a balanced plate with room for dessert

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Cheesy Sweet Corn Fritters with Sauteed Tomatoes

Cheesy Sweet Corn Fritters with Sauteed Tomatoes |

I can’t believe summer is coming to an end; how is it almost September? The last few months flew by – a blur of work, school, and so many great vacations. I haven’t been able to cook much this summer – I spent most of my days traveling for work or traveling for fun – so every moment I get in the kitchen is extra special.

Mike and I finally had a quiet weekend at home to get caught up on housework and finally relax. A trip to the farmers’ market inspired this dish packed full of local foods – sweet corn, gorgeous cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and cheese. Seriously – there is nothing quite like Wisconsin sweet corn (sorry, Cape Cod, but the corn we had out there was terrible).

Cheesy Sweet Corn Fritters with Sauteed Tomatoes |

I served these fritters with a side of zucchini noodles sautéed in a bit of olive oil and lightly seasoned with some roasted red pepper and garlic seasoning we got from Soulard Spice Shop.

Cheesy Sweet Corn Fritters with Sauteed Tomatoes|


Cheesy Sweet Corn Fritters with Sautéed Tomatoes
serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped and divided
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 – 2 small green chile peppers, minced (optional)
2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed
2 1/3 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
1 cup buttermilk (or combine 1 cup milk with 2 teaspoons white vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes)
1 egg
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons basil, roughly chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add half the onions and sauté for 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and chile peppers and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Add sweet corn and cook for two minutes, or until corn softens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set vegetables aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the corn meal, flour, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the vegetables, cheese, and basil.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the remaining onion and cook until softened, about 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook until tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
  4. Heat a very thin film of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, cook 1/4 cup scoops of batter in the oil. Cook 2 minutes per side, or until fritters are golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. Serve fritters immediately with sautéed tomatoes.

recipe adapted from Weeknight Fresh & Fast


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SNAP Challenge 2014 Day 7 (+ a pasta recipe)

SNAP Challenge Day 7 |

It’s done. Mike and I have finished the SNAP Challenge. We both agreed that this year was harder than last. We couldn’t figure out why at first – we had plenty of food (leftovers, even), but everything just seemed more difficult. We think it was partially due to the fact that we had to complete most of the SNAP Challenge apart. I also didn’t plan for enough snack foods throughout the week.

There are definitely things I’m looking forward to now that the Challenge is over – farmers’ market produce, sparkling water, breakfast sandwiches, ice cream… I actually even miss rice. Mike told me he’s craving chocolate and plans to eat chocolate everything for a day. I can’t control what he eats from 2 hours away, so we’ll see what happens 🙂

Doing this Challenge will never equate to what those who live on SNAP experience day-to-day, but this Challenge is always a great reminder of how much I have to be thankful for in life, and why I am never ever “too busy” to take time to volunteer. It reminds me to not judge people and the food choices they make. As a dietitian, my heart crumbles a little every time patrons at the food pantry choose 6 Slim Jim sticks over 4 cans of tuna. As a human, I now understand why they would make that choice.

Today we ate:

Breakfast: oatmeal with egg (me), oatmeal with agave (Mike)
Snack: apples
Lunch: pasta with zucchini and tomatoes in lemon-yogurt sauce
Snack: celery and carrots with Greek yogurt dip
Dinner: pasta with zucchini and tomatoes in lemon-yogurt sauce (me); chicken taco soup, corn on the cob (Mike)
Snack: peanut butter toast with banana (Mike)
Drinks: peppermint tea, water with lemon

Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes in Lemon-Yogurt Sauce |

Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes in a Lemon-Yogurt Sauce

13.25 ounce package whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
olive oil spray
4 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced into half moons
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, Parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted. Stir in tomatoes and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer zucchini mixture into large bowl of yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Add the drained pasta and gently toss until well combined. Add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, to thin the sauce. Serve immediately.

recipe slightly adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

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Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken and Veggies

This chicken is Mike-approved. He inhaled his entire piece before I got through a quarter of mine. I was surprised at how juicy the chicken turned out. When roasting, I usually try to use bone-in, skin-on chicken to keep the chicken from drying out. But the magical lemon-thyme sauce kept this boneless, skinless chicken breast tender and juicy and not at all dry.

Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken |

And the vegetables? They were my favorite part of the meal!

Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken & Veggies |

Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken and Veggies

for the chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced (save other half for veggies)

for the vegetables:
4 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 450F.

In a shallow dish, combine olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and lemon juice. Add chicken, turning to coat.

Lightly spray an oven-safe pan or cast iron skillet with olive oil and arrange lemon slices on the bottom of the pan. Place chicken on top of the lemon slices, pouring any remaining marinade on top.

Spray a separate oven-safe baking dish with olive oil. Add in potatoes, green beans, garlic and lemon juice. Toss to coat.

Bake for chicken and veggies for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

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Healthy Orange Sesame Chicken

This dinner might be my new go-to meal when I’m short on time and too tired to think. It was ready in about 40 minutes – and that’s only because brown rice takes forever to cook! If I were to make pasta or prepare the rice ahead of time this would be easily be a 30 minute fridge-to-table meal.
Though this dish has bell peppers as the main veggie, I bet it would be tasty with just about anything you might have on hand. I think next time I’ll try it with some broccoli. If you’re looking for a Chinese takeout version of orange chicken or sesame chicken, look elsewhere. This dish isn’t all that comparable to the sticky, overly sweet, deep fried abomination you find at the restaurant. It’s a light, easy meal that’s packed with good-for-you lean proteins and veggies.
Healthy Orange Sesame Chicken |

Orange Sesame Chicken

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 large oranges, juiced (2/3 cup juice)
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon corn starch

1-3 dried red chile peppers, minced
3 large bell peppers

1 large red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 green onions, thinly sliced

cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta for serving
  1. Prepare rice or pasta according to package directions. While rice/pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the meal.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, and corn starch. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan or wok. Add in chile peppers and bell peppers and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add in onion and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  4. Add in chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. Pour in orange juice mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until sauce is thickened.
  5. Serve over prepared rice or pasta. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions before serving.
adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

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Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I slid my way through 6 snowy, icy miles on my run yesterday. There were a few things on my mind:
  1. Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall
  2. Don’t get hit by a car
  3. Don’t fall
  4. I’m so hungry… Ooh! I have Brussels sprouts at home!
These Brussels sprouts are dangerously addictive. Even Mike, who doesn’t really care for Brussels sprouts, gobbled these up happily. He has actually been requesting roasted Brussels sprouts for the last couple weeks. I think we’re averaging 2 – 3 pounds of Brussels sprouts per week right now! 
Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts |
This recipe is a good reminder that good food doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s four ingredients: Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I still can’t get over how simple and delicious these are.
Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts |
Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts
extra virgin olive oil spray
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking pan with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Cut off the end of the Brussels sprouts. Cut Brussels sprouts in half and remove any discolored outer leaves.
  3. Place Brussels sprouts in prepared baking pan and spray with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and stir to coat. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Brussels sprouts are done when lightly browned. Season with more salt and pepper to taste before serving.


Southwestern BLT

Mike and I have had more bacon over the last month than we have over the last year. We’ve gone through two packages (gasp). I’m normally not a huge fan of bacon. When I go out to eat and get a sandwich or salad that customarily comes with bacon, I ask for it without. Or, I pick it out and give it to Mike.

But sometimes, sometimes, bacon is exactly what you need. I mean, can you imagine a BLT without bacon? I can’t. To be honest, BLTs are one of the very few ways I will actually eat bacon. I’ve been tossing around BLT variations in my head for a while, but never acted on it. Then, the BLT fairies took pity on me and assigned me this Southwestern BLT sandwich for our “lunch food” recipe swap! This recipe is from fellow Wisconsinite Ashley over at Cheese Curd in Paradise.

Bonus: I bought most of the ingredients for this sandwich at the farmers’ market! Win-win-win.

Southwestern BLT {dairy free} |

Southwestern BLT
serves 4

for the chipotle mayo:
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup low-fat mayo
1 chipotle pepper in adobo + 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

for the BLT:
8 strips thick-cut bacon
8 slices of sourdough bread
4 romaine lettuce leaves, ripped into sandwich-size pieces
1 large yellow tomato, sliced into 8 pieces
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 8 pieces

  1. Make the mayo: combine cilantro, mayo, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and lime juice in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Move to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the fat.
  3. Lightly toast the bread, if desired.
  4. To assemble: spread chipotle mayo on 4 slices of bread. Top the bread with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Spread remaining 4 slices of bread with mayo and place, mayo-side down, on the sandwiches.

very slightly adapted from Cheese Curd in Paradise

Thanks again to Sarah at Taste of Home Cooking for hosting! Click on the link to check out the other delicious swap recipes!

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Shrimp and Vegetables in Lemon-Garlic Sauce

Surprise, another recipe with tomatoes!  I really shouldn’t complain about our abundance, because I know in a few short weeks winter will be here and a beautiful, tasty tomato will be pretty much impossible to find. Sigh. Wisconsin winters, I love you and hate you all at the same time.

I love fresh, easy dishes like this one. It makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my body. In my mind it cancels out all the Sour Skittles I eat and all the booze I drink. So, go for it – do your body some good and eat a dish with some super-grain quinoa and fresh summer veggies.

Shrimp and Vegetables in Lemon-Garlic Sauce |

Shrimp and Vegetables in Lemon-Garlic Sauce

3 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 large bell peppers, chopped
2 medium zucchini, seeded and chopped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
chopped parsley to garnish, optional

  1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add in quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is cooked through.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add bell peppers, zucchini, and lemon zest and cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 4 – 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and keep warm.
  3. Heat remaining teaspoon of olive oil in pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 cup broth and lemon juice and cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve over cooked quinoa. Garnish with parsley, if desired.


SNAP Challenge: Day 6 and Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

Today’s Feeding America prompt: “In November 2013, the government will cut SNAP benefits for all recipients. These cuts will be $36 for a family of four – dropping the average benefit per person per meal to under $1.40.  How would this week have been different for you if you had even less money to spend on food?”

I’ve typed up a dozen really, really long responses to this prompt and I’ve deleted them all. Short version: you’re told to follow MyPlate guidelines for a “healthy diet”. Then you’re given a little over $4 a day to figure out how the hell you’re supposed to do that. How is a person supposed to fit low-fat dairy, lean meat, whole grains and tons of fruits and vegetables into their diet each day with $4? I haven’t quite figured that out. We had a lot less fresh fruits and vegetables around to snack on. My meal plan this week was also severely lacking in the dairy department. I couldn’t fit in milk into our budget for Mike, let alone lactose-free milk for myself!  What if a low-income family had special diets to accommodate for? I’m hoping to give this Challenge a try again in November when benefits are cut (and when I don’t have garden produce). But I can’t imagine it going any easier.

What we ate today:

  • Breakfast: oatmeal with egg (me) and whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana (Mike)
  • Snack: peanut butter toast with banana (me)
  • Lunch: macaroni and cheddar cheese (Mike) and pepper chicken with rice (me)
  • Dinner: spicy black bean soup with cumin lime sour cream and baked tortilla chips
  • Snack: raisins

I’ll be honest – it’s been hard keeping up with daily blog posts to document the SNAP Challenge. I’m already thinking about food a lot more than usual; having to not only cook, but photograph and write about it makes it even harder. To top it all off, I spend a lot of my free time reading food magazines and food blogs. Torturing myself, really. Writing about the turkey quinoa meatballs literally made my stomach growl. I’m so tired of eating chicken and bell peppers cooked different ways. I think I need a break from them after the Challenge is over. Sorry chicken, sorry peppers – it’s not you, it’s me. But, it’s not really me… in fact it’s 100% you.

That leads me nicely into today’s recipe from a blogger’s choice swap (not part of the SNAP Challenge). This time, I bring you a dish that I made a couple weeks ago (yup, no worries –  we didn’t cheat during the Challenge!). This dish is something new, something different, something that doesn’t contain chicken or green bell peppers! Drum roll please… turkey quinoa meatballs!

Turkey? With quinoa?  Yup. And they are awesome. I made a few minor changes to Ali’s recipe: I had a plethora of tomatoes to use so I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. I also left out the cheese from the meatballs, but Mike had a little shaved on top of his finished dish.

I served the meatballs over spaghetti squash, but you can use regular ol’ spaghetti noodles if you would like!

turkey quinoa meatballs with spaghetti squash |

Slow Cooker Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash
adapted from Sparks from the Kitchen

2 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 cup cooked quinoa
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for browning
2 teaspoons Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 large sweet onion, cut into rounds
2 cups tomato sauce (I used homemade)
4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish, optional

1 large spaghetti squash*
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. In a large bowl, combine turkey, quinoa, garlic, egg, olive oil, Italian spices, onion powder, salt and white pepper. Mix by hand until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  2. Roll meatballs into 1 1/2-inch balls and set aside.
  3. Place sliced onions on the bottom of a slow cooker. Pour in 1 cup tomato sauce and 2 cups of the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place meatballs into pan, being careful not to overcrowd. Brown meatballs on all sides. When browned, place them into the slow cooker on top of the tomatoes. Once you have half the meatballs in the slow cooker, top with another cup of chopped tomatoes. Continue to brown the meatballs and place them in the slow cooker.
  5. When all meatballs are browned, add the remaining tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes, making sure all the meatballs are covered.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
  7. An hour before serving, prepare the spaghetti squash. Preheat oven to 450°F and lightly grease a baking pan.
  8. Cut spaghetti squash in half and scrape out seeds. Season with olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Place squash flesh-side down in prepared pan and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove pan from oven and let squash cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, scrape out the squash strands from the skin.
  9. Place spaghetti squash on a plate and top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with freshly grate Pecorino Romano, if desired.

Thanks again to Sarah at Taste of Home Cooking for hosting! Click on the link to check out the other delicious swap recipes!

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SNAP Challenge: Day 5

Today’s Feeding America prompt: “We know that low-income Americans have to make choices between groceries, prescriptions, gas for the car, utilities, and other household necessities. After living on a limited food budget this week, how has your perspective changed about the decisions families facing hunger must make?“

Simply put? I can’t imagine it. Even thought I have limited our food budget, our scenario in no way even compares to what millions of families deal with on a daily basis. We were hungry, but we didn’t go hungry. I had the comfort of knowing that I could fail out of the challenge and get something to eat if we did run out of food. These families don’t have that option.

While Mike and I try to stick to a budget, we realize that sometimes things happen. We might need more gas one week. I might get sick and need to see a doctor or pick up some meds (Mike never gets sick…). Or my car brakes might decide to die. Or my car wipers might decide to stop working…. Yeah, my car is a trouble maker. But, we deal with these unexpected expenses. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I had to choose between gas to get to work or a meal for my family. Would I walk? Try to catch a ride from a coworker? What if someone got really sick? Do we go to the doctor? Do we pay for their medication? Having to choose between life essentials doesn’t seem right.

All these “what ifs” make it clear to me that programs like SNAP are essential for low-income families. It’s a good reminder to be thankful for what I have in life.

This Challenge is bringing about a lot of emotions. Mike and I talk a lot about food insecurity and poverty on the way to work. It’s a really intense way to start the day. Things are getting a little easier for me now. We only have 2 more days left of the Challenge and I can tell that we will have enough food. It’s still hard not having the luxury of eating whatever we want, whenever we want, but I’m starting to adjust.

Unfortunately, I think I’m also getting sick. All I wanted to do after work is eat a bowl of mango sorbet and go to bed. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t even skip making dinner because if I didn’t cook dinner that would mean I wouldn’t have lunch the next day. Blargh.

What we ate today:

  • Breakfast: savory oatmeal with an egg (me) and peanut butter toast with sliced banana (Mike)
  • Snack: peanut butter toast with 1/4 banana (me) and a cookie (Mike)
  • Lunch: pepper chicken with rice (me) and chili with rice (Mike)
  • Snack: peanut butter toast with 1/4 banana (me) and turkey sandwich with mustard (Mike)
  • Dinner: chicken fajitas with guacamole, tortillas, and sauteed zucchini (Mike also had cheese and sour cream)
  • Snack: raisins

easy chicken fajitas |

Easy Chicken Fajitas

for the chicken:
1 lime, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon canola oil

for the vegetables:
3 onions, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 bell peppers, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
salt and pepper, to taste

to serve:
flour tortillas
sharp cheddar cheese, grated
light sour cream
guacamole (see below for recipe)

  1. In a shallow bowl, combine lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper*. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, Brown chicken and cook until cooked through and meat is no longer pink in the middle. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  3. Using the same skillet, add vegetables and saute until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Slice chicken into 1/4-inch pieces and toss with vegetables. Serve immediately with tortillas and garnishes, if desired.

*I made a double batch of this marinade and mixed half of it in with my garden zucchini! I seeded the squash, quartered it, and then sauteed it with the marinade over medium heat for about 15 minutes until tender. Delish 🙂

easy chicken fajitas |

This guac made not being able to have cheese and sour cream on my fajita a little more bearable. I ate a ton of it. Splurging on an extra avocado during the shopping trip was totally worth it!


2 medium avocados
1 lime, juiced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a medium bowl, mash avocados with a fork. Mix in lime juice, tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  2. Serve immediately.

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SNAP Challenge: Day 3

Today’s prompt: “How has eating on a limited budget impacted your mood? Your concentration? How has that impacted your interaction with family and coworkers?”

I’m not as happy and motivated as I normally am. My concentration is a mess. I’m constantly thinking about food – whether we will have enough, when I can eat next, why the hell is my stomach always grumbling?!, what I will do if we run out of food. It’s definitely affecting my productivity at work.  I can’t say my interactions with family and coworkers has really changed. The biggest change between Mike and me is that I am constantly asking him if he’s doing ok, if he’s hungry, if I can get him anything. I’m worried about him and obviously don’t want him to be hungry. I feel bad for making him go through this when he’s trying to study for his exams.

My energy levels are l-o-w. I went for a 7 mile run after work today and it… sucked. I don’t know how else to put it. My legs felt like lead the entire time. My stomach ached. I didn’t have gum to chew. At the end, my body felt like it had just done a 20 mile run, not a 7 mile run.

Here’s what we ate today:

  • Breakfast: toast with peanut butter (Mike) and savory oatmeal with fried egg (me)
  • Snack: red grapes
  • Lunch: three bean turkey chili with elbow macaroni
  • Pre-run snack: 1/2 banana each and a couple raisins
  • Dinner: pepper chicken with white rice
  • Snack: spoonful of peanut butter (Mike)
  • Snack: peanut butter banana oatmeal raisin cookies

The best thing I had today were the grapes. They were so sweet and juicy and I had to stop myself from shoving fistfuls into my mouth. I brought about a cup of grapes to work and rationed them throughout the morning. Every time I finished a project or approved a contract, I got to eat a grape. Oh, and the iced tea with lemon juice I had with dinner? So good. I’m usually a plain water kinda gal, but I really needed something else to drink!

I’m not gonna lie – dinner was pretty fabulous, too. During my run I went past a couple Chinese restaurants (and a few bars… and a few chocolate shops…) and it all smelled so good. Like it was taunting me. Jerks. I was sweaty, tired, and worst of all – hungry. I wanted to cave in and get takeout for dinner, but that obviously wasn’t an option. Thankfully, this pepper chicken hit the spot! Mental note: do not run down streets lined with restaurants/chocolate shops/bars/bakeries any more this week.

takeout fakeout pepper chicken |

Takeout Fakeout – Pepper Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 small onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chile peppers, thinly sliced, optional
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

steamed white rice, for serving

  1. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper and the salt over the sliced chicken. Dust chicken with cornstarch until well coated.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 3 – 5 minutes. Move to a bowl and keep warm.
  3. In the skillet, add in onions, garlic and chile peppers (if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add in bell peppers and mushrooms. Stir in soy sauce, white pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper until well combined. Cook for 3 minutes or until bell peppers are tender-crisp. Stir in cooked chicken and toss to coat with sauce.
  4. Serve hot with steamed rice.