Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm a Cheesehead

Happy Friday!

I received coupons awhile back from Kraft's First Taste Program to try out the 100 calorie packs of cheese bites. While I was losing weight, I ate tons and tons of 100 calorie packs because they helped me keep my portion size in check. I don't usually keep them in the house anymore because right now, I don't need that kind of structure and they can be on the expensive side.

When I saw the coupon for free cheese bites, though, I knew I wanted to try them. Cheese is something that I LOVE and haven't gotten a handle on the portion size of it. If you stick a big plate of cheese in front of me, everyone else better watch out because it'll go fast.

Portion controlled cheese? I'm all over this....

Especially if it's Cheddar and Monterey Jack flavored!

I opened the package and saw these cute little bags inside.

Adorable, no?

I ate these as a snack at work, and I really enjoyed them. I loved how the cheese was cut small enough so that I could savor every bite. They weren't like chips where I feel the need to put a few in my mouth at a time. It took me almost a half hour to eat these little guys, and that in itself made them more satisfying.

So, would I buy these again? Yes, possibly....depending on the price. I know I can be lazy, but I do love pre-portioned snacks on occasion.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite kind of cheese? or Do you buy pre-portioned snacks?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today feels like a Wednesday for some reason, but I'm super excited that it's Thursday! One more day until the weekend!

Last night I had another doctor's appointment. From now until the baby arrives, I'll be seeing the doctor every two weeks. Thankfully, everything still looks good. In about a month from now, I'll be getting another ultrasound to make sure the baby is in position. Last time, the baby was breached, so I'm hoping that he or she turns around by then....otherwise, I'll be having a C-Section. It's not something I planned for, but it's all out of my hands and into the hands of God.

Anyway....onto my thankful Thursday post....

Today, I'm thankful for the gift of time.


Even though things are a little bit crazy in the house trying to get the baby's room all set up, closet doors installed, clothes washed and put away, I'm thankful that I can make the time to do these things....even if it's getting done at a snail's pace. I know that once that baby gets here, time will be out the window, and while I'm so excited for the baby to come, I'm trying my best to relish in the time I have now.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Little Too Much Rice

Happy Wednesday!

I hope your week is treating you well! I had a box of brown rice hanging out in my cabinet, and when I saw this recipe, I thought I'd try it out. I wanted it to last us for a few days, so I doubled the recipe.

All was going according to plan except that when I poured in the rice, I realized that:

1. there was way more rice than the recipe called for
2. the pan I used was way too small.

See what I mean?

I kept going though, and poured the rice, ground turkey and broccoli mixture into a casserole dish....

Topped with some cheese and baked for 25 minutes.

Have I mentioned how much I love casseroles?

Bad lighting in this pic, but you get the idea!

Regardless of how much brown rice there was, it still made for a great casserole. It certainly was filling! I think the next time I make this, I'll add some more spices because it was a little bland.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite type of rice?

I love almost all rice, but brown rice is my fav!

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Taste of Home

A meal that reminds me of home is chicken cutlet. My mom used to make them once every other week, and I couldn't wait for chicken cutlet night. I wanted to make some for the hubby and I this week, but instead of frying them, I baked them in the oven for a healthier treat.

I took a little of this....

And a little of that.....

Coated the chicken and baked them for about 40 minutes.


My mom used to serve them with a salad and sometimes mashed potatoes. Me? I just stick with the salad when I make them because I'm too lazy to make the potatoes. haha.

Question of the Day:
What food reminds you of being back home?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, July 26, 2010

Baby Shower!

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Yesterday was my baby shower. I had such a great time with the people I love most. Today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from the day with you. Big thanks to my cousin Allison for taking these pictures and letting me borrow them.

First up, we have the party planners.

Mom, Allison, grandmom and aunt Nette. Thanks for everything!

My cousin Allison was in charge of the centerpieces and favors. Didn't she do a great job?

Pink and white flowers with a blue bow and blue marble-type stones.

The favors were so adorable. They were baby bottles filled with M&M's.

The little tag on the side has a picture of Whinnie the Pooh and says "pink or blue, we love you!"

Of course, I have to highlight two foods that we had at the shower...


.....and of course, the amazing cake!

I love this picture of me and my mom. We are both showing our cheesiest grins without even trying.

Full shot of the tables.

This is my friend Rachel. Believe it or not, we're due one day apart. I think that whatever she's having, I'm having the opposite. We're carrying so differently!
All in all, it was a beautiful day filled with laughter, good food and amazing people. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful shower. Thank you to everyone who helped!
Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, July 23, 2010

Breakfast Options

Happy Friday! I'm so excited for this weekend! My mom is throwing me a baby shower, and I can't wait to tell you all about it. I have to say that I'm really thankful that this baby shower isn't a surprise. It makes everything much more relaxed.

How do you decide what you want to eat for breakfast? For me, especially in the summer, it's a challenge. The wintertime is best for oatmeal with a banana and mug of coffee. It's the only breakfast that keeps me full until lunchtime.


I used to be able to tolerate it during the summer months, but for some reason, I can't get into it this summer. No matter how cool it is inside the house, I can't stomach hot oatmeal in the summer.

Sure, I've tried other things, like breakfast cookies...

Green smoothies......

These are awesome, by the way!

....and bagels with peanut butter and bananas, but nothing seems to do the "oatmeal trick."

Even though these breakfasts keep me full for a little while, I still find myself hungry a few hours later. What's the deal?

The only other breakfast that fills me up like oatmeal are eggs and hash browns.....but I usually make them for dinner on the weekends because my mornings are so rushed during the week.

I think I could go for some eggs right about now!

Question of the Day:

What breakfast food keeps you full until lunch?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today, I'm thankful for a relaxing night last night. With the baby coming, the hubby working extra hours and filled weekends, it was nice to kick back and relax. Of course, my relaxing looked nothing like this....


....but taking the time to paint my toenails, catch up with some TV shows and even nap a little bit gave me the peace of mind I needed.

Even if I can't be on the beach, I can dream, right?

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Best Stuff Ever

A number of you commented on yesterday's post that you love stuffed tomatoes. I've never heard of stuffed tomatoes before....what do you stuff them with? Anyone have any recipes? I'm intrigued!

I have a habit of over using phrases that don't mean exactly what I'm trying to say. For example, if someone tells me they tripped and fell, I typically respond with "that's the worst!" when really, there's far worse things in life that happen all the time.

When I say that this stuff is the best stuff ever, though, I really mean that it's pretty darn close to being, quite literally, the best stuff ever.

I really wanted some ice cream last night and I had two options: a 40 calorie puny fudge pop or some of the hubby's full fat stuff. While the full fat stuff was calling my name, I knew that there was no way I would stop at eating one serving. My eyes roamed the freezer until I found exactly what I was looking for....frozen bananas.

When my bananas start going bad, I chop them up and put them in the freezer to use for smoothies, a cold treat, etc. Last night, I decided to use it to make banana soft serve. I dumped the frozen bananas, that puny fudge pop (thinking it would give it a chocolate flavor) and some milk in a blender and whipped up this batch of wonderfulness.


Close up.

I love the consistency of the banana soft serve. It truly tastes like soft serve ice cream without the guilt of the full fat stuff. I think I need to start buying overripe bananas for this specific reason!

Question of the Day:
What, in your opinion, is the best stuff ever?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mmmm Peppers!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned on the blog before that my mom has a two week cooking schedule. At any given night, based on the week, I could tell you what my mom was having for dinner before she even cooked the meal. It worked out well for her, and it's something that I've somewhat carried with me into my life.

One of the meals that never made it into the rotation was stuffed peppers. Having stuffed peppers at my house was such a treat because it was outside the "normal" weekday meals. I had a craving for them this week and decided to put it on the menu. This recipe has meat in it, but you can certainly substitute beans for a vegetarian option.

I halved this recipe to make enough for 4 peppers. My mom's recipe calls for boiling the peppers for 5 minutes in water, but I skipped this step out of pure laziness.

I started by cutting the tops off of the peppers, taking out the seeds and putting them in an 8x8 dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Next, I browned 1/2 pound of extra lean ground turkey and onion in a pan until cooked. I also cut up some of the tops of the peppers and threw them in with the turkey and onion. Once everything is cooked through, add in 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup brown rice and 1/4 cup of water. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. When all is said and done, it should look something like this.

Stir in 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and start stuffing those peppers! Top the peppers with some more cheese and put in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

Out of the oven, they should look like this.
I love, love, love stuffed peppers! When I was a kid, my mom used to make extra filling and put it in the bottom of the dish. I could eat the filling straight up!
Question of the Day:
What's your favorite veggie to stuff?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, July 19, 2010

Unplanned but Still Good

Sometimes things don't go as planned, but in the end, everything works out for the best. Such was the case this weekend when I wanted to make baked ziti. I had some ricotta cheese that was in need of using, so I thought baked ziti would be something easy, quick and filling.

I started boiling the pasta

I think I prefer rotini over penne. They hold onto the marinara sauce so much better!

When it was done, I went to the fridge to get the ricotta cheese and realized that there was a little bit of mold starting to form on it. I tossed it in the trash and finished up the pasta without adding it at all.


I topped it with cheese and baked for about 10 minutes. Even though it was supposed to have ricotta cheese in it, it still turned out pretty awesome.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever had something unplanned happen when you cooked? What did you do about it?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, July 16, 2010

Too Cute not to Share

I went to a bridal shower last month for a good friend of mine. We are actually due a few days apart from one another!

Her shower theme was everything and anything dessert related. I thought these homemade cupcakes were too cute not to share.

How adorable!

Her mom made them with Nilla Wafers, icing and a melted Starburst. You can't get much more creative than that!

Question of the Day:
Are you a cupcake fan? Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today's post is picture-less, but I can tell you that I'm thankful for two things:

1. The doctor's appointment last night went really well. The doctor said everything looks good with the baby.

2. We're having a roofer come out to fix the leak in the baby's room today!! Of course, the hubby had to call another roofer because the first business we called still hadn't shown up after two days. At least it'll be fixed!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Beans!

Thank you for all of your thoughtful comments on yesterday's post. There was no sign of the roofer yesterday, but we're crossing our fingers that he'll show up today since the rain seems to be holding off.

I've been doing really well with keeping the food budget down by eating more vegetarian meals with the occasional piece of chicken or beef. This recipe was simply delicious and filling, and even the hubby didn't miss the meat!

I mostly followed this recipe for Chipotle Bean Burritos.

The beans simmering in some water.

When all the ingredients were added, it looked something like this:

I probably should've stirred it before I took the picture. It tasted much more appetizing than it looks!

We put the bean mixture in a tortilla and topped with salsa and low fat sour cream. I'm definitely putting this into the meal rotation more often!

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

I love chickpeas the most, but kidney beans and black beans aren't too far behind!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cottage Cheese and Pasta

When it rains, it pours, right? No pun intended, since it literally is pouring outside. Last night the hubby and I realized two things:
  1. The ceiling in the baby's room is leaking.
  2. The brand new bureau that we have for the baby came with a nicked front and split foot.

Since there was nothing we could do about either situation last night, we had to wait until this morning to call the roofer and the manufacturer of the crib. I scored with the manufacturer-they are sending out replacement parts for the damaged parts. The roofer? Well, they'll be out when it's not raining to check out the roof. I'm hoping that the next few days stay dry, but it's not looking so promising!

Okay, sorry, I just had to get that out. No use stressing when there's nothing I can do but wait, right?

In the meantime, the perfect comfort food at a time like this is pasta. A friend of mine recommended this concoction, and even though I was skeptical, I'm glad I tried it.

I first started by sauteing onions in a pan while I had the pasta boiling.

Don't mind me - I've been on an onion kick since I bought a big bag at the store two weeks ago. Feel free to omit, if you'd like!

After the pasta was done cooking, I poured some cottage cheese on top and stirred until it was all mixed.

Keep stirring at this point until it melts a little bit more.

Close up!

The hubby and I LOVED this. I don't think he was too fond of onions in his pasta, so he picked a lot of them out. Me? I ate it like it was going out of style. When my friend makes this, she uses bow tie pasta, but all I had in the house was whole wheat. It still worked well!

Question of the Day:
What's the weirdest thing you've ever added to pasta?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, July 12, 2010

Whole Wheat Chili Mac

Hi bloggies! Hope you had a fantastic weekend! I can't believe we're at Monday already. I keep thinking back to last Monday when I was off from the holiday. I can't believe how fast time flies!

I came across this recipe for Whole Wheat Chili Mac. I followed it mostly, but had to make some adjustments.

Ground turkey and onions cooking.

Next up to add in: tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans!
I quickly realized that this dish needed more pasta, so I used the entire box and poured in about a jar of salsa to give the pasta something to cook in.

Since I could easily go through this in less time than I'd like to admit, I poured it into a casserole dish for easy portion control. The hubby and I really enjoyed it - the salsa gave it an extra added kick!
Question of the Day:
Do you follow recipes word for word or just wing it?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, July 9, 2010

Quick and Easy Bean Burritos

Happy Friday!

I'm hoping today will be a low key day at work. Since it's the summer, most of the people I work for are out of town and won't be in until the middle of next week. Ahhhh, to have that kind of lifestyle.....

When I saw this recipe for bean burritos, I knew I had to make it. Not only is it Weight Watchers friendly, but I already had most of the ingredients on hand. One of the best things about this recipe is that it doesn't involve heating up the oven, which was perfect considering the heat wave we've had this past week!

I started by sauteing some mixed veggies and onion in a pan.

While that was going, I prepared my burritos. I spread some fat free refried beans on the tortilla....

They never look appetizing, but they taste awesome!

Once the veggies were cooked, I added them on top on the beans and topped with a little bit of mozzarella cheese.

Roll 'em up and stick in the microwave for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

All rolled and ready to be heated!

I served these with a side of jambalaya rice. You can't beat a cheap Mexican meal that makes you feel satisfied when you are finished!

Question of the Day:
Do you like Mexican food? What's your favorite thing to eat?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today, I'm thankful for my sister-in-law. I've known her for about 14 years now - she and my brother began dating in high school!

This past weekend, we spent some quality girl time together grabbing lunch and getting pedicures. It was so awesome to get some one-on-one time and catch up. I'm so lucky that she is my life. She is someone that I can call at any time of day about anything and I know she'll be there offering her best advice and injecting humor into whatever situation I'm facing. Thanks, Jacqui, for being such an awesome friend!

Me and Jacqui at her baby shower last year.

An older picture of us from my birthday dinner.

Some people are lucky enough to love their sibling's spouses....I count myself among the lucky.

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is It Worth It?

Happy Wednesday!

I received a coupon from Kraft's First Taste Program for DiGiorno's 200 calorie portion pizza. I know, I know, it's prepackaged and has a lot of ingredients that I can't pronounce, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway. I love the convenience of prepackaged foods, and sometimes it takes the hassle out of thinking about what to make for dinner.

200 calories for pepperoni pizza!

I literally laughed when I opened up the container and saw the size of the pizzas. They were your typical run of the mill frozen type of pizzas. The hubby and I split the package for lunch. Thank goodness I had something else to eat besides this!

I couldn't believe one slice of this pizza was 200 calories and 9 grams of fat. Worth it? Not at all! I mean, it didn't taste terrible, but I know I could've made my own pizza with a light wrap, cheese and veggies and would have been more satisfied. Convenience comes with a price, right?

Question of the Day:
Are convenience foods ever worth it?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie