Monday, January 31, 2011

I Need Chocolate

Happy Monday!
Sorry that I was MIA during the end of last week.  I took the day off of work on Thursday due to the massive amounts of snow and on Friday I was SWAMPED with work.  At my job, there is usually some down time during the day, but on Friday, I literally worked from the moment I arrived until the moment I left. 

I believe there are moments in everyone's life where you just need chocolate.  Maybe you've had a busy day at the office.  Maybe you've had a great day.  Maybe chocolate physically calls your name.....what, am I the only one who experiences that?

I'm not a fan of denying myself things, so when I'm in the mood for chocolate, I go to one of the fastest, easiest recipes around......

Haystacks
































I know, I know, they don't look like the most amazing cookies, but they curb my peanut butter/chocolate craving. 

If loving these cookies is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

Question of the Day:
Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate or none?

I'm a milk chocolate person all the way, although a little dark chocolate here and there is pretty tasty too!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dinner at Mom's

Last night, the hubby dropped off the little guy to my mom's house so that she could babysit until I came home from work.  It's super convenient that my mom was home last night, and when I got to her house, she had an amazing meal waiting for me....

Stuffed peppers!
















Is that pepper huge or what?  I know the picture and the lighting is not great, but I couldn't wait to dig in, so getting the perfect picture wasn't the biggest priority.

My mom makes the best stuffed peppers.  I remember hating peppers as a kid and only eating the stuff inside the pepper.  Glad my taste buds changed.  The pepper really makes this meal!

Missed the recipe for this?  No worries - you can find it here.

I'm kinda bummed today - because of the snow, the kickboxing class at the gym has been cancelled.  I was so looking forward to working out, and while I could go to the gym and hop on a machine, I really enjoy taking classes.  Workouts are more fun when it feels like I'm doing something that's not a workout.  Does that even make any sense?  haha.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Using Up Leftovers

Sorry to be MIA yesterday, but I was swamped with work.  I believe the only time I stopped was to go to the gym on my lunch break.  My work has partnered with Great American Fitness Adventure to get us exercising 30 minutes a day.  As an incentive, employees who sign up are granted free access to the gym for the next two months.  Free gym access? Sign me up!

I went with my friend to try Zumba and we had a blast!  It was my first time doing it, and let me tell you, it can be quite a workout!  I'm pretty sore today, but it's a love/hate relationship.  Today's exercise class is Cardio n' Tone, which is like an aerobics class.  I'm excited to try it out!

I know some people don't like them, but I personally love leftovers.  It makes for quick meals, and I love the versatility - you can reheat and eat or make something completely different.  It all depends on your mood.

On Sunday, there was some leftover turkey meatloaf that needed eating.  I tossed it in a salad and made my current favorite dressing....1 tablespoon of light mayo and hot sauce.

















This picture was taken as an afterthought-sorry!

I love throwing leftovers in salads.  It's a good way to use up what you have and to gets some veggies in for the day!

Question of the Day:
How do you use leftovers?  Reheat and eat or make something new?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, January 21, 2011

Soup Weather

Yesterday was the perfect weather for soup.  It was the kind of day that felt like snow was on its way - the kind of day where you'd rather be snuggled up under the covers instead of at work.

I enjoyed my soup at the lunch table rather than under blankets, but you win some, you lose some, right?

My mom made the most delicious bean soup and shared some with me.















She puts beans, veggies and leftover ham in the crock pot and lets it cook all day.  I'm a fan of most soups, but I have to say that homemade soup is the best stuff ever!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite cold weather food?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Since I started back to work after the holidays, the hubby has been taking care of the little one.  He's off for twelve weeks, which is awesome for two reasons:

  1. He gets some major daddy/son bonding time
  2. We can avoid daycare until John is almost six months old 
With my hubby at home, late night cries (which have started again recently), are answered by him so that I can get some sleep.  Last night, however, John was up at 3:00 a.m. 

Today, I'm thankful when this guy.....
















does this........















When John sleeps better, I think me and my hubby are better.  You can only be sleep deprived for so long, right?

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meals from Home

One of the things that I have sitting in my freezer from when I had the baby is a big pot of my mom's meatballs, sausage and gravy.  This week I decided it was time to break that sucker open and enjoy all the goodness that comes with it.

Usually I'd make a pot of spaghetti to go with the meatballs, but right now, the meatballs are the perfect meal for a hungry mom and her equally hungry hubby.
















My mom has officially made the switch from using ground beef to using ground turkey, and I'm incredibly proud of her!  I've been telling her for years that if you season the ground turkey the right way, you won't be able to taste the difference.  You know what?  She finally agrees with me!  Way to go, mom!

I know that I'm biased, but nothing compares to my mom's homemade meatballs. (although my grandmom's meatballs are right up there too!)  They are delicious and filled with a ton of flavor.

Question of the Day:
Ground turkey, ground beef or neither?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Own Two Hour Delay

I woke up today to a sheet of ice on my car and on the roads.  I have to be in work by 8:00, but today, I came in around 9:45.  Even though there was no technical two hour delay, I created my own.  Better for me to be late than for me not to make it into work at all.

I have to say that I really enjoyed my day off yesterday.  Not only did I get to spend some extra quality time with the little guy, but I also got some things done around the house.  It helped that I had some yummy food cooking away in the crockpot.  Every time I use my crockpot, I'm reminded of how I need to use it more, and yet, I only use it once in a while.  This really needs to change.....and fast!

I found this amazing recipe from Sweet & Savory's blog.  I knew I couldn't wait for very long before I tried it, so here we go!

I took a jar of salsa and poured some in the crockpot.  Next, I added 4 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast and covered with the rest of the salsa.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is easily shredded.

After 5 hours, I stuck my fork in and shredded the chicken.  It looked like this when it was all done....
















I can't wait to add this to salads, use it as tacos....the possibilities are endless!

Question of the Day:
Do you use your crockpot to cook?  What's your favorite thing to make in the crockpot?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, January 14, 2011

Warm Thinkin'

It is ridiculously cold outside!  Walking to and from the train station to work takes about ten minutes, which doesn't seem so long unless it's winter time.  Today, I'm dedicating this post to the many yummy foods that keep me warm during these cold months.







I love the way the house smells when this is simmering on the stove.



Homemade soup with pasta, beans and veggies


Tomato Soup

There's nothing like tomato soup and tuna melts on chilly days!

 


You know, come to think of it, I brought a salad for lunch today.  I guess that goes against my warm theme for this post, but oh well!

Work has been rather insane today-is it the weekend yet?

Question of the Day:
Any fun weekend plans?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today, I'm thankful for the precious gift of my son.

Why hello there, handsome!

















In three short months, he has taught me so much about life, what is important and what really matters.  I never thought that someone who I essentially just met could impact my life in such a profound way.  Each day, he teaches me something, and I can't thank God enough for blessing me with this little bundle of joy. 

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Using Dressing As A Sauce

Happy snowy Wednesday!  I ended up walking to the train station this morning in the snow and ice and made it there in about 25 minutes.  I came to the realization that this makes for a nice morning walk.  Since I haven't been to the gym in forever and am in need of some exercise, I think I'll be doing this a lot more often!

My mom is queen of coming up with meals on the fly.  She thinks of things that are so simple but yet it's something that I would never think to do.

Take this dish, for example.  She took some light Caesar dressing, poured it over some pork and baked it.
















So simple and yet so good!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In and Out

Good afternoon!

It's 3:00 in the afternoon and this is the first time that I've been able to sit at my desk all day for more than five minutes.  With the start of classes this week, it's been super busy!  Not that I'm complaining - I love when my day flies by.

After the morning rush, I stopped for a quick lunch.......

 Salad with roast beef and cheese.

Satisfying and yummy. 

I'm headed back into the "work world" to finish up some more stuff before I head out for the evening.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite quick meal?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Little Essence

I have a basket in my cabinet where I stash my free samples and reviews for the blog.  I was looking around in the basket and came across this......
















I'm not sure how long this has actually been sitting around, which is kind of scary, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway.  It's just spices, right?  (If I'm wrong, I don't think I wanna know!)

I sprinkled it on some chicken, baked it in the oven and waited.
















I could definitely smell the spices cooking away.















The result was deliciously seasoned, spicy chicken.  I remember when Emeril's Essence first came out years ago.  I wasn't much into cooking at the time, so I had no reason to see what all the fuss was about.  I certainly see now! 

Question of the Day:
Do you watch cooking shows?  Which ones?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, January 7, 2011

Packin' it Up

I'm a fan of anything that saves me time.  With the added business of working and a baby, planning ahead is an absolute must!

Before the baby, I ate breakfast before coming to work.  Now, I'd rather have the sleep, so I make sure that breakfast is packed and ready to go. 
 

Packing my breakfast and eating it at my desk has been working really well for me.  I'm not sure why I haven't tried this before!



If I'm eating oatmeal, I must have the cinnamon with me as well!

Question of the Day:
What are the things that make your day-to-day life easier?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thankful Thursday!

Happy Thursday!! I don't think I've ever been more excited for it to be a Thursday.  It means that I'm more than halfway through my first week back at work AND that it's almost the weekend!

Today, I'm thankful for supportive co-workers.  My first week back to work has been much, much better than I expected.  There's not one day where someone doesn't stop down to see how I'm doing or ask about John.  I'm so fortunate that I work in a place where there are so many amazing people.

Half the battle of coming into work every day is knowing that once I get here, I'll be met with so much love and support.

With that being said though, I can't wait for the weekend!  I'm sure that I'll get involved with things around the house, but mostly, I hope to be doing lots and lots of this...


Snuggling with the little guy and getting some sleep!

















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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can We Talk?

There's been something on my mind since I first saw it, and now, it's gotten to a point where I need to say something. 

Has anyone heard of the new TV show called Bridalplasty?  It's a reality show where brides compete for plastic surgeries before their big day.  The winner of the show gets all of her plastic surgery done and reveals her new look to her husband-to-be when he lifts her veil at their wedding. 

Seriously?  I can't believe that we, as a society, have entered this phase of reality television.  The push for perfection has gotten completely out of hand, and it needs to stop.  I believe that plastic surgery is a personal choice, but I don't understand why we, as women, are made to feel like we have to look like Barbie dolls.  Do men go through the same scrutiny?  I would venture to say probably not as much as women do.

After having my son, I looked back on pictures where I thought that I looked heavy, and I couldn't believe how wonderful I looked.  I, too, have fallen into the trap of "I'd look better if....." and you know what?  It ends right now.  Giving birth made me realize that my body, while it may not be Hollywood's definition of perfect, is perfect for me.  I'm tired of the comparisons to other people.  I love and accept myself for who I am at this very moment, stretchy pants and all.

I posted this video a while ago, but felt that it was fitting to share with you again.  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL......and don't you forget it!


Question of the Day:
What makes you beautiful?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Feeling Spicy

Thank you for all of your sweet comments on yesterday's post.  I now have a new-found respect for working moms.  Seriously, how do you do it?  I came home last night exhausted, but I couldn't have been happier to see my little guy. 

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I'm kinda obsessed with chicken.  I think it's a blank canvas and love trying new things with it.  I guess you could also say the same for tofu, but I don't think I can get the hubby to eat it.

Before heading back to work, I thought it would be a good idea to defrost a bunch of chicken and cook it so that when I come home, I can heat it and eat it without thinking about anything else.  I was really in the mood for buffalo chicken, but didn't have any blue cheese dressing hanging around in the house.  I used the next best thing-ranch dressing.

Ranch dressing and hot sauce

















Poured it over the chicken and baked until done.















It was delicious!  The hot sauce baked right into the chicken and gave it a little kick that made it taste amazing.

Question of the Day:
Are you a fan of spicy things? 

For me, the spicier, the better!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to Work, Back to Work....

Well....today is my first day back to work. Hubby is with the baby for the next twelve weeks, which eases this momma's mind, but I miss my little guy oh so much!

Thankfully, I'm halfway through the work day, and I finally have some free time to do some blogging. I've missed reading all of your blogs! I forgot to take my bookmarked list of blogs with me when I left for maternity leave, so now I have a ton of catching up to do!

I'll take you back to the last meal I made, which was on New Year's Eve. The hubby didn't have to work that night, so we spent a quiet night at home. Unfortunately, he did have to work at 8:00 a.m. on New Year's Day, so the plans we were going to make with some friends fell through. The boy needs his rest, so resting is what we did.

Neither of us were hungry until around 7:00, so I threw in some stromboli as a last minute meal.

I had some whole wheat pizza dough and filled it with ham, turkey and some cheese.

After 20 minutes, we were met with this melty goodness.
I added some hot sauce and paired it with a side salad.
I can't tell you how much I love making healthier versions of my favorite foods.
Question of the Day:
Did you make any New Years resolutions? Tell me about them!
Until next time!
~Anne Marie