Baked Bruschetta

18 Mar

With the nice weather we’ve been having, all I want to do is cook and grill out!  In between cooking and eating, I have managed to find time for some exercise as well.  Korey and I went for a 4 mile walk today, and it felt amazing.  That walk was much needed after all of my indulgences this weekend.

Last night while visiting my future in-laws, I decided it was my turn to cook dinner.  Part of the meal featured a homemade bruschetta that I created.  Based on the reactions I received, my made-up creation turned out well.

Bruschetta

Ingredients:

3 roma tomatoes, diced (or approximately 1 1/2 cups)

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 Tablespoon of basil (dried or fresh)

Loaf of italian bread

Philadelphia cooking cream (garlic flavor)

Directions:

1.) Dice tomatoes, and add them to a small mixing bowl.

2.) Add minced garlic, basil and olive oil to tomatoes, and mix well.

3.) Allow mixture to sit in fridge until you are ready to use.

4.) Slice loaf of italian bread, and place the slices onto a baking pan.

5.) Spread a thin layer of the cooking cream cheese onto slices.

6.) Spoon the tomato mixture onto the bread slices.

7.) Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crispy.  (At this point, you could also just bake the bread with the cream cheese and add the tomato mixture after the bread has been cooked.)

Tomato topping mixture prepared in a bowl.

Bread with cream cheese and tomato mixture ready to go in the oven.

Overall, we enjoyed this recipe.  There are many different ways to recreate it.  I would also suggest adding a small amount of balsamic vinegar to the tomato mixture for some added tang.  Otherwise, you could also sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese on top of the tomato mixture rather than using the cooking cream.  Usually I’m not a huge fan of baking with processed and packaged ingredients, but the cooking cream was quite delicious.  I can’t wait to hear what you think. 🙂

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as I did.  Of course it was another fast week of Korey being home, but I sure did enjoy every minute of it.  Check back tomorrow for a relationship recap because it’s our 1 year anniversary, and it was quite possibly my best year yet!! ❤

A Well-Deserved Dinner

15 Mar

Usually Korey and I manage to go out to eat several times while he is home… it’s one of our favorite past times. 🙂  This week has been different though with my weird school schedule.  Tonight we decided that we were due for a nice meal out together since we haven’t seen one another as often this week.  Overall, it was tasty…and I was stuffed!

Dinner began with a veggie tray with a homemade dipping sauce.

Veggie platter.

After munching on this for a while, they brought out our salads.  I ordered caesar dressing, and it was one of the best that I’ve ever had!

YUM!

Last but not least was the main course.  Korey ordered a 12 oz New York Strip, and I went with the blackened chicken pasta in a pesto cream sauce.

The main course.

I started eating before I remember to take a picture, so it doesn’t look too appetizing…but trust me… it was.

Now we’re just relaxing together on the couch after a long day.

Unfortunately this week is flying by, and when Korey’s home, that is never a good thing!!!  Cheers to another week of student teaching completed and to a weekend of warm weather. ❤

Monday Fun-day

13 Mar

Happy Monday…and a happy Monday is was… because my favorite person is in town, and that always makes me happy. 🙂  After getting ready and grabbing a quick nutrient-filled breakfast, I headed out the door to school.

Sprouted grain bread-toasted with almond butter, banana slices and wheat germ on top.

I recently discovered sprouted grain bread.  I know I’m probably behind the times, but it’s nice to be able to eat bread and still feel like I’ve done something good for my body!  I’m definitely a bread/cheese/potato kind of girl, but those are all foods that are high in carbs and not the good kind of carbs, so I try to avoid them if I can. 😉

I was in a great mood today at school, and finally am starting to feel comfortable with the kids.  During our prep time, I snacked on a Chobani yogurt and added some of my homemade granola from last night.

Pumpkin Coconut Granola.

When lunch rolled around, I was ready!  I’ve noticed that when I eat every 2-3 hours, my body starts to recognize this schedule and reminds me to eat every 2-3 hours.  It really works out perfect for me because I love food and love to eat!  Anybody that knows me would agree.  Lunch consisted of my homemade chicken kale soup from last night, and it tasted even more delicious today.  The girls at lunch were ogling over it.

Chicken Kale Soup.

Luckily after lunch, the rest of the day flew by, and before I knew it, it was was time to drive home and meet Korey.  He got to my house within 10 minutes of me getting there, and we didn’t waste any time before heading out for a walk.

Don’t be fooled though, today there was no snow on the ground.  Although it did rain earlier, it was really beautiful out for our late afternoon walk.  It was nice to be together again in person and talk rather than talk on skype like we usually do.  I am so thankful that we have had it as an option while Korey is away, but nothing beats being physically together.  🙂

On that note, I better get back to enjoying my precious time with him.  ❤

What’s Your Willpower?

13 Mar

Have you ever had one of those days where you want to eat everything in sight??  Well today, it was one of those days for me.  Between the kids making homemade pizza in class today and other students bringing in homemade treats, it was a rough day.  The above cartoon is a perfect representation of my day.  Typically I can turn my head and resist the temptation to give in to things I know aren’t good for me or aren’t necessary, but today my willpower was really lacking.  I’m not sure why some days are better than others in the willpower department, but if anyone has any suggestions, I am in NEED!!

One thing I have been challenging myself to do lately is make homemade versions of the foods that I love but healthify them.  I’m pretty sure I just made up that word, but you get the point.  That way I can still give in to the foods I crave without cutting them completely out of my life. Win-win situation!  Below is a homemade pizza I’ve made a few times, and it always does the trick when the craving hits. (Recipe coming soon!)

Almond flour pizza crust.

After school, Korey and I met up with his parents and grabbed some ice cream.  Again, when it came to willpower, I had none.  I find myself feeling guilty whenever I have days like these… is anyone with me on this??

I have always tried to make good decisions throughout my life, but sometimes it’s just plain hard.   After all, life is really about balance.  I know it’s not good to be so hard on myself, and I just have to remember that it’s okay.  Tomorrow will involve new situations, new experiences and new choices to be made.  We all have days that aren’t perfect, and that’s what makes us human.  So relax, because tomorrow is a new day…

P.S. Please have a slice of pizza for me.  🙂

Chicken Kale Soup

12 Mar

Is it really Sunday???  Can the weekend go any faster…probably not.  Usually I would be bummed that the weekend was over, except for the fact that Korey will be coming home tomorrow!!  It’s been another long two weeks of him being gone for work.  Unfortunately for me I will have to go through the entire day of student teaching before I get to see his smiling face. 🙂   I just love this picture!!  What a little model he is.  This was from our trip to Florida last May.  Speaking of Florida, the weather here today in Wisconsin was beautiful!!  I may or may not have been sitting on the front porch in a lawn chair tanning my face…and boy did it feel good.  After catching some rays, I went on the treadmill for a solid 30 minutes.  It just so happened that mom was ready for an outdoor walk before dinner, so we did the “loop” by our house that takes about 20 minutes.

After we got home, we went straight to the kitchen to work on a new soup recipe.  I thought it turned out pretty well for an improvisation recipe…you guys will have to be the judge though.

Chicken Kale Soup:

1 T. olive oil

1 clove garlic

2 stalks celery (diced)

1 1/2 cups carrots (diced)

1/2 cup onion (minced)

1 tsp. chicken bouillon

1 1/2 tsp. parsley

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. sea salt

10 cups water

3 chicken sausages (chopped into approximately 20 pieces each)

4 cups chopped kale

1 can white hominy (drained)

1 can cannellini beans (drained)

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional-this makes it quite spicy!)

Directions:

1.) Combine chopped veggies, garlic and olive oil in a large pot, and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until veggies start to soften.

Veggies in stock pot.

2.) Add water, both cans of beans and seasonings (chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, parsley, bay leaf, garlic salt) and bring to a boil.

3.) Once mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low, add the chicken sausages and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

4.) After 20 minutes, add 4 cups of chopped kale, and simmer for 15 more minutes.

5.) Scoop and serve hot.  Top with mozzarella or parmesan cheese.

The final product!

I hope you guys enjoy.  Again, if you like a little spice, add just a touch of cayenne pepper.  Yum yum!!!  While my soup was cooking, I was snacking on this…..

How delicious does that look??  Trust me…it was!

I am working on another batch of homemade pumpkin granola.  Since mom and I liked the batch I made last Sunday and it’s almost gone, I knew I needed to make more.  That recipe will be coming soon.  Enjoy the rest of your night!

Soul Sisters and Shoe Shopping

11 Mar

Today was such a relaxing and fun day.  After getting up and getting ready, I grabbed a quick breakfast before heading out the door to visit Julie.

Breakfast-puffed rice cereal, wheat germ, homemade pumpkin granola and chia seeds. All of it was topped with almond milk.

Today once again confirmed how similar Julie and I are…I think we were meant to be sisters, but now get to be sister-in-laws instead!  I feel so lucky to have such a great person like her in my life.  We met at Kohls and then made our way to the mall before heading to lunch at Olive Garden.

Olive Garden is one of my all-time favorite restaurants.  Julie and I had met up about 6 months earlier to shop and ate at Olive Garden and pretty much ended up in the same spot as last time…but this time I was engaged!!  How fast the time goes.  We both started out with their delicious garden salad, and I chose the mediterranean chicken for my entree.  This was a new choice to me, and I didn’t regret it!  The leftovers were just as good tonight for dinner.

While shopping, Julie and I ended up buying the same clearance jacket for $10…what a deal!  We also went in on some 5 for $20 basic shirts.  We were able to do some wedding planning verbally and decided that we will be seeing each other next weekend when Korey is home.  I can’t wait to have everyone together again…what could be better?!  Thanks for a fun day, Julie.

After I made the sunny drive home from being with Julie, I knew I wanted to get my workout in so I could relax for the rest of the night.  I did 10 minutes of weights and finished off with 20 minutes on the treadmill.

The rest of my night has consisted of looking around for wedding shoes online.  It is such a struggle to find what I’m looking for.  I’ve gone to some stores in town and also looked in a few stores with Julie today, but nothing is quite what I’m picturing.  Here are a few I found online.  Leave a comment and let me know what your favorites are!!


Shoe #1



I am looking forward to hearing your opinions.  If you’ve seen any cute shoes lately, let me know!!!  None of them seem perfect, but it’s a start.  I hope everyone had a relaxing Saturday.  Don’t forget to “spring forward” tonight and set your clocks ahead for daylight savings time. 🙂

Finally Friday!

10 Mar

TGIF!  I survived my first week of student teaching.  Today at school (and every Friday, for that matter) we have ‘Friday Food Forum.’  What does this entail, you ask?  It entails pounds of chocolaty, sugary desserts prepared at home by the students and shared with their classmates and their teacher…aka me…the one who graciously accepts each and every treat with a smile, takes one bite, and then throws them right into the garbage after the kids walk out the door.  I know, that’s bad.  But seriously… 4 classes times 5 presentations in each class=20 servings of unnecessariness and extra time on the treadmill when I get home!!!  It’s going to be a long 3 months of Fridays like this.  Needless to say, I didn’t end up touching the lunch I brought with me for today.

Salad with cucumbers and sunflower seeds (mango dressing on the side), carrots and hummus, an apple with cinnamon and almond butter and 1 clementine.

If it wasn’t obvious enough already, I’m not too keen on this whole ‘Friday Food Forum’ concept, and I’m going to need some serious willpower to get through it!  Looks like I’ll be saving this lunch for another day.  🙂

When I got home from school, I checked some emails and then immediately hit the treadmill.  My plan is to hop on the treadmill or do some form of a work out every day right when I get home from school for the next 12 weeks.  Today was abs and cardio day.  I did about 25 minutes of cardio and ran sporadically throughout it totaling 5 minutes.  Running is SO hard for me, so I was impressed with myself.  When I’m not running I walk at a fast pace and still manage to get my heart pumping.  I know it’s not much, but doing something is always better than doing nothing at all.  I’ve been pretty consistent with my workouts and healthy eating habits lately, and it’s nice to finally see it starting to pay off.

After my workout, I got a phone call from my grandpa letting me know what the dinner plans were for the night.  On Fridays, I typically go out to eat with my grandpa and mom.  Once in a while my uncle and aunt come along too.  Tonight’s dinner location was just what I was hoping for.  We ended up meeting at the Great Dane, a local restaurant and brewery.  I decided to order the mahi mahi fish with pineapple salsa, green beans and cous cous.  I ordered it a few weeks ago, and it hit the spot.  However, tonight I wasn’t feeling it, and the mahi mahi was a little too fishy for my liking.  You win some, you lose some.

Well it’s probably time for bed.  I am getting up tomorrow and heading to see this lovely lady.

I’ll be meeting up with Korey’s sister to do lunch, shopping and have some long overdue girl talk.  I can’t wait!!!!  I hope everyone had a good Friday.

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