Friday, January 29, 2010

Finally Friday!

I can't tell you how happy I am that it's Friday! I'm always so happy on Fridays because tomorrow is Saturday, and you really can't beat that!

As part of Foodbuzz's Tastemaker Program, I was sent some products from Special K to review.

Low fat granola and fruit crisps.

I haven't tried out the granola yet, but I've been snacking on the fruit crisps for a few days. They come in packages of two, and they are 100 calories per package.

They are pretty fragile and break at the slightest movement.

It's pretty worth it though, because the cracks make for good food pictures.

I received the strawberry flavor, and I really liked them! I particularly enjoyed how much fruit filling was in each bite. The fruit crisps weren't very hard. In fact, I thought they had a nice texture of crispiness that made them taste fresh.

They only thing I wasn't thrilled about was that it wasn't a very filling snack. I'm not sure if I would buy them based on that fact alone. I ate these a lot during work before lunch, and they never held me over, despite the fact that they tasted awesome.

I'm so excited for this weekend!

The husband and I are spending time with my mom, which will be really nice.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite filling snack?

My favorite filling snack is a piece of fruit. If I'm going for a snack that has volume and fills me up, I'd definitely say popcorn.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

Happy Thursday!

Today, I'm thankful for life. With all of the tragedy happening in Haiti and with the realization of how suddenly life can change, I thought this would be a perfect thing to be thankful for today.

A few weeks ago, one of my good friend's father in law passed away. Even though he was sick, we still didn't expect it to happen so fast. Then, on Monday, I came home from work and saw my neighbor waving me over to her. She told me that the neighbor next door to me passed away suddenly. His wife came home from work last week and found her husband dead. My husband was talking to him just days ago, and it was so shocking to think that in one instant, your entire life can change.

I don't want to be a downer, but I do want to focus on how precious life is. It's beautiful, and I hope that you experience life to its fullest each and every day.

I'm thankful for getting time to spend with this guy.

He lights up my life like you wouldn't believe.

I'm thankful to spend time with my favorite girls, especially when the husband's away at work.

I'm thankful for the times when life isn't so serious and we can all let loose and have a good time.

Playing Guitar Hero-you might say we're addicted.

And most of all, I'm thankful for being able to act like a fool when I think no one else is looking.

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Delicious and Simple

Happy Wednesday!

I don't know what it is, but I'm completely sucked into the Bachelor this season. Normally, I don't really follow these types of shows because I think they are completely ridiculous, but there's something about this season that has me hooked. Are there any reality shows that you can't stop watching no matter how unrealistic they are?

You all know how much I love my chicken, so this week's meals wouldn't be complete without some sort of chicken dish.

I've been experimenting with spices recently, and I came across a duo I really seasoning and chili powder. Of course, the pizza seasoning is just a combo of garlic powder, basil and oregano.

I sprinkled some on the chicken.....

....and it came out of the oven steaming and looking tasty.

Yay for another successful chicken dish! Really though, can you mess chicken up?

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite day of the week?

For some reason, I love Wednesdays, and of course, Saturdays! Wednesdays make me happy because that means there's only two more days left in the work week!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Still Make It

Over the course of the blog, I've showcased many recipes that I've made for dinner, but the reality is that sometimes, the simplest stuff is the best.

The husband had to work on Saturday, so being the nice wife that I can be, I made him lunch. Instead of doing something all fancy, I made this:

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

While it's not as intricate as most foods, it can still be as satisfying. Plus, is there really any better combination involving peanut butter? After I made the sandwich, I knew I had to snap a picture, even though everyone knows how to make it, and it's something that is so commonplace.

Sorry this post is so short, I've got some things to get done today!

Question of the Day:
What's something simple that you make?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, January 25, 2010

There's Something About Pasta

Happy Monday! How is it that it's 60 degrees outside and pouring rain when just last week, it was literally freezing outside? From what I understand, there's even a chance of snow this weekend. Here's to crossing my fingers that we are done with the snow (at least for the next few weeks)!

Growing up in an Italian family, we ate (and still eat) a lot of pasta. I mean really, what's not to like? It's comfort food to the max. At my mom's house, I always ate white pasta, but now I try to make it healthier by choosing whole wheat. Honestly, I can't tell the difference between the two, and have come to actually prefer it over white pasta.

When I was a little girl, my mom used to make what I call shells and peas. She would take the mini shells and throw in some gravy, peas and ricotta cheese and call it a meal. I don't know what it was, but every time my mom made it, I felt like I needed to devour the entire bowl.

Seeing as I have a ton of peas to use up in my freezer, I thought I'd make my own version, baked ziti style.

I started off by thawing out a bunch of peas by running them under hot water.

Aren't they pretty?

Next, I cooked some pasta and mixed it in with the peas.

I mixed in some gravy, put it all in a casserole dish, topped with cheese and baked it for about 10 minutes.

When it was all done, it looked like this.

And, because you know how much I love cheese shots, I have this one for you as well.

Yummy melted cheese!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite pasta add-in?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, January 22, 2010

General Tso's Chicken Success!

Happy Friday! I'm so happy that the weekend is almost here....not that I have anything terribly exciting going on, but it'll be nice to have a few days of good old rest and relaxation.

I don't know if it's just me, but whenever I try to replicate a Chinese food dish, it's an epic fail. The food tastes good, but it's a little bit "off" from the way they make it in the restaurant. Well, I finally found a recipe that tastes almost exactly like takeout. You can find the recipe for General Tso's Chicken here.

First, I made the sauce.

I think it's kinda cool that you can see the reflection of a plate that hangs in our kitchen in this picture. And, if you look really close, there's a potholder that my cousin Allison made for me.

Next, I added onion and red pepper. My grocery store was out of scallions, so I just used what I had on hand.

Looks tasty, no?
Next up was the diced chicken.

Once it was cooked, I added the sauce and cooked it until it was thickened.
I served this with brown rice, and let me tell you, I'll definitely be making this again! In fact, I didn't tell the husband what we were having for dinner, and when he tasted it, he said "is this General Tso's chicken? We should have this every week!"

Question of the Day:

What's your favorite thing to order when you are having takeout?

I love just about anything-chicken and broccoli, general tso's chicken, lo mein....I'm a sucker for Chinese food!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! One more day until the weekend!

In keeping up with the Thoughtful Thursday theme, today I am thankful for friends.

I've been very blessed with wonderful friends in my life. Although I may not have a "ton" of friends, the ones I do have are completely amazing.

They have each come into my life at various points along the way, and I don't know where I'd be without them.
Let me highlight some of the friends in my life:

My bridal party-the coolest girls in the world!

The best man in our wedding. Seriously one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He and the hubby have been friends since high school.

The fabulous Gina! She's my Hanson/Weight Watcher/Piano Lesson/Know it all (in a good way!) friend! She gives it to me straight, even when I don't want to hear it.

My Michele. Gotta love her. She helped introduce me to the husband, plus, she has an amazing heart.

My brother, me, sister-in-law, Rachel and Jeffrey. They keep me laughing to hard that when I'm around them, it's hard for stop smiling!
Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My (Not So Secret) Obession

Woo hoo for being at Wednesday already! I could really get used to these four day work weeks.

So, what is my not so secret obsession? Well, it's kitchen gadgets, of course! Over the weekend I had a craving for eggs. I was complaining to the husband that I like eggs, but to have them during the week when we are both rushing to get out the door seems like a not-so-smart idea. We usually leave our breakfast dishes in the sink until we get home, and the last thing I would want to leave is a pan that I cooked the eggs in. It just grosses me out.

Lo and behold, when I was shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond this weekend, I came across this guy:

Interesting, no?
It's a gadget that you can cook eggs in. You open the tray and are greeted with two slots for eggs.

See those ridges at the top? Apparently, you can warm sausage or bacon on that, but I haven't used that part yet.

This morning I cracked three egg whites into the container and added 1 tsp of water. I put it in the microwave for about minute. After one minute and no messy pan, I got this:

Perfectly cooked egg white in an oh-so-cute shape.

I paired it with my bagel and called it breakfast.

I can't tell you enough how much I love this new gadget. The best part? It was only $4.00. I'm a sucker for cheap stuff too......go figure!

Question of the day:

What's your favorite gadget?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Muffins Out Of My Ears!

Happy Tuesday!

I just finished taking my midterm in educational psychology. While it was much easier than expected (untimed and open book), it was still challenging. It is just me, or do open book tests seem harder than they should be?

This month, I've been trying to cut back on my grocery bill. One way of doing this was to shop at BJ's Wholesale Club for my meats. I purchased 3lbs of extra lean ground turkey for a little over $7.00. Unfortunately, I forgot to package the turkey in 1lb bags before I put it in the freezer. That meant I had to defrost and cook the entire package this weekend. It wasn't exactly what I had planned to do with the meat, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

I did the quickest, easiest thing I could think of and made some meatloaf muffins.

I ended up getting two trays out of the package, which isn't so bad.

Both trays cooked and cooled.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever defrosted something and then refroze it? What happened?

My mom goes by a strict rule of "once you defrost it, you have to cook it". I admit that I've defrosted chicken, realized I wasn't going to use it all and have refrozen it without any problems. I didn't want to try that with ground meat though!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pizza in the Morning, Pizza in the Evening, Pizza at Supper Time

Happy MLK day, everyone! I'm off from work today, which is a nice treat for a Monday. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom about my injury. I stayed off of my leg for the majority of the weekend and now it's feeling much better. I'm still not 100%, but I'll take this feeling over the pain I had on Friday any day. (That one was for you, grandmom!) And, for those that commented that they thought it was cute that my grandmom reads my blog.....I think it's pretty cool too :)

I wanted to share with you an new flavor of hummus I came across at the grocery store.

Yup-pizza hummus!!

My favorite type of hummus is Sabra's roasted red pepper. That stuff is amazing. However, when I saw that Tribe hummus was on sale this week, I thought I'd give it a try.

Here's what I was greeted with when I opened the container.

If you don't like hummus, this might not look too good to you.

I used it on my bagel in the morning and it was fantastic! It has a wonderful pizza flavor, and I can only imagine what it would taste like with some pizza sauce and cheese. I'll definitely be buying this again-it almost rivals Sabra's roasted red pepper hummus.

The nutritional information isn't bad at all-for two tablespoons it has 30 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 1 gram of fiber. If you're counting points on Weight Watchers, it's only 1 point!

I hope you all enjoy your day today!

Question of the Day:

What's your favorite kind of hummus? Or, if you don't like hummus, what's your favorite kind of dip?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, January 15, 2010

....and She's Injured!

Yeah, what a not so great way to start of the weekend! I went to the gym on Wednesday and did one of those 30 minute circuit training workouts. I think I went too hard on the cardio part and now my calf feels so tight and I'm limping. I hope that the pain goes away soon! The hubby keeps calling me gimpy, and although it gets me to laugh, it's starting to become annoying!

So, what do I do when I'm limping around and feeling sorry for myself? I try this free chocolate sample that I got in the mail forever ago.

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Molten Chocolate Cake.

For only 150 calories, you get to make a chocolate cake in the microwave in less than a minute.

It comes out looking like this.
Pretty tasty, no?

All in all, I thought this was a great little treat. It was very tiny though, and I found myself wanting more of it after I was all done. I wouldn't buy this in the store unless they were on sale. From what I remember, they can be a pretty expensive little treat!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Does anyone have any tips on how to make my muscle relax so that I can walk normally again?

Question of the Day:

What cheers you up when you are sad?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday and Progresso Soup Giveaway Winner

I'm actually not at work today, instead, I'm at a funeral for one of my friend's relatives. I know that I am due to write a Thankful Thursday post, so, even though this probably should've been the first thing I said I was thankful for, today, I'm thankful for my hubby.

There's a million reasons why I'm thankful for him, but since I don't have all the time in the world to list them, I thought I'd make a semi-humorous attempt to tell you why I'm thankful for him today:

1. He dyes Easter eggs with me, even if it's a little kid thing to do.

2. He threw together a surprise party for me a few years ago in less than a week. Mad props to you, Dan.

3. He's comfortable around my family, and my family is comfortable around him.

Seriously. The husband and my younger brother.

4. He goes with me to Hanson concerts even if the fans freak him out.
Notice the expression on his face? It's kinda like "what did I just get myself into?"

5. He loves the little things, and that makes almost every day feel like Christmas.

6. Not only does he do a lot of stuff around the house, but he also lets me snap a picture of him while he does it.

Now that's talent

7. He cleans up nice.
Really, who doesn't like a guy in a suit?

8. He doesn't mind acting silly for the camera.
None of us drink. Seriously.

9. He can make a weird face on command without being embarrassed.

10. But most of all, I'm thankful that he makes me do this.

I should also say that I'm thankful that someone else was able to get this picture without either of us knowing.

As far as the Progresso Soup Giveaway, the winner is Adele! Adele, please e-mail me your information and I'll get your goodies to you right away!

Question of the Day:

What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Craving Stromboli

Good morning and happy Wednesday! We've made it this far-only two more work days until the weekend!

I don't know about you, but sometimes I like to feel that I'm eating something that's not so good for me, but in reality, what I'm eating isn't so bad at all. This was exactly the case when I decided to make Roni's Turkey Stromboli for dinner.

You can find the recipe if you click on the link above, but basically, I browned turkey, green peppers, a small zucchini and an onion until the turkey was cooked through. After it was cooked, I added tomato sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes while I rolled out the whole wheat pizza dough. Actually, the husband was just coming home from work when I was ready to roll it out, and he volunteered to take on the challenge. It was nice having him with me in the kitchen again!

The meat mixture topped with cheese.

Ready to go into the oven.

Piping hot.

All together now!

I brought one of these to my mom's house last night and she wanted the recipe. I have to say that this is a pretty rare occurrence-most times she gives me a weird face when I tell her what I'm eating.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite filling in a stromboli?

Pepperoni and cheese is my all time favorite. It's so, so good!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Fish Cooker

Hello everyone!

I have to say that you all had me hysterical over yesterday's post. I know I post about chicken A LOT, and it was hilarious to read some of the names you suggested if I ever changed the name of the blog.

The honey mustard pretzel chicken was a big hit for the hubby. He loved it. I thought it was good too, but next time, I think I'll add some more honey mustard. I could barely taste it!

Little did you all know, last week, my friend Gina asked me to try out some fish and put it on the blog. It might be a little known fact, but the husband and I both love fish! The reason you don't see it on the blog more often is because I make my meals ahead of time, and fish is something that you can't make and keep for the week.

This weekend, I was able to pick up some fresh Tilapia fillets, and I asked the husband to make them on the stove. Another little known fact-I'm terrified of cooking fish. We didn't cook it a lot growing up, and I'm afraid of leaving it raw. I have since named the husband the fish cooker of the house since he has no worries whatsoever.

We didn't do much to the Tilapia besides cook it with a little bit of non stick cooking spray.

Hanging out in the pan.

Before the fish was finished, the husband grabbed some Mrs. Dash and garlic powder and seasoned them.

Once they were done, he plated them with some couscous on the side.

Please excuse this picture. Initially, I had forgotten to take a picture of the cooked fish and poured couscous on top of it. In a scramble to get it off so I could take a picture, this was the result.

The husband said that he would love to have fish more often. I agreed, and I omise that you will see something other than chicken on this blog at some point :)

Question of the Day:

What's your favorite kind of fish? If you aren't a fish eater, what's your favorite food?

I love any fish that doesn't taste "fishy". Go figure!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie