Friday, February 26, 2010

It's the Simple Things

Happy Friday!

I took the day off from work today-I'm too nervous to drive in the snow. When I turned on the TV today, the weather forecaster said not to venture outside if you don't have to.....so I took her advice.

Yesterday I had packed my lunch but when I was ready to eat it, I wasn't in the mood for what I had packed. Does that ever happen to you?

Since it was so cold, I wanted something that would warm me up and keep me satisfied. I got the idea to make my own mini pizza using a low fat wrap, a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce and less than a handful of cheese.

I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes and ended up with this.


A nice, crispy, personal pizza!

I paired it with some chicken noodle soup and called it a meal.



The pizza was crunchy and delicious! It satisfied my craving for pizza without eating the real stuff.

Question of the Day:
What foods do you eat when you want to get warm?

I'll be MIA on Monday-I have jury duty.....lucky me! (insert sarcasm here)

Have a great weekend!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's so fun for me to do my Thankful Thursday posts - and I know I say that just about every Thursday, but it's so true.

Today, I am thankful for my nephew. When I first met him a year ago, I was so excited to finally be an aunt.

You couldn't hide the excitement on my face!

I swear he smiled a little for this picture because he could sense how much I love him, but really, he was just yawning.

This picture is one of my favorites!
Watching the little guy grow up has been completely amazing.


And watching him take naps is just about the sweetest thing ever.

I love looking at pictures of him and seeing how much he looks like my brother and how his temperament matches my sister-in-law to a tee. He's the calmest baby I've ever met, and I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen him cry.


He also likes to eat-just like his aunt!

It's amazing how this one tiny life has brought so much joy into our family. It's hilarious to watch my cousins and I (who are basically all adults now) sit on the floor and act like fools just to see if we can make my nephew laugh or giggle or babble.





I'm so thankful that I have my nephew in my life. He's one amazing little kid!

Question of the Day:

What are you thankful for today?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

...and That's Lunch!

Good morning!

I realized that I mainly post meals I make for dinner, but every once in awhile, it's nice to have a change. Lately, I've been on a Boca product kick, so I thought I'd share with you my latest lunch.

When I saw these at the store, I knew I'd have to try some.


Boca chick'n nuggets.

These taste exactly like the chicken nuggets I remember eating as a kid. I'll be buying these again for sure!

Next up, I made some couscous.


It looks a little clumpy because I make it without the added oil.

Pair it with a little fruit, and you've got yourself a meal!



Confession time: Before packing this away in my lunch kit, I put the chicken nuggets together with the couscous and topped it with some marinara sauce. It may sound weird, but it's good-I promise!



Almost ready to go!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite thing to have for lunch?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Have an Obsession

I'm sure you've probably noticed it, but I have a not-so-minor obsession with pasta. Believe it or not, a pasta dish that I've never made myself is lasagna. Well, folks, that all changed over the weekend.

Growing up, my mom always boiled the lasagna noodles and then started the process of laying the ingredients. I always thought that handling the noodles and boiling them before you get down into the main part of making lasagna was way too much work. What can I tell ya, I'm lazy sometimes.

I was super excited when the hubby and I were food shopping and found these:


Ronzoni oven ready lasagna-that's right-no boiling required!

My only gripe with these was that they came in an 8oz package, whereas the traditional lasagna noodles came in 16oz. This meant that I had to buy two boxes. I have to admit that the convenience was definitely worth the price.

I started out with a layer of gravy (or marinara sauce, if you prefer!)



Next up, add three layers of the noodles.



Follow that up by a layer of fat free ricotta cheese and some mozzarella cheese.


I think I over-cheesed this layer!

I repeated this step a few times until I had something like this.




I baked it for about 40 minutes.


Out of the oven.

It tasted completely amazing. It was very cheesy, and there was a ton of gravy, which is always something I appreciate on pasta!

I put the lasagna in the fridge to cool off. After all, we weren't eating it until Monday night. After it was cooled, I sliced it and took a picture.




You can't quite see the cheesiness, but look at those layers!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite kind of pasta?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, February 22, 2010

Turned into a Baker in Two Seconds Flat!

Hello everyone! How was your weekend? My nephew's party was so much fun! I can't believe he's already a year old. It's amazing how much time flies. It seems like just yesterday I was meeting him for the first time in the hospital. It's insane!

Yesterday, my husband and I went to his family's house to celebrate his sister's birthday. I should take the opportunity to mention that it was also my brother's birthday yesterday (happy birthday, Eric!), but we're not celebrating it until two weeks from now.

Anyway....

I wanted to make something quick and easy, and turned to an old favorite that my mom introduced me to a few years ago.

Krusteaz crumb cake - and easy to make!
The only ingredients you need are one egg and 2/3 cup of water. That's it! Now, I should warn you that it's not the healthiest option, but if you're looking for something quick and tasty (or that occasional treat), I'd give it a try.
The mix comes in two packages - the crumb topping and the cake mix. First, I added water to the cake mix until it looked like this:

I would be doing a complete disservice if I didn't show you a picture of the crumbs too :)


I sprayed a 9x9 pan (although it called for an 8x8), and started layering the cake mixture and the crumbs.


After the second layer, you are supposed to swirl the crumbs and batter together. I wasn't so good at that.

See what I mean?

Finally, bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is cooked through. When it comes out of the oven, you are greeted with some pretty amazing crumb cake.



Last week, I promised that I'd start cutting my casseroles and things of that nature to give you a peek inside, but I couldn't do that with this cake-it was going to my mother-in-laws in one piece. I assure you though, it tasted amazing!


Question of the Day:
Are you a fan of crumb cake? If not, what's your favorite type of sweet bread?


Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, February 19, 2010

When it's Good, it's Good!

Thank you for all of your sweet comments on yesterday's post. I love hearing what you are thankful for....it really puts life into perspective, doesn't it?

This week has been a week of repeat recipes that I've made before. I think repeats are good every once in a while. Heck, when we first got married, the husband and I ate on what we called a two week rotation. That's how planned out we were with our menus. Starting the blog has helped me look for new recipes and make new things, which has turned out to be such a nice treat!

The husband had requested this last week, so I happily made it for him as part of this week's meals. You can find the recipe for Layered Fiesta Casserole here.

Per the usual, I made some changes: I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, used two green peppers instead of a green and red pepper, and subbed out mozzarella cheese for the cheddar.

I love this casserole because it is easy and filled with veggies, carbs and protein-all things that I've been craving this week.


The layered ingredients-tortillas, turkey and veggies.


And, of course, right out of the oven!

I had the thought last night that I should cut the casserole and show you what it looks like inside. That's my challenge to myself for next week!


Question of the Day:

Any fun weekend plans?


My nephew turns one tomorrow, and I will celebrating with him. Happy birthday, Aiden! I love you!

Cute, isn't he?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Hello, everyone!

Today, I am thankful for my brothers.

As many of you know, I'm the middle child....right in the middle of an older brother and a younger brother. Growing up, I always wanted a sister, but now, I can't tell you enough how thankful I am for my brothers.

At my birthday dinner a few years ago.

Growing up with boys was different than growing up with a sister. I played G.I. Joe's, ran around with super soakers, built tree forts (and snow forts) and was never afraid to get dirty. I have to admit though, for the first few years of my younger brother's life, I tried to make him play with my dolls. That didn't work out so well for me (as he hated it) and he still doesn't let me live it down.



Christmas, 2008.

My brothers understand me so well, and whenever I need advice, support or just a good "talking to," I know I can count on them to have my back.


Christmas, 2007. (Notice-it's one of the few pictures where I am not in the middle!!)

I know I am one lucky girl to have these guys in my life. Sure, there have been fights and screaming matches of "I'm never talking to you again," but now that we're older and (hopefully) more mature, I can honestly say that I can't imagine two better siblings to go through life with.


At my bridal shower.

We are a close-knit family, and I'm so grateful for that. Despite all of the pictures I've shown you above, when it comes down to it, this is mostly how we act.



True story.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

That Lenten Season

Happy Wednesday!

Today begins the first day of Lent for me. That means no meat today and every Friday during Lent. While it's much easier to prepare a casserole with ground turkey and eat that for three times during the week, I kinda like the challenge of going meat free for at least one day out of the week. I definitely have the option of making fish, but, like I've mentioned in the past, it's not something that I can make ahead of time, which poses a problem on the weeknights.

During these 40 days, I usually give something up. This year, I'm really late with figuring out what I want to give up for Lent, but I better get on that fast!

Even though I've made this before, I wanted to share the recipe with you again:

Quick Italian Spinach Pie


Of course, I made some modifications - I used fat free cottage cheese and an entire green pepper.


Mixed up and ready to go.

One thing I strongly suggest is that you fully drain your spinach. I tried to "short cut" it, but it just made it watery. It still tastes the same, but I could definitely do without the added water on top.



Right out of the oven.

This is actually one of my favorite no-meat dishes (except for pasta, of course!) There's just something rich about this meal. It really tastes like there's butter in it - which I assume comes from the creaminess of the cottage cheese.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite non-meat dish?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Food Review

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry for being MIA yesterday. For some reason it's so much easier to blog when I have downtime at work versus when I'm home. The hubby and I took off yesterday to spend some time together which in turn led to me taking off from blogging. Sometimes it's nice to unplug and tune into the real world.

Remember when I reviewed the fruit crisps? Well, I also received some low fat granular from Foodbuzz's Tastemaker Program as part of the package.



The husband and I tried out this low fat "touch of honey" granola.



I decided to try it dry, while the husband ate his with some milk. The result? One of the best tasting granola I have ever tasted. It's sweet, crunchy and simply awesome. Even the husband poured himself some more cereal after he was finished. If you see it in stores, definitely try it out. You won't be disappointed!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite kind of granola?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

One of the best things about blogging is reading about other people's ideas. Last week, I read Rose's post on Sweet Potato Gnocchi. Since I've been having an unusual craving for carbs, I thought it would be the perfect thing to satisfy my craving. Plus, the gnocchi is only sweet potatoes and flour, so it was healthy to boot!

First, chop and peel two sweet potatoes. Microwave for about 10 minutes or so, or until they can be mashed.



Mash the sweet potatoes until they look like this.




Slowly add white flour 1/2 cup at a time (I used 1.5 cups total) and combine with the sweet potato mixture.

It should looks something like this.


Next, split the ball in half and roll into long thin strips. Cut the strips into small pieces and press down with a fork.


Like so.


Drop in a pot of boiling water, making sure that they don't touch. You'll have to cook the gnocchi in batches. When they float to the top, you'll know they are done.



After they were all cooked, they looked like this:

I topped them with some marinara sauce and called it a meal.


It was absolutely amazing. In fact, I couldn't even taste the sweet potato, and instead it tasted more like doughy wonderfulness . Even the husband, who doesn't like sweet potatoes thought that this was awesome. He requested that I make this more often.


Thanks for the great idea, Rose! This was great!


Question of the Day:
Have you ever had gnocchi? Do you like it?


Until next time!
~Anne Marie







Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

Hello everyone!

Sorry-I took the day off from blogging yesterday. There was so much snow on the ground that I couldn't take my eyes off of it or the TV.

Today is my second snow day from work, and I am loving every minute of it....well, most of the time!!

Today, instead of being regretful of the snow, I decided to embrace the very stuff that I tend to hate.

I'm thankful for weather like this that makes me and the hubby have off from work.



Please stay safe out there-it's dangerous!!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shortcut Chicken Parm

Okay really? I'm done with this snow!! We're supposed to get another 12-20 inches tomorrow into Wednesday. Seriously, can we stop this mess now? I think the last few months, all I've been talking about is snow! I'm sure you are all getting sick and tired of hearing about it, too.

Moving on......

I got this idea when I was being extra lazy. I wanted to make chicken parmesan, but didn't want to bread the chicken first. (I told you I was extra lazy!!)

So, I did what I thought would be best. I started with a layer of gravy.



Next, I added my chicken and covered with cheese.




Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is done.


Right out of the oven.

The best part was that I didn't even miss the breading. It was still so yummy and satisfied my craving for chicken parm.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite shortcut?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Foods

Happy Monday!

I can't believe that we got almost 30 inches of snow over the weekend. It was insane! Thankfully, my neighbor used his snow blower to help the neighborhood dig out of the craziness that was the snow storm. Rumor has it that we might get another 6-12 inches Tuesday into Wednesday. I can't tell how much I wish Spring were here!

Since yesterday was the Super Bowl, I decided to make some quick and easy stromboli's. I bought some pre-made whole wheat pizza dough and filled it with a pepper and onion mix and cheese.


Before adding the cheese.

I also took some leftover ham and stuffed another stromboli.


Getting ready to go into the oven.

The result was ooey-gooey cheesy awesomeness. I served them with a side of marinara sauce, which complimented them really well.


The peppers and cheese.


Ham and cheese!


All in all, they were a big hit!


Question of the Day;

What's your favorite party food?


Sorry for the short post-I have homework and exams up to my ears!
Until next time!

~Anne Marie