – I was going to cook five or six for myself!  But, I stuck with the serving size, and served it on a bed of baby spinach, and 1/2 cup of pasta sauce.  It was the perfect serving size all together.

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Last week I talked about how Tony and I are competitive when it comes to app games on our phones.  He usually gets a high score and I beat it, and like to let him know every once in a while.

Well, Tony has dominated me in the Lingo word game – he’s up to 50 words in a row, and I’ve only gotten to 18.  It’s only a matter of time, but I guess I’ll let him gloat for now. Open-mouthed smile

Right now my kitchen smells like an Indian restaurant – I am making me and my boss chicken tikka masala for lunch. Can’t wait!

So here’s my WI this week – I didn’t get the picture quick enough, but I gained .6 this week for a two week loss of 2.8.

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I am okay with it though.  I know I killed it on my workouts, my eating was good, I am feeling muscles I haven’t felt in a while with the strength training.  I look at it like the Biggest Loser – the first week is always big, the second week is notoriously not, but I am staying the course, because I know this is the right lifestyle for me. Open-mouthed smile

Brooke put this on her facebook page the other day – thanks for sharing it Brooke!  If this video doesn’t motivate you to move today, not sure what will.  Make it a great day!

Wisconsin…More than Just Farts and Beer

Tony would like to delight your Tuesday morning with a guest post.  Take it away Tony!

While watching the Packers go down in flames over the weekend (They were humiliated 31 to 45), I remembered back to the days when I lived among them.

The company I worked for wanted to open an office in Wisconsin. I was newly married (first wife) and we looked around the Sheboygan area. We settled on an idyllic home a block from Lake Michigan. In those days the lake levels were very high, so storms would claim a house or two a year. It was near a little town, and that town hated us, so we shopped in the next little town over. They seemed to enjoy our money.

I then went out among them. They seemed friendly enough, but they spoke oddly. They had a different accent that was new to me. It is now immortalized in the movie Fargo. I slowly got to know more of them. We made friends with a Chiropractor and his wife who shared my office. We learned new words like bubbler (drinking fountain) stop –n-go lights (traffic lights). We learned that if you wanted a cola you did not ask for pop, soda is the correct word. I was quite often referred to as a FIB, I suggest you look it up in the urban dictionary, as unlike Biz, I won’t use such language, my Mommy reads this!

I don’t mean this is an insult to all of the Wisconsinites, but some were a tad….slow. I actually had to call the library to prove to my secretary that Sheboygan’s name was not an Indian Chief’s reaction to having another male child.

It was a simpler life, no traffic but to my first wives horror, no Marshall Fields. The malls largest store was Sears. They did open a Wal-Mart right as we left; it was big news in town.

Parties always and I do mean always included bratwurst. I don’t mind brats, but after a while c’mon, daddy needs a friggen Italian beef! Pasta was not widely understood. I learned that ordering it was suicidal. Pizza, oh don’t get me started on the pizza. Also, my Chicago connection automatically made me a mob member. I went to a few Brewers games, and was introduced to tailgating. This is where you bring a grill and drink so much you really drunk before you get inside the stadium. Also, fires rage all around as people dropped their hot coals into trash bins. This was before they spent over $300 million to build Miller Stadium.

My son Joey was born in Sheboygan. We got out pretty quick after that, I was afraid the boy might grow slow. This could cause him to like the Packers. This is not something I could live with. Sexual orientation, hairstyles, whatever makes him happy, but I will not have a Packer fan spring for my loins!

To the Wisconsin readers…I will type very slow now…I HATE THE PACKERS!

Also, to Louise. I know the Packers utter destruction at the hands of mere children must hurt. In my house it was awesome!!

Ha – thanks Tony!  Seriously though, even though I’ve lived in Chicago pretty much my whole life, I had never been to Wisconsin before meeting Tony.  We’ve been up several times and Hannah and I even made a trip to Milwaukee when she was getting in miles practicing getting her drivers license.

And I’ve had the pleasure of meeting blog reader Mel twice – hi Mel!  Congratulations on getting engaged!

Yesterday was the first test run of my new blender!

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I will eventually take the stickers off, but I thought it was funny.  I made another Almond mocha green monster.

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It worked great!  The best part – having the perfect size travel mug, with a lid!  I do need to get new straws though – the plastic ones kind of never get really clean after a while.  It was nice not having to chew the apples and almonds in my smoothie!

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Pinterest was the inspiration for my workout yesterday.  I decided to do the following:

no gym

I cannot do bench lifts for my life – my shoulders have no flexibility whatsoever, so I ended up doing 3 sets of 20 tricep extensions.  This surprisingly took me 20 minutes to complete, so I had to reduce the time on my next exercise to 25 minutes:

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And for the last two minutes, I had the incline on 20% and the resistance at 8 – I was sweaty when I got done!

Over the weekend I made two point naan bread.  It’s really super easy, you just need to plan ahead – because it does need to rise slowly for 3 hours.

Naan Bread

makes 12 naan – each one:  107 caloires, 3.4 fat, 16 carbs, 1.6 fiber and 8.3 protein.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk (you could use 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt)
  • 2/3 cup tap water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and yeast together.  Stir in the almond milk, tap water and olive and mix well.  Put on a floured counter and knead for about five minutes.  Let rise for 3 hours.

Using a bench scraper, separate the dough into six pieces, then in half again for 12 sections. Heat up a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.  Brush just a touch of the dough with the melted butter, and cook each side for about 2 minutes – you’ll know it’s time to flip when you see the bubbles on the top of the bread – kind of like when you are making pancakes.

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naan

I love the little charred marks on the naan!  I marinated some chicken breasts in a touch of olive oil, lemon juice (with the lemon rind) and some Greek seasoning and left it overnight.  It was super lemony!  I made a Greek chicken naan sandwich with carrots and apple on the side – with tzatziki sauce for dipping.

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And dinner was super quick – easy to do on a weeknight – my Cincinnati chiliKim recently made it with ground turkey (and green onions!)

Mine had sliced jalapenos!

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Do you notice something that might be missing there?  Kidney beans! While I leave Tony’s bean free, I always add them to mine.  Sadly, they were in the microwave and I forgot, yet I took insulin to include the beans.  I was moping the kitchen floor after dinner and I could start to feel the sweat pour down my back – my blood sugar was 48 – fudge.  So I ate a banana dipped into my granola as my “dessert.”  Crises averted!

Sadly, my jalapenos tasted like and apple – not spicy at all. Sad smile

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I wanted to give a shout out to Jacky who PR’d in a polar half marathon in Chicago over the weekend – way to go!  She was home with her son who was sick yesterday – best line her son said?  “It’s kind of like your my butler for the day!”  Hope he’s feeling better today!

Alright kiddos, you know the drill, off to put my shit together – I have black bean and roasted red pepper breakfast wontons on tap for breakfast – be sure to come back tomorrow for the recipe. Open-mouthed smile

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